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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