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Apprentice gets hands-on experience at ESS

17 January 2020

An Electrical Engineering Apprentice from Daresbury Laboratory completed his apprenticeship with a work placement at the European Spallation Source (ESS) – an international project which he contributed to here in the UK.

John Byrne spent three weeks at the ESS facility in Lund, Sweden, applying the skills he had learned over the four years of his apprenticeship to the huge neutron source which is being created by a number of international partners.

After inductions and health and safety briefings, John spent much of his time around test stand two, which is focused on testing cryo modules before they are installed on the beamline. He worked alongside the installation technicians and contractors: installing cables and cameras and putting up cable ladders amongst other tasks.

He also spent time with the radio frequency group – learning about the purpose build klystrons and modulators, and how the cooling water will be used as mains hot water for the nearby city of Lund, and the design team who showed him the detailed process of identifying all of the cable components in the systems.

John’s trip to ESS was backed by his supervisors at STFC, who considered it a great opportunity to broaden his knowledge of international projects. When asked about his time as ESS, John said: “It was a great opportunity to take what I have learned over four years with STFC and transfer my skills into a completely different workplace. Everyone was very welcoming and interested in the work I had been doing at Daresbury. It was also a great opportunity to visit places such as Malmo and Copenhagen during the weekend!”

Not that John had much downtime. While in Lund, his first apprenticeship came to an end, and he was planning for the next stage of his career. He has now secured a role as a Technician at Daresbury Laboratory and has also begun a two-year degree apprenticeship which he will complete ‘on the job’ and with day release to attend a university college course. He was also recently one of two winners of Daresbury Laboratory’s ‘apprentice of the year’ accolade.


STFC has apprenticeship schemes over a variety of disciplines at sites across the country. For more information, visit the STFC careers site.


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Last updated: 17 January 2020

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