Rory Harris

Case Study: Rory Harris

Rory is a Science Communication placement student with UKRI Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Placement year

Rory studies Physics at the University of Manchester. As part of his degree, he has taken a one year placement with STFC as a science communicator.  He loves science and after finishing his GCSE’s he chose to study Maths, Further Maths and Physics at college.

Communicating science with the public

Rory collaborates with scientists to tell the public about the work they are doing. He has great communication skills and can explain why science is important and what it all means in an easy way.

“My job is to tell everyone all about the great work being done by particle physicists!”

Science communication is very important, a scientist’s work is a lot more useful if everyone knows about it and can understand it too! As part of his job, Rory is also hard-working as he ensures he meets deadlines for news articles and social media updates during his placement.


Whilst studying at university, Rory volunteered at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, giving public tours and answering questions about exhibits.

He really enjoyed doing this and found it was great helping engage people with science. Now, on his placement Rory has helped to create some exhibits for their visitor centre as well!

Mika Shearwood

Case Study: Mika Shearwood

Mika is a Software Engineering Apprentice with the STFC.

Route into software engineering apprentice.

Mika studied maths, further maths and physics at A Level and they knew that university wasn’t the right pathway for them. Mika decided to take a gap year to gain work experience and save money to prepare for the future. During their gap year, they have applied to lots of apprenticeships before being successful at securing  a STFC placement.

I knew for a long time that I wanted to be an apprentice instead of going to university, so I spent a gap year getting work experience

The many roles of software engineers

Every day is different for a software engineer. Sometimes they are writing code, talking to databases, fixing websites and more. These are the types of  task that Mika does during their  apprentice: learning bits of everything.  Mika also gets opportunities to deliver talks to the public about coding or being an apprentice:

I do lots of things, work with lots of lovely people, and there’s always lots of talks, events and news to join in on. With all the stuff going on the word I’d use is ‘exciting’. It creates so many opportunities for me to take if I want to!

Creativity is important

Mika believes that creativity is an important skill for their apprenticeship:

“I am a creative person and I am able to apply this in a lot of ways to my work: designing websites and software for others to use, and my personal favourite of writing and hosting a virtual Python workshop for work experience students”

A passion for media

Mika takes their creativity beyond work and into a lot of hobbies: music and video-making are two of Mika’s favourite hobbies and they can be mixed together for musical theatre which Mika loves to be involved with!

On top of all of these hobbies, Mika still has time for friends and loves to play video games with them.