"I was completely blown away and felt inspired"
Hi Vicky, could you say a few words about yourself and how you came to CERN?
In Wales, at the local Coleg Y Cymoedd where I studied a BTEC Diploma in Science, I was a lab technician apprentice. While I was working for the college, the lecturers arranged a student trip to visit CERN, luckily they invited me to join! Of course I knew of CERN before but, after the visit I was completely blown away and left inspired. We were told of the many different roles at CERN and I came to learn that CERN was actually in need of more technicians. After knowing that, I went home and googled CERN jobs, I came across the TTE and with the amazing support from my colleagues I applied.
I never thought that I would end up working at CERN, I still find it hard to believe sometimes and a lot of the time when I visit home some people don't even believe me! I have always worked full time since leaving education at 18, and with no university degree I didn't think it could be possible.
Applying to CERN was the best decision I've made yet and It proves how important it is to go for things, especially for those that you think could be out of reach.
What you do at CERN today?
I work In the Vacuum Group for Vacuum, Services and Measurement in the calibration lab. I test, measure, calibrate, maintain and repair Residential Gas Analysers and Pressure Gauges which are used throughout CERN experiments.
I didn't have much experience when it came to working with Vacuum when I started so, at first there was a huge learning curve! Over time and with great support from my supervisor and colleagues I have learnt a great deal of things, theoretical as well as practical. The main lessons so far are to always try and succeed at any challenge, to be open to suggestions and new ideas and to not be afraid when faced with a problem. I think there are many qualities and lessons that make a valuable technician, so you always have to be ready to learn and the new experiences I am gaining at CERN are going to help me and my future career as a technician.
What is working at CERN like for you?
CERN is a great place to work and I think totally unique, besides having the opportunity to work with brilliant people and some awesome equipment, CERN is a community. People come together from all over the world to share new ideas, research and experience, so you have the opportunity to meet many interesting people, from different cultures and backgrounds.
The best part is that many or most people are also away from their homes, so you are all in the same boat! Making new friends and networking is made a lot easier.
Of course, living in this part of the world has its benefits too! You get the opportunity to travel and explore new places and even try some new hobbies, like skiing!
Any advice you’d give to potential applicants?
Apply! I don't think there is another place that offers such experience for fellow technicians. Moving away for work, alone or not, can feel scary, but at CERN I really believe that the benefits, professionally as well as personal are far worth it. Also, there is a great support network at CERN, from anything to finding housing, a new bike or pals to go ski with!
Inspired? Intrigued? Interested? Take part and apply now for the Technician Training Experience: cern.ch/tte