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First apprentices 'graduate' from revitalised scheme at Daresbury Laboratory

17 November 2016

The first apprentices have graduated from a new enhanced Apprentice Training Scheme in a ceremony at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC’s) Daresbury Laboratory.

Full Team

Full Team: From L to R - Tom Finch, Andrew Wootten, Alex Headspith, Geoffrey Morris, William Spencer, Daniel White, Thomas Kelly, Rhys Foster, Ryan Evans, John Byrne, Will Marshall and Luke Bladen
(Credit: STFC)

The event celebrated the graduation of Thomas Finch and Luke Bladen, who both completed their apprenticeships in September and accepted the secure jobs waiting for them at the world-leading facility. As Luke put it “The award ceremony’s been my equivalent of people tossing their hats in the air at uni.”

Phil Atkinson, Group Leader for the Technical, Mechanical and Vacuum Engineering Group at Daresbury Laboratory, was a strong advocate for developing the enhanced scheme at the site to address the new skills needed in world-class scientific research.

“We restructured the scheme in 2012, after redesigning it to meet our future skills requirements, as we knew we needed to address succession planning. We have a highly skilled, aging workforce, many of whom have very specialised accelerator-related skills, so growing our own made a lot of sense.”

For many young people, apprenticeships are an enticing alternative to university, as they offer the security of a regular wage and the promise of a job once training has been completed.

Daresbury Laboratory now has 10 engineering apprentices, along with over 30 ex-apprentices still working on the site, who were also celebrated at the ceremony.

There are plans on the horizon to expand the scheme beyond engineering, to include computing and scientific apprenticeships. To young people considering an apprenticeship, Luke and Tom had the following to say:

“Apprenticeships are the way forward. If you want to be an engineer, explore the apprenticeship option before looking at universities. Mainly, because if you take the university route, you go for four years, you come out with maybe a £50,000 debt, and you might never have picked up a spanner.”

“My apprenticeship’s been fantastic. You get excellent qualifications and real, solid experience – because you’re building particle accelerators! When you try and tell people that in pubs they never believe you.”

More information about STFC’s apprentice scheme.

Luke Bladen

Luke Bladen was one of the first apprentices to graduate from the new scheme, and is pictured here with John Simpson who co-signed each deed of apprentice.
(Credit: STFC)

Thomas Finch

Thomas Finch was the second to graduate at the ceremony, and was also presented with the progress award for his work during his final year.
(Credit: STFC)

Apprentices at Daresbury Laboratory

The ceremony was a chance to celebrate all of the apprentices at Daresbury Laboratory.
(Credit: STFC)

Apprentice of the year

As well as graduating from the Apprenticeship Training Scheme, Luke also received the apprentice of the year award and the outreach award (pictured) from Neville Snodgrass, former head of engineering at the site.
(Credit: STFC)

Science and Technology Facilities Council
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