Imperial’s Provost presented graduation certificates to the latest cohort of students completing Imperial’s Technician Apprenticeship Scheme.
The graduation ceremony celebrated the six apprentices who had completed Imperial’s scheme since 2020.
All the graduates achieved a high standard in their courses and workplace training, despite disruption related to the pandemic. Some of this year's graduates were also involved in a partnership with the Science Museum as part of the newly opened technicians gallery, which aims to encourage young people to become technicians.
The Provost said: “Our highly-skilled technicians play a key role in enabling us to provide world-class research and education at Imperial. So it is vitally important that we continue to develop and train the technicians of the future. The Technician Apprenticeship Scheme is central to that aim.
“I’m also very pleased that the scheme was able to partner with the Science Museum to help promote the important work of technicians, and encourage people into this rewarding career.”
Below we meet two of this year’s graduates.
“You are exposed to so many new technologies and machinery”
Munir Saleh’s interest in mechatronics, a broad discipline encompassing different branches of engineering, led to him applying to the Imperial programme. Munir explains: “I knew that the style of learning I enjoyed was a more practical, hands-on style. So an apprenticeship was perfect, and it just so happens that Imperial provided a mechatronics apprenticeship. It was a no brainer for me to choose Imperial.”
The range of projects in the apprenticeship scheme was something that particularly appealed to Munir: “You are exposed to so many new technologies and machinery that give you different ways to solve problems. It also challenged me to look for unique solutions to a problem, and gave me an excuse to look at new technologies in the market.”
Through the scheme Munir has become a volunteer at the Science Museum’s new technicians gallery. His role involves creating activities for children to give them an insight into the world of a technician: “I really enjoyed brainstorming ideas for the children's activities. I was able to use my knowledge and skills to realise an idea from the ground up.”
After completing the course Munir decided to concentrate on electronics, and his job as an Electronics Research Workshop Technician in Imperial’s Department of Physics focuses on complex PCB designs that are headed for CERN. He would recommend the scheme as it creates an alternative path to get into engineering: “I believe this scheme is vital, because it allows those like me who may struggle with the traditional route to still be able to pursue engineering.”
“I have been using the skills I developed at Imperial on the largest physics experiment in the world”
Matthew Watkins was considering a mechanical engineering degree when his lifelong love for working with his hands led him to apply to the Technician Apprenticeship Scheme. During the four year scheme Matthew learned a range of practical skills while continuing his studies. Matthew says: “Over the course of the scheme I visited six different departments, all with their different specialties and machines, giving me a huge array of different experiences which has set me up incredibly well for the rest of my career.”
The scheme’s recent partnership with the Science Museum led to some of Matthew’s work being displayed at the museum. Matthew explains: “I was one of several Imperial apprentices who discussed our experiences as an apprentice with the museum. I mentioned a project I had worked on in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial – a prototype prosthetic leg for a ballet dancer. I made a replica for them to display in the museum as an example of the type of project technicians can be involved in.”
After completing the apprenticeship, Matthew worked in Imperial’s Department of Physics, where he enjoyed continuing to learn from the experienced staff. However, Matthew has now relocated to Geneva: “An opportunity arose at CERN which was too good to miss, and I have since moved to Geneva to work on several upgrade projects to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). I have been using the skills I developed at Imperial on the largest physics experiment in the world.”
Matthew thinks technician apprenticeship schemes are vital to enabling projects like the LHC to continue: “Without schemes like this there would be a continued skills shortage within our sector, which could cause knock on issues for science and engineering research.”
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