Cardiff STEM leaders offer expert advice on tackling the skills gap

By Raspberry Jim,

Innovative thinking and dynamic partnerships between STEM leaders and educators are the key to reversing a “catastrophic” shortfall of over 200,000 scientific workers a year, according to Cardiff’s business leaders.

Experts from Sony UK Technology Centre, scientific educational charity Techniquest, and intellectual property firm Wynne Jones IP, are speaking out to mark British Science Week from March 8th to the 17th.

They are sharing their views after a report from Engineering UK showed that 203,000 people with higher engineering skills will be needed across the sector annually to meet demand until 2024.

In a bid to tackle this issue, the three Cardiff STEM leaders, whose businesses are at the forefront of driving innovation across the engineering, science, and technology sectors, are offering their advice to bridge the skills gap.

Sony UK TEC

Wales’s leading manufacturing facility Sony UK Technology Centre is considered a global innovator when it comes to engineering excellence.

With Sony UK TEC blending both practical and educational elements into its work with schools, Director of Professional Services Gerald Kelly believes that a combination of both is the solution to solving the growing skills shortfall.

The Pencoed facility, which produces high specification broadcast cameras for worldwide distribution, is renowned for being at the forefront of technological progression, and driving innovation across the manufacturing industry.

The Welsh site has not only developed a global reputation for producing leading technology such as the 4K camera, Nimway, and Raspberry Pi, but it is also renowned for ensuring digital literacy is widely accessible for a new generation of budding scientists.

As such, the facility runs an in-house Digital competency programme, which sees Sony UK TEC work with schools across Wales to provide access to media and broadcast technology.  It also runs a Learn2Code workshop, which encourages pupils to write their own code and learn about how technology is embedded into manufacturing.

With Sony UK TEC blending both practical and educational elements into its work with schools, Director of Professional Services Gerald Kelly believes that a combination of both is the solution to solving the growing skills shortfall.

He said: “Here at Sony UK TEC we firmly believe that it is not enough, or fair for industry to rely solely on education to deliver what is needed in terms of STEM.

“So we engage with schools and the Curriculum for Wales ourselves, and deliver bespoke programmes which are both fun, and inspire curiosity among pupils, while delivering vital technology knowledge.

“I think it’s this equal blend of the practical and the educational which will ultimately drive pupils to consider STEM careers and consequently tackle the much-publicised skills shortfall in the future.

“We believe that introducing STEM through a more interactive manner will undeniably encourage pupils to reconsider STEM roles, and explore the vast variety of careers available to them throughout the industry.

“It’s fundamental that manufacturers work with schools to expose children to rewarding and enriching roles as part of their curriculum, in order to peak their interest from a younger age.

“Most importantly we believe that it is vital that children are able to easily access and learn about coding, which is undeniably shaping the future of not just manufacturing, but the future of industries globally.”

Techniquest

As Wales’s leading science discovery centre, Techniquest has also seamlessly combined innovative STEM engagement with educational learning for over 30 years.

Techniquest’s Chief Executive Officer, Lesley Kirkpatrick, believes it is at a fundamental educational level that the nationwide STEM skills shortage can be curbed.

The popular centre, which is based in the bay, recognises the importance of promoting rewarding STEM careers and engagement through an interactive blend of unique scientific exhibits, shows and talks, along with educational outreach at hundreds of schools across Wales.

And Techniquest’s dedication to advancing STEM skills and making science more accessible, is set to get a significant boost after a £5.7 million expansion plan, which will see the centre increase in size by over 60% , was given the go ahead.

With this in mind, chief executive officer Lesley Kirkpatrick, believes it is at a fundamental educational level that the nationwide STEM skills shortage can be curbed.

She said: “As a charity which believes passionately in the ability of STEM skills to transform career potential, we have been heavily involved in discussions surrounding the predicted shortfall and how this can be reversed.

“It is incredibly concerning from a number of perspectives, as the STEM industry and its continued innovation plays such a vital role in the nation’s economic success. Equally, the lack of skilled workers could lead to declining levels of technological development across the UK in the coming years, and a lack of STEM uptake could see thousands of students miss out on their true professional potential.

“From our perspective it appears that the shortfall can be tackled at a fundamental educational level, by encouraging schools, universities, and science centres, such as ourselves, to work collaboratively to promote rewarding STEM careers and their diversity at all stages of learning.

“By forging dynamic working relationships, which highlight the significant benefits and exciting prospects afforded through STEM, we believe that we can embed scientific engagement into early learning and create a spark for STEM throughout Wales.

“To highlight this we have worked diligently with schools to develop and deliver an education programme that enhances and enriches the STEM curriculum and enthuses and excites pupils from Foundation phase to A level.

“We believe collaboration is key to not only curbing the shortage, but reinvigorating the sector in the years to come.”

Wynne Jones IP

Intellectual property may not be the first profession you consider when discussing STEM.

But with chemistry, biology, physics, and engineering graduates all choosing the industry, it’s evident that scientific skills are not just relevant, but essential to success in this profession.


Dr Nation believes that diversifying STEM career options and assessing business needs is crucial to attracting talent and tackling the STEM skills shortage.

Many STEM graduates may feel limited in their career options if the laboratory or research isn’t for them, however intellectual property gives them a chance to diversify and think outside the box to protect the trademarks, patents, and designs of products and companies worldwide.

Wynne Jones IP, which has offices in Cardiff, Cheltenham, London, and Telford, specialises in advising across all areas of intellectual property, with a particular focus on the STEM sector.

And when it comes to attracting STEM graduates and supporting them to achieve their potential, the firm is ahead of the curve.

It has established its own highly successful four-year training academy, which educates and shapes trainees into well-rounded, industry leading attorneys. This has seen success year on year, and commercial director Dr Jayne Nation believes it offers an exciting alternative for those looking to pursue STEM careers.

Dr Nation believes that diversifying STEM career options and assessing business needs is crucial to attracting talent and tackling the STEM skills shortage.

She said: “STEM careers not only allow you to achieve something truly worthwhile personally, they enable you to make a profound difference to vast industries and potentially change the lives of millions of people worldwide.

“It is for this reason that the STEM skills shortage is incredibly concerning and could prove to be catastrophic if it is not addressed quickly.

“From my perspective there are a number of ideas which could tackle this. Developing business and education task forces in major, strategically targeted tech sectors, could identify current business technology needs and skills that aren’t being met and which are in great demand. This could anticipate future business requirements and tech trends to ensure people have the relevant skills.

“Intervention at an educational level is also vital, and as such establishing combined academic and vocational training packages for students over 18 could really provide a boost.

“These could cover both academic training in STEM, alongside tech training within a job, that will directly fill the UK priority skills gaps. If they were run as a joint programme, combining academic and vocational learning, they could become a training experience of prestige that is sought after.

“It could also be beneficial to look at reward and remuneration of STEM jobs in key areas where there are big skill gaps. Businesses could offer bursaries, enhanced salaries and other rewards to attract people into these STEM roles in targeted sectors.”

Sony UK TEC hosts first national Japan -UK Season of Culture event

By Raspberry Jim,

Thirty Bridgend pupils, and over 600 Sony UK Technology Centre staff have come together to launch the Japan -UK Season of Culture.

Sony UK TEC’s Pencoed site has hosted the first major event in Wales aimed at celebrating the achievements of the UK and Japan and showcasing their shared artistic, economic, cultural, and technological successes.

The Welsh event, organised by the Embassy of Japan in the UK and Sony, is part of a wider global cultural exchange planned between the two nations in 2019/20, which will see Japan host the Rugby World Cup this year and the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.

As part of the global celebration, Sony UK TEC, whose headquarters are in Japan, welcomed children from Trelales Primary School, along with Keith Dunn OBE the Honorary Consul for Japan in Wales.

During the day attendees discovered more about traditional and modern elements of Japan thanks to special guest speaker Mr Dunn OBE, and Sony UK TEC Director of Professional Services, Gerald Kelly.

They were then given a tour of the 30,000 m² state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, which produces HD broadcast cameras and the latest 4K camera technology for worldwide distribution.

Each group then learned more about creating traditional origami and Japanese calligraphy art, and took part in a Yukata dressing up activity, with a Japanese language workshop ending the day.

Mr Kelly at Sony UK TEC said this landmark event was vital when it came to deepening cultural understanding between the UK and Japan and strengthening beneficial economic links between the two in the future.

He said: “As an organisation which takes pride in its global links with Japan, we are thrilled to have hosted the first annual Japan-UK Season of Culture event here at Sony UK TEC., which is also the first event of its kind in Wales.

“Japan’s rich culture and ethos is highly influential in the way that we operate as a manufacturing facility here in Pencoed, and we believe that by adopting its innovative and progressive vision we have achieved greater global success.

“Ultimately, we believe that the values entrenched in Japan’s technology, arts, and culture could be significantly beneficial to us here in the UK, and we are delighted to be playing a role in strengthening these links.

“We’d like to thank everyone who attended our season of culture event and made it such a success. We are confident that everyone learned a great deal and this was an effective way to kickstart this campaign.”

Mr Dunn OBE, Honorary Consul for Japan in Wales said: “I’d like to congratulate Sony UK TEC and its team on an excellent event.

“The Educational visit as part of the UK-Japan Season of Culture was first class and I compliment all concerned.”

Last call for ‘driven and innovative’ people to join Sony UK TEC apprenticeship

By Raspberry Jim,

Driven and passionate individuals are getting a last chance to apply for an apprenticeship at one of Wales’s leading manufacturers, Sony UK Technology Centre.

The Pencoed-based facility, which produces HD broadcast and 4K cameras for worldwide distribution, is searching for the latest round of talented applicants to join its Sony UK TEC Apprenticeship scheme.

The scheme, which is now in its sixth consecutive year, officially launched on February 1st with applicants encouraged to apply before the February 28th closing date this week.

The industry-leading initiative supports career-driven individuals to further their education and gain qualifications throughout the scheme. Their full studies are driven and coordinated by the company’s onsite academy, all while the apprentices gain invaluable working experience at one of the world’s leading manufacturing sites.

During the four-year scheme apprentices will get the opportunity to work across a variety of departments, including Software Engineering, Production Engineering, and Development Engineering and Robotics.

As part of their apprenticeship they will help to develop internationally renowned products including 4K broadcast technology, the Raspberry Pi, smart office solution Nimway, and smart city technology. So far over 30 apprentices have taken part in the successful internal scheme since its inception, with all participants praising its diverse offering.

Cecilia Fritz, Head of HR and Training Strategy said an apprenticeship with Sony UK TEC opens up a “vast wealth” of opportunity for any student looking to advance and develop their career.

She said: “We are looking for innovative, driven and passionate people to sign up to our industry- leading apprenticeship scheme once again this year.

“Apprenticeships really are a great pathway to developing your career, and we believe Sony UK TEC offers one of the best around.

“Our apprenticeship is a thorough and diverse programme which offers new starters an in-depth insight into all aspects of Sony UK TEC’s highly successful engineering operation.

“We believe that this varied approach creates highly skilled and well-rounded team players and opens up a vast wealth of opportunities to them within the industry as a result. At the end of their four years, they are fully equipped with the ability, and knowledge, to become some of the sector’s brightest engineering talents and to drive genuine progression in the fields of technology and manufacturing.

“As a globally recognised brand, we are passionate about creating innovative products which enhance millions of lives worldwide, and we’re looking for apprentices who are equally excited about helping us achieve that goal.”

To apply for a place in the Sony UK TEC Apprenticeship scheme applicants must have a minimum of five GCSEs, including a B or above in Maths, and Cs or above in Science and English.

Applications close at midnight on February 28 th , with assessments due to take place on March 21st.

To apply visit Sony UK TEC’s website: http://www.sonypencoed.co.uk/apprenticeship-programme-1/

Welsh manufacturing leader Sony UK TEC produces “next generation” 4K cameras

By Raspberry Jim,

The next generations of world-renowned 4K cameras and equipment are set to be manufactured at Wales’s leading facility Sony UK Technology Centre.

The innovative new higher specification HDC3170 and HDC3500 broadcast camera models are now being manufactured and shipped from the Pencoed-based site.

Both new cameras, which will be utilised in some of the world’s leading sporting, news, and entertainment events, will support premium HDR picture quality, utilise a higher frame rate than previous models, and are backwards compatible with old camera control unit models.

Alongside these, Sony UK TEC’s expert production team is also set to manufacture the new Triax Camera Control Unit, HDCU3170, which will build on the capabilities of the previous model launched earlier this year.

In total, the Welsh manufacturing site will oversee the creation of two new 4K cameras and seven additional pieces of supporting camera equipment, which will then be shipped to customers worldwide.

Sony UK TEC was chosen as the only manufacturer outside of Japan to undertake the prestigious project, thanks to its success in manufacturing the previous 4k last year.

Since November 2017, it has gone on to produce 404 4K camera units from its state-of-the-art site, and even configured, upgraded, tested and sent 371 4K camera systems to Russia earlier this year to be used during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

On Sony UK TEC’s latest 4K launch, director of professional services Gerald Kelly said it was an honour to be selected to manufacture the latest generation of 4K technology.

He said: “We are delighted to once again be playing such a vital role in the creation of the next generation of 4K broadcast camera technology, which places us at the forefront of manufacturing innovation and excellence globally.

“We feel that our selection for this project underlines the world-leading capabilities of our expert teams and state-of-the-art facility here in Pencoed and we look forward to supporting its continued growth and success over the coming years.

“The decision to manufacture the latest 4K models and peripherals here also reinforces Wales’s reputation as a manufacturing leader on the global stage, which we hope will translate into greater investment and growing economic prosperity across the nation in the future.”

February – was the month that…

By Raspberry Jim,

…flew by!

After the world’s longest January, it seems like February has whizzed by faster than Raspberry Jim on rollerskates.

With only a few short weeks to cram in our usual busy schedules, our jammers spent the month out and about, playing Cupid, and consuming far too much sugar.

Here’s what we got up to… … Continue reading

Manufacturing leader Sony UK TEC searches for graduate and apprentice talents

By Raspberry Jim,

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Engineers of the future are getting the chance to join one of the world’s leading manufacturing facilities.

Sony UK Technology Centre is launching its graduate and apprentice recruitment schemes for a fourth consecutive year with applicants able to apply online or through a graduate career link on Twitter.

The programme will see successful applicants join the international brand’s award-winning Welsh site, based in Pencoed.

The facility, based just off the M4, has developed a world-renowned reputation thanks to its high-end broadcast and professional camera manufacturing operation, along with its contract manufacturing business which has created industry-leading products including the Raspberry Pi.

Graduates and apprentices applying to the schemes will get the opportunity to develop their skills across Sony UK TEC’s diverse professional facility, which enables them to experience all the challenges and rewards of working in a modern manufacturing facility.

As part of their role they will utilize skills including technical, creative, and problem solving in a bid to revolutionise the facility’s existing manufacturing processes.

During the schemes they will work across Sony UK TEC’s core broadcast camera manufacturing business, which sees thousands of high specification cameras produced at the site and shipped around the world annually. These are then utilised across the film making industry, sporting events, and live news coverage.

Alongside this they will also develop experience in the facility’s highly successful contract manufacturing business, which combines the skill of Sony UK TEC’s team players with its state-of-the-art on-site capabilities to create products for clients around the world.

Over the past three years 13 graduates have successfully undertaken the programme going on to specialise in various areas across the business. The apprenticeship programme is well established having run since 1978, however it has run continually in its current format since 2010 with 18 apprentices currently on site.

Director of Professional Services at Sony UK TEC Gerald Kelly said the training programmes would create more well-rounded and knowledgeable professionals in the long-term.

He said: “We are extremely excited to be starting the search for the next generation of engineers and business leaders at Sony UK TEC.

“Our graduate scheme offers a flexible and varied experience developing your skills at one of the leading manufacturing facilities in the world. While our four-year apprentice scheme sets you on the path to becoming an industry-leading engineer. Through both you’ll get the chance to learn from our world-renown team of engineers, technicians, and business leaders to get first-hand experience of best practice and develop industry-leading techniques.

“We look forward to receiving applications and welcoming the leaders of the future to Sony UK TEC this year.”

Entry requirement for the graduate scheme is a 2:1 degree in any subject, along with a passion for creating leading manufacturing solutions and the drive to continuously exceed industry standards. Entry requirements for the apprentice scheme are five GCSEs, including a B or above in Maths, and Cs or above in Science and English or equivalent. For more information visit http://www.sonypencoed.co.uk/careers/

Top technology you didn’t know was made here in Wales

By Raspberry Jim,

7

This summer Sony UK Technology Centre (UK TEC) 4K cameras will be beaming the World Cup in Russia into homes worldwide.

However, many of those tuning in will be unaware that these state-of-the-art cameras have been manufactured right here in Wales.

Wales is developing a globally renowned reputation for technological, engineering and manufacturing innovation.

Medical technology, advances in computer manufacturing, and aerospace engineering, are just some of the areas which the nation is revolutionising.

To celebrate St David’s Day, we are taking a look at some of the groundbreaking products which you might not realise were created right here in Wales.

 

High-tech Broadcast and professional cameras
Ever watched Wimbledon? The Ryder Cup? Or the last football World Cup?

Then chances are you’ve seen a Sony UK TEC camera in action!

The Pencoed-based factory produces thousands of professional and broadcast cameras for use across outdoor sporting events, news studios and international events annually.

Last year the factory pushed the boundaries one again by becoming the only Sony factory outside of Japan to begin manufacturing the latest in broadcast technology, the 4K camera, HDC-4300.

This next generation technology provides high definition viewing at 4,000 times the definition of standard television viewing.

The latest 4K models, which have won an award at the 68th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards, are shipped from the Pencoed factory to sites around the world.

 

Raspberry Pi
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Raspberry Pi, the single board computer which has taken the world by storm, is manufactured by Sony UK TEC.

The credit card sized computer, which aims to encourage computer programming skills among school-aged children, reached its 10 million manufacturing milestone in Pencoed last year.

Named Britain’s best-selling computer, it was originally manufactured in China, but founder Eben Upton moved production to Sony UK TEC in 2012 due to the facilities’ capacity and innovative automated processes.

The facility was first approached to make 10,000 of the low-cost computers annually.  However, demand quickly soared and Sony UK TEC went on to produce one million in its first year, and just last summer the site celebrated manufacturing 10 million Raspberry Pi computers in Wales.

 

Telensa

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Telensa is an award-winning wireless street lighting control company based near Cambridge.

Its wireless node devices plug into energy-efficient LED street lights to create a wireless network and a map-based central application to manage them.

The smart device controls energy efficiency, daylight savings settings and other day to day considerations which make the lighting more cost effective and practical.

The company moved production to Sony UK TEC from Malaysia last year with the Welsh site to become its sole manufacturer.

Telensa’s devices have been deployed in over 40 cities across the UK, with five in Wales, with a global footprint of over one million wireless streetlight controllers, including one-in-ten of the UK’s streetlights.

 

LED Roadway Lighting

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LED Roadway Lighting is a tenant at Sony UK TEC creating sustainable, energy efficient lighting solutions.

Their sustainable LED lights provide long-term savings and ongoing maintenance savings, reduce energy consumption, and light pollution, while providing 60% energy savings compared to traditional street lighting.

Sony UK TEC’s team players have worked with the LED Roadway team to help manufacture these sustainable lighting solutions in Wales since 2010.

 

CyDen

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CyDen creates IPL (intense pulsed light) hair removal products for use in the home.

This type of technology converts light energy into heat to prevent the hair follicle from growing any further and gradually reduce the need for shaving.

The company distributes its products to 11 international markets and has recently opened its first overseas office in Tokyo.

 

 

Inspiring Sony UK TEC engineer claims three top tech awards

By Raspberry Jim,

A Sony UK Technology Centre engineer who is helping to “inspire a new generation of female tech talent” has claimed three prestigious national awards.

Jessica Leigh Jones received top honours in the Manufacturer Top 100, TechWomen50, and Women of the Future 2017 Awards.

The engineer, who is based at the leading manufacturing facility in Pencoed, claimed the Technology and Digital award at the Women of the Future Awards, which recognises women making an impact across a diverse range of professional sectors.

She was also recognised among the most exemplary 20 in the prestigious Manufacturer Top 100 list for 2017. This celebrates the invaluable contribution made by innovative and passionate individuals in the manufacturing sector.

Finally, she was named among the winners of the TechWomen50 Awards, following a public vote. These awards highlight the best female tech talent in the country, along with the impact of champions, companies and networks that are leading the way for future generations.

Ms Leigh Jones was recognised thanks to her passion and dedication to advancing manufacturing and technology standards across the UK.

She has demonstrated this through her role at Sony UK TEC, which produces thousands of HD and 4K broadcast and professional camera systems each year, where she is a part of the facility’s landmark Advanced Manufacturing Research Operations Centre (AMROC) team. This facility helps to develop ground-breaking manufacturing processes of the future, focussing on the fourth generation of manufacturing, industry 4.0.

On her recognition, she said: “It’s humbling to have been recognised among some of the country’s most inspirational female tech talents, who are truly making a difference and driving progress in the UK’s tech industry.

“These awards are vital in recognising the unparalleled contribution women are making across technology-based professions, and supporting their limitless potential for driving innovation and change in the future.

“I am delighted to have won these awards, and cannot thank my peers throughout the industry, and those who voted for me, enough.

“These awards particularly resonate with me personally, as they link in with our ethos at Sony UK TEC. As a facility we champion continuous innovation and are always striving for excellence, something which I feel is reflected wholeheartedly through these awards.”

Bridgend hospital staff ‘delighted’ with Sony UK TEC donation

By Raspberry Jim,

Bridgend hospital staff are “beyond delighted” with a generous Sony UK Technology Centre donation supporting a unit caring for seriously ill children this Christmas.

Staff at the Princess of Wales Hospital have praised the Pencoed-based manufacturing facility for enabling the refurbishment of its specialist nurse-led area.

Funding from Sony UK TEC, which has donated over £60,000 to the hospital over the past five years, will help to enhance the overall hospital experience for children who are facing serious health issues, and require urgent nurse-led care at the Children’s Ward.

Thanks to their contribution the area has received a much-needed makeover, along with new furnishings, which will create a welcoming environment for young people receiving a higher-level of nursing care over the festive season.

The manufacturing facility’s contribution, along with the unit’s refurbishment, was marked with a special plaque, which was unveiled by Sony UK TEC managing director Steve Dalton OBE.

They were joined by special guests 2011 Rugby World Cup and British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton, along with BBC Wales Sports Personality of 2017 and Player of the Series Jonathan Davies.

Steve Dalton OBE said it was a privilege to offer ongoing support to this “hugely beneficial” facility. He said: “As a business, which prides itself on supporting the local community, it is our pleasure to be able to contribute to the improvement of this fantastic unit.

“This has the potential to make such an immense difference to children across south Wales, and their families, so we are delighted to have supported the project.

“Many valued staff members at Sony UK TEC have had family members who have relied on the specialist care at the Princess of Wales Hospital, therefore all of our team are very passionate and committed to backing their great work.

“We look forward to supporting its progress in the future.”

Sony UK TEC’s determined team have undertaken a variety of charity events in a bid to support the specialist area’s fundraising efforts.

These have included a charity football match at Cardiff City Football Club, a charity golf day at the Royal Porthcawl Golf Course; a 300 mile bike ride from north to south Wales; cake sales, and individual fundraising campaigns undertaken by its team players.

Sony UK TEC has supported the hospital as its adopted charity for the past five years, raising over £60,000 towards specialist equipment and projects, including the refurbishment of the playroom at the Children’s Ward in 2015, the purchase of three Vapotherm machines that help babies and children with breathing difficulties. Additional donations have included hand-held pulse oximeters, drip stands and other pieces of equipment.

Eirlys Thomas, ABMU Head of Nursing for Children’s Services said: “Fundraising requires a great deal of commitment and hard work and we are all extremely grateful to the staff of Sony for their kind donations and their support in the refurbishment of the four-bed bay within the ward area.

“This has improved the environment greatly, providing cupboards for storage and decorating the area in a way that is suitable for all age groups. On behalf of all the children and staff at the Princess of Wales Hospital I would like to say a big thank you and wish them all a very happy Christmas and new year.”

Local engineering student takes ‘trip of a lifetime’ to world-famous CERN facility

By Raspberry Jim,

An engineering apprentice from Pencoed’s Sony UK Technology Centre has been on “the trip of a lifetime” to the world’s most powerful particle accelerator.

Max Rochefort-Shugar has visited the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, in Switzerland, which pioneers some of the world’s most advanced research.

As part of his visit to the world-renowned facility, the 20-year-old apprentice from Sony UK TEC had the opportunity to view the anti-particle factory which houses the Large Hadron Collider.

The machine is the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider which allows physicists to test the predictions of different theories of particle physics.

As a budding engineer, the Merthyr College student was “blown away” by this, with experts at the facility also giving him an insight into the physics behind particle accelerators.

He said: “It was an absolutely unforgettable experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed.

“It was fascinating to see the Physics concepts I had learned at school being applied as part of the ongoing research at CERN.

“The work that I saw being carried out there into asset management software, archive documents, and their use of software to manage the organisation’s operations between departments, will also be highly beneficial as part of my apprenticeship with Sony UK TEC.

“CERN research the unexplored areas of the physical world, the visit has inspired me to continue to ask questions, explore new concepts, be curious about why things are the way they are, and to think differently. There can be multiple solutions to a problem and it’s important to look at things from different angles.”

Mr Rochefort-Shugar was chosen to take part in the research trip after joining Sony UK TEC, in Pencoed, as an apprentice electrical and software engineer 10 months ago.

Mr Rochefort-Shugar is one of 11 apprentices undergoing training at the facility, which produces thousands of HD broadcast and professional cameras for global distribution annually, including the latest 4K models.

Sony UK TEC director of professional services Gerald Kelly said that the facility had a responsibility to inspire the next generation of technologically literate employees.

He said: “As a factory which is invested in ensuring the continued success of the STEM sector in Wales, we feel it is essential to help nurture talent and develop the skills of tomorrow’s workforce.

“Our apprenticeship programme gives our people the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in a global manufacturing facility alongside some of the most highly-skilled teams in the world.

“Here they can see products going through every step of the manufacturing process from creation to distribution – so they gain a really thorough understanding of what the sector consists of, and it’s all under one roof.

“As a socially responsible business, we feel it is our duty to inspire tomorrow’s engineers with trips such as this to the CERN facility. We hope that Max and the others who attended will bring back some innovative ideas from their visit, which they can apply throughout the Welsh engineering industry.”

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