Cookie Notice

This website uses cookies to ensure the best experience. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. Learn more about privacy policy.

Picture of Jonathan Aghanian Apprenticeship Scheme Coordinator

As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2021, we spoke to Jonathan Aghanian, Apprenticeship Scheme Coordinator at Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to find out how apprenticeships are helping them to build their future workforce.

STFC, which is part of Government funded organisation, UK Research Innovation, helps to carry out research into key areas including particle physics, nuclear physics, space science and scientific computing. Jonathan’s role is to oversee and support apprentices across STFC but particularly at the Daresbury site, where they employ an impressive 58 apprentices, ranging from level 3 to level 7.

STFC has a long record of recruiting and developing high quality apprentices who become the skilled professionals needed to deliver their programmes. Jonathan said, “Having a pipeline of future talent is key to our continued growth and to support our expanding science portfolio. We have a great retention rate which we are extremely proud of and offer all our apprentices a permanent position and further learning and development opportunities after their apprenticeship.”

He added, “We invest a lot in our apprentices as we realise it is an investment for the future. The work we do is quite unique, so it is extremely difficult to find someone with the set of skills that are needed. Apprenticeships provide the perfect balance as they allow us to find someone who is eager to learn and then teach them skills that are needed for the job role through a structured apprenticeship.”

It is clear that apprenticeships are an integral part of STFCs highly skilled workforce. Speaking of his own experience working with apprentices at STFC, Jonathan said, “Our apprentices genuinely love what they do - they have such enthusiasm that you can’t help but get swept along by it. I’ve also seen how STFC apprentices go out of their way to support one another, mentoring newer apprentices and sharing learning experiences.”

Jonathan explained, “They’re also helping to champion the message that apprenticeships aren’t for ‘stereotypical’ roles – our apprentices are helping to design and build cutting-edge components for particle accelerators; developing programmes for various high-profile users of our facilities; helping to project manage multi-million-pound international collaborations; and supporting UK industry to grow.”

The process of recruiting for an apprentice can seem to be a daunting prospect for employers who are new to the world of apprenticeships. As a passionate advocate for apprenticeships, Jonathan advised, “We have worked with St Helens College for a number of years and collaborated to recruit for our most recent Level 3 Laboratory Technician Apprentice, with the College guiding us through the whole process, from identifying the correct apprenticeship standard for the job role, to helping with recruitment and interviews. I would highly recommend taking this approach to other employers.”

He added, “We use apprenticeships for new recruits, as well as existing staff whose roles have expanded and need to update their skill set. It is slowly improving but Apprenticeships need to be given more serious consideration and credit amongst employers and the wider population. Seeing the impact our apprentices have had over the years at STFC and contributing to reaching our goals, we know first-hand how important they are!”

Watch what Jonathan and one of his Laboratory Technician apprentices, Jack, had to say about the benefits of an apprenticeship and find out more about taking on an apprentice here.