Ellen Milne

Ellen Milne

Maintenance and Operations Engineering Technician

Ellen’s job title is Electromechanical Technician at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research)

What I do

I always tell people that I fix things! I work with electrical components and electronics. At the moment, I specialise in radio frequency amplifiers. I maintain the amplifiers to make sure they’re running well and doing what they need to be doing.  

At CERN, we do experiments to try to understand the fundamental structure of the particles that make up everything around us. In my section in– amplifiers and couplers – we help the particles that are being accelerated in the 27km of underground tunnels along their way, by taking a very small signal and increasing its amplitude so that the beam is accelerated or changes position.

How I became a technician

A typical day in my
working life

I come in every day and begin by checking my emails and seeing what equipment needs attention. I’m also working on an amplifier on another site, so I have to visit that and make sure it is still working okay. Sometimes I need to build and test spare components. There are three senior technicians here and I am paired with one of them; he advises me on what needs doing. 

A little more about
my everyday role

What I love most about my job

There are a lot of things I love. I love the feeling of achieving something and surprising myself with my strengths and abilities. You are always working on different projects and so that means you are constantly learning too.

The best bits about working in a team

I work in a team of five and we all get on well and help each other out. I like the fact that everyone in the team is so different, and it’s great finding out more about them, like their hobbies and families. I also like that we’re all from different countries.

The most exciting thing I’ve achieved so far in my job

I’m proud of the recognition I’ve got for doing well in my job. During my apprenticeship, I won two awards for Apprentice of the Year, which felt great. I like that other people are interested in what I do and I’m very proud of what I have achieved.

The next steps in my career journey

I’m involved in a lot of outreach projects with kids and seeing their reactions to science is so great. I’d like to do more of this – perhaps I could start an outreach company that helps young people get into STEM.

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