Press release

Apprentice Jake shortlisted for national industry award

UKAEA apprentice Jake Payne, based at Culham Science Centre near Abingdon, is in the running for one of Britain’s top apprenticeship awards.

UKAEA Apprentice, Jake Payne
UKAEA Apprentice, Jake Payne

Jake, from Burford, is on the shortlist for the Institution of Engineering & Technology’s 2015 Apprentice of the Year award. He has beaten off competition from around the country to get down to the last three, and the winner will be named at the IET awards ceremony hosted by Maggie Philbin in London on 18 November.

Jake is in the final year of a four-year apprenticeship at Culham, where he is working alongside some of the world’s leading physicists developing nuclear fusion as a future energy source.

He said:

I became interested in engineering at school. I was always keen to figure out how things worked, and would prise apart electronics at home to understand how they operated. I found I had a knack for problem-solving and fixing devices when they broke.

Now in my apprenticeship at Culham I get to work closely with engineers and scientists on exciting projects. Being part of a large team that is all concentrated on one goal teaches you the responsibility of hitting targets, but it also gives you good management and teamwork skills.

Alongside his apprenticeship, Jake is also a ‘STEM ambassador’, promoting apprenticeships and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers in schools. In recognition for this he was recently chosen to appear at the Royal Institution in London, where he put on an interactive presentation on fusion power to 200 students from around the UK.

Jake is one of many students who have opted for an apprenticeship route into a career, allowing them to earn and learn at the same time. And he already has his sights on helping UKAEA to solve the energy crisis with nuclear fusion.

After my apprenticeship, I hope to continue my education until degree level. Beyond that I’m very interested in developing new technologies – working in a research company helps this, as we’re constantly developing new techniques to solve problems. I’m looking forward to taking a full-time post with the UKAEA at the end of my apprenticeship and from there anything can happen.

For more information please contact Nick Holloway, Media Manager at or on 01235 466232.

Notes to Editors

Culham Apprenticeship Scheme

  • The Culham Apprenticeship Scheme is run by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) in partnership with Abingdon & Witney College.

  • The four-year training programme is based at UKAEA’s research laboratory Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, at Culham Science Centre near Abingdon. Scientists and engineers at Culham operate the European JET fusion experiment and the UK’s own MAST fusion device to study how nuclear fusion – the process that powers the Sun – can be used as a large-scale source of cleaner energy in the power stations of the future.

  • More information:

Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) awards

  • The IET is one of the world’s largest organisations for engineers and technicians. It has nearly 160,000 members in 127 countries around the world.

  • In 2015, the IET provided over £1 million in awards, prizes and scholarships, to celebrate excellence and innovation in the sector and encourage the next generation of engineers and technicians.

  • The IET Apprentice and Technician Awards scheme aims to raise the profile of the good work that apprentices and technicians contribute to engineering businesses.

  • More information: http:/

Published 1 October 2015