Two unusual apprenticeships
14 Feb 2018



Apprentices from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and STFC met at RAL to share their experiences of working in two of the UK’s leading scientific institutions.

Apprentices from NPL and STFC meet at RAL Space

​​​​​​Apprentices from NPL and STFC meet at RAL Space.


23 visitors from NPL joined 10 of their STFC counterparts at RAL Space to talk about their apprenticeships.

The NPL apprentices had the opportunity to visit some of the world-class facilities that the STFC apprentices work on day to day. Over the course of their four year studies, apprentices at STFC can get involved with anything from fitting out thermal vacuum chambers for testing spacecraft to helping maintaining the UK's neutron and muon source which studies materials at an atomic scale. 

STFC apprentice Conor Sandiford, currently on placement within RAL Space, said, “The opportunity to meet the apprentices from NPL was very interesting. We got to see the similarities and differences between the apprenticeship schemes at our different companies."

Joshua Schofield, an engineering apprentice at NPL, said, “It was such a great opportunity to visit RAL Space and see, first-hand, the impact RAL Space has on the direction of UK space developments.  A highlight was the particle accelerator and the precision workshop, which gave us an amazing insight into the space engineering industry."

​The visit was organised to strengthen already close ties between RAL Space and NPL. Both organisation have a long heritage in satellite calibration, measurement and instrumentation development.

Initiatives like this are helping the two organisations to share expertise and ideas to ensure continued excellence in vital space measurement technologies and services.

Apprentices from NPL and STFC inside the main facilities hall at RAL Space

Over 38,000 people are employed within the UK space sector. With an aim to capture 10% of the £400 billion global space industry by 2030, there is a growing demand for skilled scientists, engineers and technicians to sustain this growth.

Helen Johnson, STFC National Apprenticeship Scheme Manager said: “The STFC and NPL apprentice schemes offer young people the chance to get hands on experience working on innovative projects with support from mentors and technical professionals. This provides them with a unique skillset for an exciting career supporting the work of some of the most important science projects in the UK as well as providing us with the expertise to enable the science to happen." ​


Image 1: Apprentices from NPL and STFC inside the main facilities hall at RAL Space. Credit: STFC RAL Space

For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries