Advanced Engineering Apprenticeship (CNC Machining)

Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh
16 Jun 2021
04 Jul 2021
Start Date
24 months+
  • Organisation: Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) - UK Astronomy Technology Centre
  • Contract Type: Fixed Term Contract
  • External Closing Date: Jul 4, 2021
  • Minimum Salary: Pound Sterling (GBP) 11,675
  • Hours: Full-time

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), part of UK Research and Innovation, is a place where curiosity-driven, blue-skies thinking meets practical, application-led science and engineering. One of Europe’s largest research organisations, we’re trusted to support, enable and undertake cutting-edge projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in science, engineering, computing and technology. The work we do is helping to shape societies, strengthen economies and transform lives. We live and breathe collaboration.

STFC has a broad science portfolio and works with the academic and industrial communities to share its expertise. The UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) is the national center for astronomical technology and is part of STFC.

UK ATC designs and builds instruments for many of the world's major telescopes. They also project-manage UK and international collaborations and their scientists carry out observational and theoretical research into questions such as the origins of planets and of galaxies.

Based at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, and operated by STFC, its technology can be found in telescopes both on the ground and in space. Whether you’re about to leave school/college, changing career, or are seeking a challenging alternative to university, this could be just the start you’re looking for – an Engineering Apprenticeship at the UK ATC. Our Engineering apprenticeships are approved by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and provide an excellent opportunity to begin your Engineering career. STFC has over 20 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, 4-6 years supervised training, additional core skills development and the opportunity to undertake overseas placements.

Duties and Responsibilities

The first year is spent at Edinburgh College at their purpose built training facility at Midlothian Campus. Here you will be taught a wide range of generalised engineering skills including: machining and hand-fitting techniques; electrical and electronic wiring, testing and maintenance; mechanical assembly; maintenance and turning; milling and welding. This provides you with a SVQ 2 in Performing Engineering Operations at SCQF level 5 and a National Certificate in Manufacturing Engineering at SCQF level 6.

From year 2 onwards, you will be based at UK ATC where you will continue your apprenticeship gaining more specialised skills within the Engineering Support Group. You will gain extensive experience in broadening your knowledge and providing exposure to the full spectrum of working in a sophisticated cutting-edge facility. You will be working alongside and guided by experienced technicians and engineers, with skills and knowledge being built up through direct involvement in exciting scientific projects. Throughout your apprenticeship you will be expected to support collaborations from all over the world as they continue to push back the barriers of science. 

The on-the-job training provided in years 2 through to 4 leads to a SVQ level 3 in Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering at SCQF level 6.
On and Off the job training is supported by Edinburgh & District Employer's Training Association (EDETA) who will track your progress from year 1 through to year 4 where upon successful completion will provide you with a full Engineering apprenticeship and SVQ Level 3 certificates.

You will also continue your academic studies on day release basis through years 2 & 3 to attain a Higher National Certificate in Engineering Systems at SCQF level 7.

Following the completion of your training you will have the opportunity to be involved in a variety of exciting ventures in the Engineering Support Group workshop and in the various labs on site.

Contacts and Communication

As an STFC Apprentice you will communicate with staff across STFC 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 university tutors and visitors to the site.

Personal Skills and Attributes

We are looking for individuals who have or will have achieved a minimum of four National 5 qualifications at Grade C or above including Maths, English and a Science/technical subject

You must be self-motivated, enthusiastic about learning, hardworking and demonstrate a clear interest and desire to develop a career in engineering.

When submitting your CV and covering letter you should address yourself to this person specification, demonstrating by example how you meet the criteria contained within. Please also include any other information, which you feel is of relevance to your application.

Shortlisting Requirements:

Key Requirements:


  • Achieved or predicted to achieve a minimum of four National 5 qualifications at Grade C or above including Maths, English and a Science/technical subject 
  • A strong and demonstrable interest in science, engineering and technology
  • Ability to demonstrate some basic technical engineering knowledge and skill 
  • 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 


  • Good knowledge of Microsoft Office 

Additional Information

Reasons our apprentices enjoy working for us: 

  • Our apprentices have access to an Apprentice Association, where you will be part of a network of diverse apprentices working across our sites in a variety of role and occupational areas
  • Annual Apprenticeship Awards Evening; Outwards Bounds week for all new apprentice starters, and additional development in core skills including Insights profile building
  • Personal development is important to us. You will work with your line manager to develop your own Learning and Development plan each year 
  • 30 days’ annual leave plus 10.5 public and privilege days
  • Defined benefit pension scheme (employer contribution – currently up to 26%)
  • Diversity and inclusion are important to us. We have a corporate policy on Equality and Diversity which is supported by a Diversity Forum and implementation group. For more information on the rest of our employee benefits, take a look at: 
  • We value collaborative working across STFC and with our external collaborators

Online applications only preferred for this role. Please submit your CV and a covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation to join STFC and the role you’re applying for. Ensure that the job reference number is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Note that failure to address the above criteria or submit your application without a covering letter may result in your application not being considered. You will only be assessed on the content of your CV and covering letter and not the ‘experience’ section of the application.