Abby Chisnall and Alex Haslett-Saunders have completed apprenticeship qualifications in the LMB’s Electronics and Mechanical Workshops respectively
The LMB is proud to offer apprenticeship opportunities across our scientific facilities and support services, which are a crucial part of the laboratory. These include the LMB’s Estates Team, Media Prep and Glasswash Facility, HR and Finance, amongst others. In particular, the LMB workshops have a long, established history of apprenticeship success, providing the next generation of technicians with the skills and experience they need to prosper in a working environment.
In the past year, two apprentices have completed their qualifications; Abby Chisnall in the Electronics Workshop and Alex Haslett-Saunders in the Mechanical Workshop. Here they share how they came to undertake their apprenticeships at the LMB, how they were assessed and what they get up to day-to-day in the workshops.
I discovered the apprenticeship opportunity in the LMB’s Electronics Workshop on the Government apprenticeship website. Straight after I did my GCSEs, I was looking at options and was choosing between an apprenticeship and A Levels. I looked through the list of available apprenticeships online and found this was the most interesting one I saw.
Throughout my apprenticeship I was assessed with a few exams, and also had some practical assessments to complete at work. I was supported throughout by Andy Howe, Head of the Electronics Workshop, who made sure I was keeping on track and gave me consistent feedback on my work.
In the Electronics Workshop, I try to make whatever the scientists request. I’m busy designing and printing circuit boards, assembling and testing circuit boards and coding and creating user interfaces. I really enjoy the puzzle of figuring out circuit boards and how to fit them together.
My apprenticeship has been useful as it allowed me to actually experience what engineering is – something I was always interested in which I now have a career in.
Andy Howe, Head of the Electronics Workshop commented, “I started my career as a Student Apprentice at Marconi and appreciate that a good apprenticeship scheme really helps to encourage and train the next generation. Abby has grasped her opportunity extremely well and is now on a firm path to earning a degree and a rewarding career in electronic engineering. Very soon she may be coaching an apprentice herself.”
My apprenticeship was a Level 3 Diploma in Engineering Machining, which I completed in the LMB’s Mechanical Workshop. When I was leaving Sixth Form, I was looking for interesting places to work which offered a wide range of different engineering aspects. That was a big draw for me at the LMB; I really like the range of projects we undertake in the workshop. Other people I know doing engineering don’t have that broad range and the job ends up very repetitive. But we only make a couple of things more than one or two times – there’s always new things to make.
To receive my qualification, I had to submit practical coursework to college, and demonstrate an understanding of the theory that goes alongside it. I also had visits from college at work to see what I was doing in the workshop and make sure I was up to scratch.
Now, like the other guys in the workshop, I can be given a job and undertake it with very minimal help, from design through to manufacture of complex instruments to meet the needs of LMB researchers.
Steve Scotcher, Head of the Mechanical Workshop who himself joined the LMB after completing an apprenticeship, commented, “I have always been a supporter of apprenticeships, they are a great way for an employer to provide practical training in a real-world environment. The LMB mechanical workshop provides a first-class apprenticeship, with excellent mentors who take pride in training to the highest level.”