Rare Diamond on show for would-be apprentices

Diamond Light Source, the high-tech research lab in Oxfordshire, throws open its doors on March 9 to potential apprentices – a rare glimpse of one of the world’s leading synchrotrons.

Also open will be the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), on the same site. Since 2008 the two institutions have offered joint four-year apprenticeships covering the electrical, electronic, mechanical or maintenance skills needed within the engineering industry – all gained within the world of advanced science (see Student & Young Professional’s 2008 article on Diamond, right.)

As part of their training each apprentice will spend a year at college followed by three years practical training across Diamond and RAL, gaining crucial experience of a real working environment.

Si Beazley (pictured), has just completed his nine-month placement at Diamond. He described the scheme as: "Interesting, motivating and rewarding," adding: "My placement at Diamond has been the best bit so far. Working on this site is brilliant. The high-end science can sometimes be difficult to grasp but it's great to see what goes on and to play a part in it. The facility itself is fascinating – like something out of a James Bond movie!

"I've been given some really good tasks and a fair amount of responsibility which has really helped to increase my confidence in a real working environment.

"Since I managed to cover a lot of the scheme's criteria at Diamond, I'm hoping to complete my apprenticeship this summer and take up a permanent position at ISIS as an electrical engineer."

Si, and four of the newest engineering apprentices on site, will be talking to potential applicants to the scheme on March 9 about how to 'earn and learn' by working at the leading edge of science and engineering. There will also be workshops, tours, and the opportunity to talk to current trainers, employers and college representatives.

Both RAL and Diamond are on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire. More info on the Science and Technology Facilities Council website. Book your place on the open day with Lisa Faircloth, apprentice scheme secretary, on 01235 445857, or email her at lisa.faircloth@stfc.ac.uk.

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