Hi Ellen! What do you do as an Electro-mechanical Technician?
I work on different machines, all focused on radio frequency power. They are used to make the particles in the tunnels go faster. A bit like a wave carrying a surfer along. My job is to work these machines and fix them if they break. I work a lot with electricity and electronics, working out where the problem is and then finding a way to solve it.
Why are technicians like you important to your industry?
Without technicians, all of the machines would eventually stop or worse, break without repair. We are one of the many building blocks that go into operating such large and complex machines.
What couldn’t happen without you?
The machines could not operate in a safe way. Also, no one in my team would laugh as much without me.
What led you to choose this job role?
When I left school, I knew that I liked to be challenged physically, mentally and work with my hands. That is what attracted me to being a technician, the hands-on aspect of the work.
What’s the best bit about your job?
Sometimes figuring out a fault can last a few days, so it's rewarding when you finally discover the problem and can provide a working solution.
What skills/ attributes do you normally need to do your job?
Awareness of your surroundings and sharp senses. When working with electricity, it is extremely important to be aware of your surroundings. This is also important for working with machines. One day you could hear or smell something different, which could mean there is a serious problem.
What is your current daily routine like?
My day revolves around my dog if I’m honest. I wake up and take my dog for a walk, have breakfast, and leave for work. I then come home from work and take her for another walk and have lunch. Sometimes my partner is also home and so we have lunch together. In the evenings I try to catch up with university work, which I am doing part-time via The Open University. After that, I will have a nice dinner and watch some Netflix, just like everyone else!
What’s your daily routine in our pandemic 'new normal'?
Now, we are restarting operations so most of my time is spent making sure the machines are working correctly. I am also spending some time as an Outreach Coordinator for Women in Technology at CERN. This has been great as I have always been passionate about this topic and am encouraged to participate in this as well as my normal job role.
What would you say to either a young person thinking about a technical career or a fellow technician?
Go for it! It’s very rewarding watching your skills develop in a technical environment. Initially, your hand skills will most likely be terrible, but that’s fine! Don’t be embarrassed or shy about it, everyone has been through the same experience. It’s a skill just like any other that needs practice. Always ask questions; even if you can’t ask at the time, take a note and ask later.