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Students develop Mars Rover prototype in record-breaking summer of work experience

A record-breaking 208 students have been welcomed this summer to undertake exciting work experience placements with STFC across our world-leading facilities in Cheshire, Oxfordshire and Edinburgh.

At Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire, one of the main challenges students faced was to ‘control the temperature of a water bath’, in order to be able to successfully develop film photographs taken throughout the experience. The project required a range of skills, from coding to engineering, allowing students to identify their interests and explore different areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). This was part of a group work experience programme that took place alongside individual placements, with nearly 70 students welcomed to the site in total.

Developing a Mars Rover prototype was one of many fascinating projects that students took part in at our Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire. The project was part of an Engineering Experience Week which was organised alongside individual placements, involving students aged 14-17 tackling real-life challenges in teams whilst being mentored by apprentices and recent graduates. In addition to other exciting projects, such as simulating neutron behaviour in radioactive materials, students also had the opportunity to tour the wide range of facilities.

Feedback from the students was very positive, with one student commenting "The best part was getting to experience actual things engineers get to do, which has inspired me to do more outside of my curriculum to pursue engineering further.”

In Edinburgh, more than 20 students secured one of the competitive places at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC), where typically the students take part in computer-aided design (CAD), optics, astronomy, electronics and programming related activities.

The UK ATC work experience programmes proved not only to be beneficial for the students, but also the mentors. Mike MacIntosh, the work experience programme manager said: “Helping out with work experience is a refreshing change from the day to day job and provides an opportunity to inspire young people to pursue a career in STEM. It’s great to experience the enthusiasm and excitement of the students”

Inspiring young people and the wider public is a core value at STFC, and is achieved through a dedicated programme of public engagement. The popularity of the work experience placements is borne out by the high number of applicants, with almost 1,000 applications received this year. Thank you to everyone involved!

 Interested in applying?

The next round of applications will open this autumn for work experience placements in the summer of 2020 for placements at Daresbury Laboratory and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. (Daresbury and RAL work experience)

For Scotland however, applications will open after the summer holidays in mid-August for placements commencing from October 2019. (ROE work experience/)


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Last updated: 30 August 2019

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