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Apprentice Engineering Machinist

Science and Technology Facilities Council - UKRI
Didcot, Oxfordshire
£11,925 per annum rising incrementally to £18,402 in the fourth year
Closing date
7 Jul 2022

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Job Details

Science and Technology Facilities Council

Salary: £11,925 per annum rising incrementally to £18,402 in the fourth year
Hours: Full time 
Contract Type: Fixed Term (4 years)
Location: Science and Technology Facilities Council, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Harwell, Oxfordshire 
Closing Date: Sunday 31st July 2022
Interview Dates: Week commencing Monday 1st August 2022

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has over 25 years’ experience in providing engineering apprenticeships and provides an excellent training ground to equip individuals with the relevant skills and experience for their chosen career in either mechanical, electrical or electronic engineering.

We offer a competitive salary that increases annually, 4 years supervised training, additional core skills development and the opportunity to undertake overseas placements!

Are you looking to start a career in Mechanical Engineering?

A mechanical machinist apprentice will use novel and technology-enabled processes to contribute to the manufacture of mechanical parts and assemblies. This supports a broad range of engineering requirements on both large and small precise sizes using Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) and conventional machining techniques.

A Department funded level 3 machinist apprentice will undertake 4 years paid training, supervised by the Research Council. If successful in this opportunity, we will offer a position within one of two department-exclusive apprenticeships. This will consist of the following roles:

Manufacturing Facilities- Apprentice Engineering Machinist
As a member of the Manufacturing Facilities Group, the apprenticeship will be in a team that provides manufacturing bespoke solutions to the wider body of the scientific community here at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) and for our global partners. As a workshop based role, full training will be provided in all aspects of manufacture within the groups capabilities, starting at manual machining, progressing to CNC and EDM (Electro Discharge Machining). You will work from engineering drawings and engage with the end users of the scientific projects directly. Additional training outside of the apprenticeship units will be provided to support all the requirements within the Manufacturing Facilities Group.

The Manufacturing Facilities Group also encompasses Dimensional Metrology, Additive Manufacture, Outside Procurement of manufactured components and a Detector Build Facility. At times during the apprenticeship you will have some exposure to these functions.

RAL Space Precision Development Facility- Apprentice Engineering Machinist
RAL Space has around 350 staff and carries out an exciting range of world-class space research and technology development. RAL Space has had significant involvement in over 200 space missions and operates at the forefront of UK space research.

The Precision Development Facility manufacture components for an outstanding diversity of fields, including some which are currently travelling through space on a comet, or part of highly complex instrumentation required for the next generation of Earth observation instruments. The novel processes and the intricacy of the work performed can be likened to techniques deployed in fine watchmaking. Typically, components are a few cm in size, with machined features accurate to a few µm in a modern environment, on highly advanced machinery. The apprenticeship will take on a progressive journey that will introduce you to interpreting and understanding technical drawings and the safe use and operation of a myriad of machines that will enable you to produce parts to specification.

Shared Requirements for the two positions:

  • Complete a prescribed program of training to be conducted within the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories
  • Become proficient in the machining of components to include milling and turning on conventional and CNC machines in different materials
  • Obtain a high level of competence in mechanical fitting and assembly skills including the use of hand tools and marking out
  • Attend college leading to recognized NVQ level three qualifications over a four year period
  • Carry out maintenance / repair tasks and duties at the Laboratory as directed by the mechanical section leader and workshop manager, these activities will be directly relevant to the apprenticeships’ key competencies and skills and will assist the wider department in delivering their core maintenance service commitments
  • As an STFC Apprentice you will communicate to staff across STFC and at all levels. You will work as part of a team as well as working on your own. You will also have contact throughout your apprenticeship with college tutors and visitors to site
  • Champion the STFC in a positive manner
  • Deliver a high level of customer service
  • Attend appropriate additional training to support the role and service delivery

You are advised to submit your application as soon as possible as we reserve the right to close this vacancy once we have received sufficient applications.

About You
Personal Skills and Attributes
We are looking for individuals who have or will have achieved 5 GCSE passes at Grade C/4 or above including Maths, English and a Science/Technology subject by September 2022 or equivalent qualifications. You must be self-motivated, enthusiastic about learning and hard working.

Special Conditions
You will be required to attend and complete the required nationally recognised training courses. This will involve attendance at local educational establishments, on a day release or block release basis as appropriate. 

In order for you apply for these apprenticeships, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Achieved or predicted to achieve 5 GCSE passes at Grade C/4 or above including Maths, English and a Science by September 2022 or equivalent qualifications

Knowledge and Experience

  • Quality of cover letter
  • Interest in science, engineering, technology and Space
  • Ability to demonstrate some basic technical engineering knowledge and skill


  • Good knowledge of Microsoft office 

Interview Criteria:
Personal skills/qualities

  • Ability to work using own initiative
  • Ability to follow instructions including technical instructions in English
  • Self-motivated, willing to undertake the work required with the training provider and in the workplace
  • Able to work independently and as part of a team
  • Good communication skills
  • Good problem solving skills

About The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) 

As one of Europe’s largest research organisations, we ask the biggest questions in the universe to find answers that change the world around us. We seek understanding. We’re proud of the impact we make. And we’re committed to helping build a globally competitive, knowledge-based UK economy. Being part of all this means contributing to work that pushes boundaries and creates possibilities. You’ll work with, and learn from, true experts. Whatever your role, you’ll be free to question, and encouraged to share ideas. And, in a positive and supportive culture, you’ll discover just what a difference you can make when you’re equipped and inspired to excel.

We’re a place where curious minds thrive. Not bound by profit, we explore ideas that others don’t, ask questions that others won’t, and discover answers that others are not equipped to find. And, alongside Mars landings and black holes, we also explore diverse, international projects in everything from science and engineering to computing and technology. Whether it’s at the cutting edge or behind the scenes, our work is intellectually challenging. It’s very often ground-breaking.  And it’s endlessly, irresistibly fascinating.

For more information about STFC please visit 

You can also visit our careers site 


As part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) supports research in astronomy, physics and space science, and operates world-class research facilities for the UK.

Find Us
01793 442000
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Harwell Campus
OX11 0QX
United Kingdom
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