Ben Hool

Compressed Air and Vacuum Technician

Ben's job title is Apprentice Vacuum Processing Technician at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

What I do

I work in the vacuum laboratory. We get different parts ready so they can be used under vacuum in a research system. We put them through our cleaning process which is designed to remove all gases and molecules from their surfaces so that they work in a vacuum. 

We do leak testing where we test how well the parts seal and then use helium and a leak detector to check if there are any leaks around the seals or joints. We also test for out-gasing, to see how many gases they give off inside the system and how clean they are.

Ben Hool workplace

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How I became a technician

A typical day in my
working life

A little more about
my everyday role

What I love most about my job

The parts that come in for testing will get used on various systems, perhaps even CERN (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland. All sorts of things come in from different sources and can be going anywhere. Even though I play a small part, it’s still exciting to feel part of major research that can help humankind.

The best bits about working in a team

I work in a team of five, plus senior management. They are all great people, and we all get on really well. It makes the job enjoyable. You can bounce ideas off each other and it helps to problem solve. I am working alongside people with a lot more experience; one of my colleagues has been there for over 40 years so he has so much knowledge. There is no shortage of support.

The next steps in my career journey

I want to focus on getting a distinction in my apprenticeship, getting a contract and then seeing from there if I want to do an HNC or whether I want to rise up through the ranks organically and see where it takes me.

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