University of Oxford

Apprentice Sensor Engineering Technician-Department of Physics - Advanced (Level 3)

University of Oxford (Employer)

Abingdon and Witney College (Training Provider)

Annual wage £19,568.00
36.5 hours per week Monday to Friday times TBC.
4 years (duration)
19 July 2021(start date)
Engineering Technician (apprenticeship standard)
25 June 2021 (application closing date)
Register interest

Job Description

We have an exciting opportunity for you to start your career at the University of Oxford as an Apprentice Laboratory Technician in the Physics department. You will work as part of a small team of scientists, engineers, and technicians building some of the most exciting machines in science. A very exciting opportunity.


You will work as an Apprentice Sensor Engineering Technician. You will be required to complete a four-year training programme that will cover all aspects of the role and will be delivered through in-house training, as well as day-release or other distance learning methods delivered by Abingdon and Witney College. You will complete the Level 2 Engineering Operative and the Level 3 Engineering Fitter Apprenticeships which are within the sector and you will gain level 2 and 3 qualification.

College attendance and successful completion of these studies is an essential requirement of this Apprenticeship.

The University of Oxford’s Department of Physics is looking for an apprentice to join our flagship microelectronic instrumentation group to be trained in working with silicon chips and using robotic tooling to make electronic connections to them.

You will work as part of a small team of scientists, engineers, and technicians building some of the most exciting machines in science; the detectors for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. You will work closely with our technical team and eventually take on a significant role in the semi-industrial production of parts for these machines.

You will be trained in operating high-tech laboratory and industrial equipment, as well as learning about mechanics and electronics. You will learn how to work with silicon chips, and how to design and build precision tools and parts.

Specifically, the apprentice will be trained in the following:

  • Fabricating accurate metal parts using hand and machine tools
  • Basic electronics
  • Computer Aided Design (CAD)
  • Making precision measurements using a Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM/Metrology)
  • Handling and preparing silicon microchips
  • Working with glues and adhesives
  • Manual and robotic ultrasonic wire bonding (microelectronic interconnects)
  • Working in a cleanroom laboratory environment

The apprentice will join the Oxford Physics Microstructure Detector (OPMD) laboratory team and work with us on the ATLAS, Mu3e, LSST, and Medipix projects as well as R&D for future projects.

For this position we are looking for a committed new team member, who will take on an increasing amount of responsibility throughout their time with us. We believe it would suit a more experienced person looking for a new career direction, or an unusually responsible younger person looking to start working in science. It is highly likely that an apprentice that performs well in this role would be able to continue with the team into the future.

Future Prospects

Potential for long term opportunity for the right person.

Reality Check

Any new person applying for apprenticeship roles where Abingdon and Witney College deliver the training will be required to attend an Apprenticeship Induction Day at Witney or Abingdon campus.

This will consist of a series of initial assessments (required prior to an apprenticeship offer), completion of essential paperwork, the opportunity to find out more about the apprenticeship process, the training included, and a forum for your questions.

As a new apprenticeship applicant, you will only have to undergo this process once.

If you would like to talk to us about the assessments or if you would need any extra support to attend the Induction Day please call us on 01235 216216.

Skills Required


  • The candidate should be able to show they are willing and able to take on significant level of responsibility as we hope they will become a key member of our production team. For example, this could involve being asked to regularly work on high value parts, help produce large number of parts, or work under some time pressure to help meet team deadlines.


  • The candidate should be able to clearly explain themselves in person or in writing, whether to their colleague, suppliers or other members of the department. For example, they should be able to speak to a parts supplier on the telephone in a professional manner, and be able to write a report on work they have undertaken

Aptitude for Training:

  • The candidate must demonstrate that they are able to undertake the training provided as part of the apprenticeship course. For example, that they have previously successfully followed courses or classes where they have learned complex subjects

Careful Working:

  • The candidate must be able to undertake fine, dexterous work in a calm, careful methodical manner with good attention to detail. The candidate should show that they have some aptitude for fine careful work, this could be either work they have undertaken, or a personal project or hobby or craft activity. In our case this often means working with tweezers under a microscope


  • The candidate should be able to convince us that they are enthusiastic about working in a cutting-edge research environment. They should be able to comfortably discuss the aspects of science, technology, or engineering that particularly interest them. 6. Qualifications and Skills: They will be expected to write reports, perform basic checks on measurement data, and eventually operate computer driven machinery

Qualities Required

  • Willingness to learn
  • Excellent work ethic

Qualifications Required

Candidates should have at least maths and English GCSEs at grade 4/C or above, or equivalent and be generally comfortable working with computers, at least to the level of using word processing and other office applications.

Training Provided

Level 2 Engineering Operative Intermediate Apprenticeship Standard, which includes:

  • Level 2 Certificate/Diploma in Engineering. Delivery method: 2 days a week, term time day release at Abingdon Campus, comprised of teaching of both knowledge and practical skills
  • Level 1 Functional Skills in English and maths, if required 
  • End-Point Assessment (EPA)

Successful completion of an End-Point Assessment (EPA) to include:

  • Practical observation 
  • Professional discussion (based around portfolio of evidence)  

Engineering Operatives are predominantly involved in engineering operations which are key to the success of the Manufacturing and Engineering sector allowing employers to grow their business while developing a work force with the relevant skills and knowledge to enhance the sustain the sector.

The role covers a wide range of common and job specific skills sets that can be transferred across the manufacturing engineering industry sectors during the course of their careers. Dependent on the sector that they are employed in there may be subtle differences in terms of composition and application of the job role specific skills and knowledge they will require, however the core skills and knowledge will be the same regardless of the sector/area they work in.

Knowledge and Skills development in line with specific pathway selected for role - more info here:

Off-the-job training will account for at least 20% of an apprentice’s time at work.

Note on successful completion of the level 2 apprenticeship the apprentice will progress to the Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship Engineering Fitter.

Register interest


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