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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Ocean and Earth Science apprentices recognised for their hard work

Published: 7 June 2017
OES apprentices
Ocean and Earth Science apprentices, left to right Dan Hill, Matt Beverley-Smith and Aaron Billen.

Matt Beverley-Smith and Aaron Billen have been recognised for successfully completing their apprenticeships at the University of Southampton, based at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton.

The apprentices both work within Ocean and Earth Science (OES) in a range of roles assisting staff and students and studied for a Certificate in Laboratory Technical Skills as well as a Level 3 NVQ in Associated Laboratory Technical Skills. They were awarded unique glass cylinder ‘mugs’, custom-made by the University’s scientific glassblowers, to mark their three years of hard work.

Matt is now a trainee in the rock sectioning geology lab: “It’s a varied job, we support staff and students by preparing samples for practical sessions and also make sure they have what they need for their fieldwork courses such as rock hammers, compasses and protective equipment,” he says.

Aaron is a biology and chemistry laboratory technician supporting teaching staff by setting up practical equipment and assisting researchers. “It’s a busy place,” he says. “Even in the holidays, when the students aren’t here, there’s plenty for us to do. I’ve also taken responsibility for the algae lab and its cultures as I’m interested in that area of work.”

Workshop technician Dan Hill is also about to complete his University apprenticeship. He joined OES after volunteering at the local charity Tools for Self Reliance: “If you need it making or repairing, the workshop will do it, it’s really interesting ‘hands-on’ work in machining, welding, fabrication etc and no two days are the same,” he says. During his apprenticeship Dan has also been studying for a Higher National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering.

Technical Superintendent Stephen Hayward is delighted at their success: “Our apprentices are a great asset to Ocean and Earth Science and I am proud that they have achieved so much and show tremendous promise in their future careers at the University. I also want to thank Nicola Pratt and Kelvin Aylett for the oversight and guidance they have provided during the process.”

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