Ryan Allinson
23 Apr 2024



Ryan is an Electronics Technician within the Synchrotron Section of the Radio Frequency (RF) Group.


He began his career within STFC straight out of GCSEs through the Advanced Engineering Apprenticeship in Electronics. Ryan has recently been awarded a first for his degree and in January 2024, started a new role within the ISIS Diagnostic Group as a Diagnostics Electronics Engineer.

Please could you let us know how your apprenticeship began?

The Advanced Engineering Apprenticeship in Electronics started with a year full-time study at college balanced between academic and practical learning across classrooms and workshops. From the second through to the final year, most of my time was spent conducting onsite placements with a day release for college up to HNC level. Placements allowed for developing competence over a range of electronics and with most taking part within ISIS, it naturally led onto securing a full-time position in the ISIS RF Group.

Did you have a role model that influenced your decision to work in science?

As my dad is an engineer, he was always active with various projects around the house or in the garage. From an early age, I always enjoyed helping him and was fascinated to see how things were put together and work.

When I was approaching the decision at school on what my work experience would be, I wanted to see what he did at work, so I took an electrical work experience placement. Here I was supervised by an apprentice who told me all about apprenticeships, which ultimately was my biggest influence to taking up an engineering apprenticeship the following year.

What were the first steps after your apprenticeship?

I took on an Electronics Technician role and started studying for a BEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at London South Bank University through their Embedded Electronics Systems Design and Development Engineer Degree Apprenticeship. This course provided me with the perfect opportunity to pursue my goals in study, whilst maintaining and developing my early career. Over the duration of this course, I studied one day and performed the duties of my role the other four days.

Please could you tell us more about your current role at ISIS?

Throughout this role, I have gained expertise in a range of areas including the operation, maintenance, and repair of complex integrated systems encompassing electrical, electronic, high voltage (HV), radio frequency (RF), control loops and cooling components. Additionally, I have been involved in manufacturing prototype and operationally ready hardware, contributing to documentation, record-keeping, and engineering drawings. I have also played a role in maintaining spares inventories, handling small order procurement, and establishing effective communication with suppliers. 

As my role has progressed in conjunction with my degree course, I have taken on additional responsibilities such as circuit design in both analogue and digital electronics, engaging in schematic entry and PCB layout design, generating embedded code, and designing mechanical units using 2D and 3D software packages. I have also acquired project management skills, successfully planning and coordinating my own design projects.

As the RF Group provides apprentice placements, I have been involved in supervising apprentices within our section. This has been a rewarding experience to give back to the scheme, as well as supporting the progress of developing apprentices.

What has been the most rewarding experience so far of being at ISIS?

I find ISIS a rewarding place to work as there is flexibility to take a project from concept to commissioning. I find the entire process hugely motivating seeing how I can change an idea to an operational piece of equipment supporting world leading science! 

Another very rewarding experience during my time at ISIS was receiving a Whitworth Scholarship Award. 'The Whitworth Scholarship Awards are all about enabling outstanding engineers, who have excellent academic and practical skills and the qualities needed to succeed in industry, to take an engineering degree-level programme in any engineering discipline.' This supported my motivation through my degree course and now I have completed it, I hope to shortly become a scholar within the society.

What kind of training have you had so far that has proved the most useful?

At the start of my role, I attended the Particle Accelerators Engineers Network and Technician Training. This was a two-day event, with the technician training taking place first and the network conference the following day. The technician training proved valuable to help familiarise myself with technical working on a particle accelerator. It was hugely interesting to obtain an insight of projects taking place across a wide range of engineering disciplines among particle accelerators.

How would you encourage young people considering an apprenticeship in engineering? What words of advice would you offer?

I would strongly recommend engineering and apprenticeships to any young person considering it. As a practical person, I have found the balance of practical and academic work well balanced. In addition, the firsthand experience provided application in context for classroom learning.

I also feel that starting a career through an apprenticeship provided an ideal pathway into a technical career. Collaborating with experienced colleagues quickly built strong fundamentals, boosting my own competence and confidence both professionally and personally.    

Contact: de Laune, Rosie (STFC,RAL,ISIS)