Six young prospective engineers are embarking on a renowned apprenticeship scheme which will see them training at two of Oxfordshire's most prestigious science facilities: Diamond Light Source, the UK's national synchrotron facility, and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL).
|From left to right: Mike Van de Mortel (existing apprentice), Richard Foggin, Paul Cross, Adam Taylor, Jamie Nutter, Luke Fry, Adam Churchman and Paul Amos (Diamond engineer).||From left to right: Adam Taylor, Paul Amos (Diamond engineer), Adam Churchman, Mike Van de Mortel (existing apprentice), Richard Foggin, Luke Fry, Jamie Nutter and Paul Cross|
Following a successful first year of operation, Diamond Light Source is lending its support to the well-established Engineering Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme managed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). The scheme, which has been running at RAL for 16 years, provides budding young engineers with invaluable experience in a variety of significant skills and is regarded as one of the best engineering apprenticeships in the county. 2008/2009 will see the apprentices coming to the Diamond synchrotron for the first time since the scheme began.
As Head of Engineering at Diamond, Jim Kay believes that schemes like this are incredibly important for improving the UK's technically skilled workforce: "The STFC and Diamond will present opportunities for young people to undergo a formal technical apprenticeship of the highest standard which will set them on course for a bright future in engineering. With a need for more technically skilled workers in the UK, Diamond will offer apprentices the chance to get involved in very high-spec electronics and controls systems, mechanical manufacture and maintenance along with many other relevant activities, to develop and increase their engineering skills."
On Friday 29th September, a week after receiving their GCSE results and therefore cementing their places on the scheme, the six new intakes visited RAL and Diamond for an induction. Mike Van de Mortel, a current trainee nearing the end of his apprenticeship, led them on a tour of the facilities. He says: "I have been extremely impressed by the jobs that I have been involved in during my apprenticeship and have really enjoyed the training and learning new things; and getting paid at the same time is a massive benefit. The experience of working in a real environment is invaluable. I would recommend this apprentice scheme to anybody who wants a future in cutting-edge engineering."
The new intakes will begin with a year of studies with five of them going to the Oxford and Cherwell College and one to Reading Thames Valley University. The following three years will see them taking practical training across Diamond and RAL, gaining crucial experience of a real working environment. At the end of the four year course, the apprentices will be well equipped with the relevant skills for their chosen career path and will have extensive experience of working in a sophisticated cutting-edge facility.
Training to be a mechanical engineer, 17 year old Adam Taylor of Wantage is looking forward to getting started. He says: "I have wanted to be an engineer since day one - I've always enjoyed taking things apart and finding out how things work. I applied for a place on this scheme because I was really impressed with the opportunities it offers and I was told that RAL and Diamond are among the best facilities in the area to do engineering. I was really pleased when I found out that I'd been awarded an apprenticeship. Seeing the places where we're going to work has been great and I can't wait to get started."
Commenting about having Diamond on board, Professor Roger Eccleston, Director of Technology at RAL said: "The apprenticeship scheme has been operating at RAL for more than a decade, producing highly trained engineers to meet the advanced technology needs of our leading edge scientific environment. We are delighted to now be working in partnership with Diamond on the scheme, enabling the new apprentices to have the opportunity to work on one of the newest and most exciting science facilities in the world."
Visit www.apprentices.stfc.ac.uk to find out more about the engineering Advanced Apprenticeships at RAL and Diamond.
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Paul Amos is a Senior Technician at Diamond and volunteered to be a mentor to the apprentices when they come to the synchrotron. He says: "I was really keen to help out with this scheme as I was an engineering apprentice at RAL myself not too many years ago. It was such a good experience and definitely helped me to get where I am today which is why I volunteered to be a mentor."
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Science and Technology Facilities Council
The Science and Technology Facilities Council ensures the UK retains its leading place on the world stage by delivering world-class science; accessing and hosting international facilities; developing innovative technologies; and increasing the socio-economic impact of its research through effective knowledge exchange partnerships.
The Council has a broad science portfolio including Astronomy, Particle Physics, Particle Astrophysics, Nuclear Physics, Space Science, Synchrotron Radiation, Neutron Sources and High Power Lasers. In addition the Council manages and operates three internationally renowned laboratories:
The Council gives researchers access to world-class facilities and funds the UK membership of international bodies such as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), the Institute Laue Langevin (ILL), European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), the European organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) and the European Space Agency (ESA). It also contributes money for the UK telescopes overseas on La Palma, Hawaii, Australia and in Chile, and the MERLIN/VLBI National Facility, which includes the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory.
The Council distributes public money from the Government to support scientific research. Between 2008 and 2009 we will invest approximately £787 million.
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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