Apprentice Telescope Engineering Technician Level 4

Jodrell Bank Observatory, Jodrell Bank, Lower Withington, Macclesfield, SK11 9DL
£13,709.00 annually
01 Jun 2021
17 Jun 2021
Role Type
Apprenticeship, Higher
Start Date
Aim of the apprenticeship?

Do you like keeping equipment maintained in good working order and repairing faulty items?

Are you interested in making a real contribution to the collection of data for studies of the Universe?

Would you like to join an elite team of specialist telescope engineers?

If so, this technical apprenticeship is for you.

Come and join our scientific endeavours and continue our quest to better understand the Universe and its history.

This Apprenticeship offers a unique opportunity for you to join our highly specialised engineers and scientists, at our world leading Jodrell Bank Observatory (JBO) in Cheshire.

The University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory operates the UK's national radio astronomy facility. Jodrell Bank is world leading in radio-astronomy-related research and technological developments.

Telescopes such as the 76 m diameter Lovell, 25 m Mark II, and the five large e-MERLIN dishes, all require hands on specialist staff with technical understanding and skills to ensure they continue to provide the data from our local galaxy and beyond.

The main aims of our Technical Apprenticeship Programme are to provide you with world leading transferable skills, enabling you to develop a rewarding career as an Apprentice Telescope Engineering Technician.

The training is deliberately broad, teaching a wide range of core telescope maintenance competencies, and specialised competencies specific to Jodrell Bank requirements. This allows you time to discover the variety of careers within radio astronomy maintenance, operations, and development.

Scope of the apprenticeship:

Working primarily at JBO, within the Telescope Workshop, Cryogenics Laboratory, Electronics Laboratory, Telescope Sevo Laboratory, and on-site telescope work, you will learn to work as part of a unique specialised team.

Responding to routine maintenance duties, inspections, and rapid response to faults. Many of the activities will take place outdoors, in all weathers, and at height (if you have any fear of heights then this work will unfortunately not be suitable for you).

Additionally, you will be required to attend the main University campus in Manchester for development, training, and networking events.

Day to day duties will include (but not limited to) the following areas:
  • Planned maintenance activities to ensure operational availability of all JBO radio telescopes
  • Repairs to breakdowns of all JBO radio telescopes and site equipment
  • Mechanical workshop fabrication, including machining, fitting, welding, and general metal work to repair/modify and manufacture components from drawings
  • Plant and machinery operation, maintenance of motorised equipment including hydraulic access platforms, tele-handlers, compressors, and other mobile plant
  • Installation, maintenance and mechanical adjustment of radio receivers, sub-reflectors
  • Industrial tower climbing and rescue techniques
  • Cleaning, painting, repairing, installing, and adjusting telescopes and equipment sometimes by means of rope access techniques

Subsequently, additional training will be available to suitable candidates who have shown specific interest or ability in an area to allow specialisation as required.

Requirements and prospects

Desired skills

  • Experience working within an Engineering or maintenance orientated environment
  • Willingness and ability to work on high structures in a safe manner with appropriate training
  • Willingness and ability to work outside in all weather
  • A keen eye for detail and a strong work-ethic
  • An ability to work both independently and within a team to meet time-critical goals and targets as the role dictates
  • Aptitude to learn new techniques quickly and perform the required tasks accurately
  • Excellent communication skills (both written and verbal)
  • Computer literate
  • A willingness to undertake further practical and theoretical training as dictated by the role

Personal qualities

  • Good attention for detail and a strong work-ethic
  • An ability to work both independently and within a team to assist with meeting time-critical goals and targets as you develop

Desired qualifications

  • BTEC level 3 (or equivalent) in Engineering/Electronics
  • 5 GCSEs at grades C/4 or above (or equivalent) including maths, English, and a science

Future prospects

Upon completion of the apprenticeship in 4 years' time, you will have a portfolio of key unique skills, and a wealth of relevant experience.

Whilst we cannot guarantee a permanent position at The University of Manchester, we endeavour to match Apprentices with appropriate vacancies and support them through the application process.

Most Apprentices are successful in securing a role with the Universityandchoose to continue their academic studieswhilst earning a salary.

Opportunities tostudya Higher Apprenticeship exist for high-performing candidates.

Things to consider

Preference will be given to candidates that have previous relevant placement or work experience in a similar environment.

Experience in the different areas within Jodrell Bank Observatory and on the main University campus in Manchester will be part of the training process with options to specialise. We will ensure you experience the wide variety of possibilities available across the entire institution to assist you in your career choices.

£13,709 per annum rising to £15,292 per annum after successful completion of an 8-month probation period. A further review occurs at 24 months and annually thereafter.

Benefits of working at the University of Manchester:

Working at the University affords an unrivalled package of benefits, including generous annual leave allowance, a defined contribution pension scheme, subsidised car parking (free at JBO), childcare voucher scheme and a range of staff discounts.

We are strongly committed to personal and career development and take the well-being of our staff very seriously.

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