The next Inside Diamond open day will feature stalls and activities, a short introduction to Diamond and a tour of the machine. We expect the visit will last around two and a half hours. Booking for open days opens 6-8 weeks in advance of the event. Click here for more details.
What’s your professional background and how did you first become interested in this field?
I left school at 16 and joined the AWE apprenticeship scheme. I spent four years doing an Advanced Apprenticeship in Mechanical Maintenance, going to Newbury College to gain a HND in Mechanical Engineering. I out-turned into site maintenance as a Fitter where I spent four years maintaining and fault finding a wide range of nuclear plant and equipment. In 2013 I was posted to an imbedded maintenance team working on a specialist high hazard nuclear facility and in 2014 was promoted to Maintenance Supervisor.
I gained experience in advanced maintenance and fault finding techniques, facilities engineering and project management. I chose to become an apprentice mentor in 2012 and worked closely with the Apprentice Academy to deliver specialist training. I left AWE in October 2017 where I joined Diamond as a Mechanical Building Services Engineer. All things engineering have fascinated me from a very young age, whether it is mechanical, electrical or electronic, and being given the chance to participate in the Formula Schools challenge really sparked my interest into making engineering my career.
Can you walk us through a typical day?
My typical day involves working on projects that I am either running or lending assistance to, including new installations, plant upgrades and fault finding, which means I get to spend time out on site, interfacing with staff and contractors and getting involved with our plant. I also spend time at my desk, reviewing drawings and technical documents to ensure that the work being undertaken is correct and to a high standard. Occasionally I drop the shirt in favour of work wear and get hands on in order to carry out commissioning and fault finding work. I think it is important to get out and know the plant you have.
What do you enjoy about your job?
Problem solving is one of my favourite things, so getting to do that most days is great. A lot of my work is based around the beamlines and it is great to be able to work on a collection of cutting-edge facilities that make up Diamond. I am proud to be supporting the amazing scientific research going on at Diamond and I am lucky to work with a team of enthusiastic, experienced and skilled engineers who strive to make this a world leading installation.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get involved in your field?
I would recommend getting involved with extra-curriculum engineering activities, getting a good apprenticeship and taking the time to build your skills. Getting a place at one of the new University Technology Colleges around the country can be a great way to start your engineering career. If you have the opportunity to undertake further education then make the most of it, good practical engineers with the theory to back them up are highly sought-after. Taking things apart, learning how they work and are made, and putting them back together again builds on your theory and practical skills, which is invaluable knowledge. Most importantly make sure you enjoy what you do.
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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