Valleys learner set for once in a lifetime trip to world famous research centre

A college learner from the south Wales valleys has been given the opportunity of a lifetime to gain hands on experience working at one of the most famous scientific research centres in the world.

Georgia Harkus, a 17-year-old electronics learner from Tonyrefail, will be heading to Switzerland in June to spend two years working at the renowned European Organization for Nuclear Research, otherwise known as CERN.

Home to the Large Hadron Collider – the multi-billion-pound machine which simulates the moment following the ‘Big Bang’ – CERN is globally renowned for its cutting-edge particle physics research.

Currently in the final year of her Level 3 Diploma in Electronics at Coleg y Cymoedd, Georgia was personally selected to take part in the programme after impressing CERN representatives in interviews. She is set to travel to the centre for an initial visit in March, before moving to Switzerland to begin the work experience programme in June.

The programme at CERN will provide Georgia with the opportunity to gain world-class experience in engineering, working at the forefront of science, as well as the chance to see the Hadron Collider in action up close.

Georgia, who hopes to work in aerospace engineering said:

“I’m really excited to start my placement at CERN. Being selected for the programme has been amazing and will provide me with incredible opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise have had access to. It will provide me with invaluable experience and develop my skills in engineering, helping me to map out my future career. It’ll will be amazing to be immersed at the front of nuclear research and potentially being involved in new scientific discoveries.

“Further opportunities may arise whilst I’m in Switzerland which could set up my career for life. At the end of the experience I hope to move back to the UK and have ambitions to work within aviation for companies such as GE or British Airways.

“As well as working at the centre, I’m looking forward to moving away from home and spending two years in Switzerland, learning a new language, meeting people from a variety of backgrounds and being more independent.”

Georgia will follow in the footsteps of fellow Coleg y Cymoedd learner Victoria Griffiths, who is currently working at CERN as a technician after gaining a place on its Technician Training Experience (TTE) programme in 2017.

Originally studying a Technical Diploma at Coleg y Cymoedd, Victoria was inspired to apply for the paid programme following a trip to CERN as part of her college studies, where she discovered the institution was calling out for talented technicians. Open to individuals with a Technical diploma, the scheme provides successful candidates with the opportunity to work in a range of fields at the cutting edge of technology.