Advance Engineering Apprenticeship

The Science and Technology Facilities Council offer a number of electrical, electronic and mechanical apprenticeships. A Council apprentice is taken on for 4 years of paid training, supervised by the Council. The salary is competitive and the apprenticeship is an ideal start to a career in engineering.

The unique nature of the work undertaken at the STFC laboratories contributes to an interesting, enjoyable and rewarding period of training in one of the world's leading scientific and engineering research organisations.

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Key Facts

2nd year Mechanical Apprentices win at exhibition
(Credit: STFC)

The apprenticeships are 4 years. At Rutherford Appleton Laboratory the first year is currently being spent at BMW Mini who have a purpose built training facility on their site at Cowley and the training is being delivered by Birmingham Metropolitan College who BMW are working in partnership with and at Daresbury it is spent at the North West Training Council, Bootle.

At college you will be taught the basics of machining, welding, electronics and electrical wiring. One day a week you will spend doing your academic study, typically an electrical, electronic or mechanical Diploma. You will then continue your apprenticeship at the laboratory, learning by being involved directly on exciting projects, as well as continuing your academic studies on day release.

The on-the-job training provided in years 2 through to 4 involves work within various workshops on-site, associated with your chosen discipline.

Electronics apprentices will have the opportunity to learn about high speed, innovative, state of the art high speed electronics, from single integrated circuits to huge data acquisition systems. When fully assembled these systems are used in scientific research all over the world.

Apprentice prize giving evening with guest presenter Sarah Cruddas
(Credit: STFC)

Electrical apprentices are given the opportunity to work within a varied spectrum of electrical jobs. This can involve work as varied as installing large, high voltage power supplies and conductor cables to work as small as soldering delicate components under a microscope.

Mechanical apprentices also cover a wide range of work including work in the RAL Space's Precision Development Facility where their researched methods enable work to be done to tolerances of ±0.0005mm. At Daresbury work will be performed in the Engineering Technology Centre that supports a wide variety of instrumentation and accelerator projects. Larger scale work is done using CNC programming - letting the computer do the machining.

You will also be fully trained on site in, among other things, health and safety, abrasive wheel regulations and basic fire fighting.

As part of the STFC RAL apprenticeship scheme you may find yourself in a placement at the Diamond Light Source.

5 Years on

Following the completion of their training, apprentices have continued on to be involved in a variety of exciting ventures.

These include:

  • Working at the Laboratory's drawing offices using Computer Aided Design packages to design and produce high quality, detailed drawings for workshop production
     
  • Working as one of main CNC programmers controlling one of the largest CNC mills we have on site
     
  • Embarking on a full time or part time degree course at University

Max Rowland

Name:
Max Rowland

Brief Job Description:
I am coming to the end of year 2 of the 4
year Advanced Apprenticeship in Mechanical
Engineering. I just have completed the B-TEC level
3 National Certificate in Engineering at Oxford and Cherwell Valley College and will be starting my Higher National Certificate at Newbury College in year 3.

Department:
RAL Space, Precision Development Facility

Why did you choose an apprenticeship scheme?
I chose an apprenticeship scheme because I felt that taking the college/6th form route just wasn’t for me, I am a more hands on learner and prefer to put into practice the skills that I will learn. Here at RAL I get the opportunity to learn the practical skills alongside the theoretical side of engineering so I am putting my new knowledge gained to the test as well as earning and building a fantastic foundation to my future career. I feel that the experience of working through an
apprenticeship is much more beneficial for future career opportunities than doing a college course or A-levels off your own back.

What has been your favourite training placement?
As I am only half way through my placement here in RAL Space, it is quite hard to say. I have really enjoyed all of my placements on site but I feel I got on particularly well in the R12 Technical Support Group Workshop; it was a brilliant placement that greatly improved my manual milling and turning skills. They had a good work load and some very challenging jobs that I feel I completed very well and benefited me as I could use them as evidence for my Level 3 NVQ units.

Hobbies and interests:
In my spare time I ride BMX and I am part of a team that is sponsored by a local BMX retailer. I really enjoy doing this as I get to travel the country, meet new people and push myself to learn and improve my riding. This also means that I do a lot of maintenance on my bike to make sure it is in the best condition before each ride.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years I would like to see myself having finished the apprenticeship, working full time in a placement that I really enjoy and studying for a degree that will allow me to better myself as a RAL employee. I would also like to consider the possibility to be able to work abroad in a facility similar to here for a year or two having completed all further education.

 

Jamie Pinnell

Name:
Jamie Pinnell

Brief Job Description:
4th year Advanced Apprentice in Mechanical
Engineering and Multi Skilled Technician Work

Department:
R78 ISIS Support Workshop under the User Support Group. Working to manufacture components for the users of the ISIS Beamlines and ensure all experiments and equipment are working to their specifications.

Why did you choose an apprenticeship scheme?
I chose an apprenticeship because after sixth form I wanted a place that would set me up for the working world whilst still capturing my interest in physics. My placement at STFC has not only set me up for the work place as a skilled and experienced engineer, but has also meant working on the forefront of science, at ISIS neutron and muon source to the Central Laser Facility, home of the world’s most intense laser.

What has been your favourite training placement?
Working in ISIS as a whole has been the best, the permanent staff are all really easy to get on with and when working in the Sample environment group, I really enjoyed getting to know each beamline’s requirements and needs and discussing this with the visiting scientists, so that I could then go and adapt our equipment to their experiment needs.

Hobbies and interests:
Seeing my friends at the weekends, Working on cars when available, or cooking up new ideas with my housemates in the kitchen.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Working at Rutherford Labs, either on the ISIS experiment, gaining experience in User support or Sample Environment technologies to further the beamlines abilities for the future. Or as a Multi Skilled Technician working in the Central Laser Facility Mechanical Workshop.

 

Lauren Summers

Name:
Lauren Summers

Brief Job Description:
Electronics Technician

Department:
RAL Space, Imaging Systems Division

Why did you choose an apprenticeship scheme?
When I left school I went to University to study English – after a few months I realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do and it wouldn’t lead to a career. I then looked for job opportunities that I’d enjoy; I’m really interested in Astronomy and knew a career in this area would be perfect for me – the apprenticeship scheme offered a way in to this field of work; with RAL having a Space department that is linked with NASA. With an apprenticeship you gain all the skills, experience and knowledge needed for a career and at RAL there are opportunities to further your knowledge after completing the apprenticeship by studying for a degree – I’m starting a foundation degree in Electronic Engineering this year.

What has been your favourite training placement?
I’ve really enjoyed all of my placements so far; in every department I’ve learnt so much. At RAL, as an apprentice, you are given real work that isn’t just a practice job. The PCBs I’ve designed in my current department were manufactured and assembled and are currently being used by the Technology department. Knowing that the work you do is being used in various areas on site is an extremely rewarding feeling and helps you to gain the confidence you need to further your learning.

Hobbies and interests:
I play ice hockey in the Women’s Premier League for Bracknell and this year I made the final selection for the GB Women’s team – this meant taking part in the World Championships earlier this year. I’m also part of a rounders team at work – this involves playing games at lunchtimes against other RAL and Harwell teams. It’s a great opportunity to socialise and have fun!

Since Finishing:
After completing my apprenticeship in Electronic Engineering, I was offered a full-time position as an Electronics Technician in the Imaging Systems Division of RAL Space. I now work on a variety of different projects; including the recent assembly of electronic systems that are to be launched later this year for use on the International Space Station! The apprenticeship was the key to getting to where I am now; it has given me the skills, knowledge, commitment, professionalism and ability that I now have and has resulted in the beginning of an exciting and rewarding career path.

 

Jamie Nutter

Name:
Jamie Nutter

Brief Job Description:
Electronic Technician

Department:
ISIS Experimental Operations Division

Group:
Electronics Group

Why did you choose an apprenticeship scheme? I always enjoyed technology lessons at school, when I left school at 16 I pushed myself to find a career option which would develop my skills whilst still keeping me enthusiastic about engineering.
I found the Rutherford Appleton Apprenticeship was the scheme for me. Being a government facility there are always new challenges for engineers to solve at the forefront of technology.

What has been your favourite training placement?
My favourite moment in my training has been the continuous feeling of improvement, over the 3 years I have been here I have learned so much in the field of electronic engineering, hopefully I can keep that feeling up throughout my career.

Hobbies and interests:
I am a keen sports fan; I enjoy participating in lunchtime and evening work sports such as football, cricket and rounders. I get a lot of opportunities to socialise with other staff members and apprentices away from work.

Since Finishing:
Since completing my apprenticeship two years ago, I am now an employee of ISIS Neutron Facility. I am working in the experimental operations division which works closely with the user scientists on their experiments. In the electronics group we build and maintain all of the specialist equipment used in experiments, including; triple high accuracy controllers and motion controllers.

I have completed my Foundation degree with distinction grade and I will be starting my Honours Degree at oxford Brookes in September. I am pleased that I have been encouraged to further my education with full support from ISIS.

 

How to apply

For both apprenticeship schemes we are looking for individuals who have or will have achieved 4 GCSE passes at Grade C or above, including English, Science and Maths.  You must be self-motivated, enthusiastic about learning and hard working.

If you are leaving school or college this year, this could be just the start you’re looking for – an engineering Advanced Apprenticeship in electrical/electronic or mechanical engineering at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Harwell Campus, Oxfordshire or Daresbury Laboratory in Warrington, Cheshire.

Application process for Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

At Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, the apprenticeship application process is managed on behalf of STFC by RCUK Shared Business Services (SBS). To apply please visit the job board and complete an online application form. If you are unable to apply online please contact us on +44 (0)1793 867003.

Applications will open on 1st February 2016 and the closing date is 14th March 2016.

Testing days will take place on Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd of March 2016.

Interview Days will be 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th April 2016.

Application Process for Daresbury Laboratory

Your apprenticeship will take approximately 4 years to complete, with the first year spent at the North West Training Council, Bootle.  You will then continue your apprenticeship at the laboratory, learning by being involved directly on exciting projects, as well as continuing your academic studies on day release with the expectation that you will achieve a foundation degree at the end of year 4.

Applications closed on 31st March 2016.

Testing day to be held on 18th April 2016.

Interviews will be between 3rd – 13th May.

At Daresbury Laboratory, the apprenticeship application process is managed by the Human Resources Team.

If you want to develop a career in software development or systems administration then a Computing Apprenticeship at STFC could be just what you are looking for.

At STFC, our Computing and IT specialists have a first class reputation. Their expertise is key to making our research happen. We work with the very latest technologies to drive advances in both hardware and software that have genuine real world applications. Whether it is the search for the Higgs Boson and dark matter at the LHC, analysing climate data or genomics, our systems tackle the biggest and most challenging problems in scientific computing.

Joining us is your chance to get take on real responsibility from day one with structured training and professional development - leading to a role in a world-class STFC facility.

You will spend two days per week at college in fully funded classroom learning, allowing you to gain a foundation degree. The other three days will be spent working within various teams on-site. You will help people solve real problems using computers & software. The initial appointment will be for a 2 year fixed term. There will be a possibility for successful candidates to continue training and convert this to a full BSc honours degree.

How to apply

We are looking for individuals who have achieved 4 GCSE passes at Grade C or above, including English, Science and Maths, and a minimum of One A level or 40 UCAS points. You must be self-motivated, enthusiastic about learning and hard working.

Application process

The apprenticeship application process is managed on behalf of STFC by RCUK Shared Business Services (SBS). To apply please visit the job board and complete an online application form. If you are unable to apply online please contact us on +44 (0)1793 867003.

  • Applications will open on 1st February 2016
  • Closing date is 14th March 2016
  • Testing days will take place on Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd of March 2016
  • Interview Days will be 19th, 20th and 21st April 2016

Contact

If you have any questions regarding the Apprentice Scheme, please contact either of the following:

FAQ

We want happy, self motivated, young people who are willing to work hard (and we mean work hard!) to join our team of future technicians and engineers. We will expect you to have a demonstrable interest in engineering and a proven record of good work from any school or employer you have been involved with.

This depends to some extent on you. The initial contract or Indenture period is for 4 years. You can in fact achieve most of this within just over 3 years, provided you work hard and don't waste any time.

Successful completion will result in a good pay rise and the opportunity to progress further into a junior management position. In many respects it will depend on you. The more you are willing to put in, the more you should be able to get out.

STFC is accredited with the Investor In People Standard (IIP). We want to help our staff and others make the best of their future, even if they eventually leave us for a career elsewhere.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000