Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC255119
Location Didcot See on Map
Salary £25198 - £27390
Date Posted 14 September 2020
Grade UKRI-Band C
Contract Type Open Ended
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 11 October 2020
Interview Date

Brief Description

Salary: £25,198 - £27,390 (Pro-rata for Part-time)
Grade: UKRI C (Shift/On-Call allowance applies in addition where relevant)
Contract Type: Open-Ended
Hours: Full Time/Part Time (Minimum 30 hours)
Closing Date: 11th October 2020


The UK has invested £99m in the National Satellite Test Facility, in construction at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Harwell. This facility will provide a world class set of co-located facilities for the assembly, integration and testing of space payloads and satellites. The facility will have the capability to conduct Vibration, Acoustic, Thermal, Pyro shock, Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and antennae testing for payloads up to 7 tonnes within clean room conditions.

This new investment adds to the existing facilities operated by RAL Space department, part of Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), within UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The NSTF is currently in the early construction phase, anticipated to finish construction in 2020, and moving into facility commissioning in 2020/21. The operation of both the new and existing environmental test facilities are the responsibility of the Environmental Test Division, in order to support the transition to operations of the new facilities, the division needs to expand significantly.

Job Description

The role of junior test operator will be to operate testing in Thermal Vacuum Testing Groups. There will be a range of test activities conducted in our existing and future facilities and the role of junior test operator will be to work under the direction and supervision of a principal test engineer or test operator for test activities. As the training develops, more autonomy will be given and less direct supervision, this may mean acting as the responsible test operator on smaller, less complex testing, with on-call, or accessible supervision.

During the test campaigns there will be the requirement for 24hr shift working, the current practice is a 12 hour shift pattern, for which additional payment would be made.

We are expecting to operate the majority of the facilities to ECSS-Q-ST-20-07C. There is a requirement that the test facilities are operated and maintained within the overall quality requirements of the Environmental Test Facilities. Through the initial period, the junior test operator will be introduced to these procedures, supervised initially, then given increasing autonomy to perform the activities.

There would be opportunities when competence is assessed as suitable for working as a test operator (band D). The speed of demonstration of competence will depend on the skills, experience of the individual adopting the post and their ability to learn and adopt the necessary experience and understanding.

The duties and responsibilities are as follows:

  • Initial responsibilities in engaging and following procedures and practices
  • Initial responsibilities in engaging with technical equipment, understanding the operation and maintenance required
  • Initial responsibility for preparing and conducting the tests, under the supervision of a test operator
  • Support the maintenance of the technical performance envelope of the equipment
  • Support the maintenance of the test equipment
  • Support the calibration of the test equipment
  • Responsible for the safe operation of the equipment
  • Following Health and Safety standards, STFC codes & policies
  • Work under and engage with risk assessments for facilities as well as specific test campaigns
  • Train in and follow the operational procedures relevant to the equipment.

Personal Skills and Attributes:

  • Ability to listen to and follow technical instructions, ability to articulate when uncertain of the instruction
  • Ability to follow and maintain structured documentation and support others to follow procedures
  • Excellent communication skills both written and verbal
  • Keeping a strong customer focus within the bounds of the contracted service
  • Responsible approach to health and safety management
  • Dedication, self-motivation, positive attitude, fulfilling commitments
  • Able to multi-task and prioritise against a heavy work load and achieve demanding targets.

Contacts and Communication

The Junior test Operator may report to one of the Principal Test Engineers or Test Operators (dependant on line management structure at the time). Under the test campaign they would work under the direction of the principal test engineer for the duration of the test.

Key contacts and communications will be with:

  • Other Test Operators and Test engineers in training within ETD (TVAC, Dynamics, EMC and Antennae, Infrastructure)
  • Quality Assurance Function
  • Customers at testing activity under the direction of the Principal Test Engineer
  • Safety Function within RAL Space.

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world.

Criteria for shortlisting (S) or Interview (I) or both (S&I)


  • Demonstration of technical competence in a related field (S&I)
  • Demonstration of the ability to quickly understand technical systems (I)
  • Ability to support required day/night shifts and weekends (S&I)
  • Ability to follow written procedures. (S&I)


  • Broad technical understanding of test techniques including the typical technologies used in operation (S&I)
  • Experience of working under defined quality assurance practices would be a significant advantage (S&I)
  • Operational experience in a related field would be a significant advantage (S&I)
  • Experience working with cleanrooms (S&I)
  • Technical understanding of the technologies used in the specific testing environment would be a significant advantage (S&I)
  • Experience working with a quality management system (e.g. ISO 9001 or EN9100) (S&I)
  • Ability to utilize power supplies, digital volt meters, data loggers, oscilloscopes, counters, and stepper motor controllers would be a significant advantage (S&I)
  • Knowledge and utilization experience of pressure transducers, thermocouples, data acquisition systems would be a significant advantage (S&I)
  • Having practical hands on ability to make connectors as well as the ability to use mechanical tools would be a significant advantage (S&I)
  • Knowledge and experience of operating mechanical and electrical test systems would be a significant advantage. (S&I)

UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.

To enable us to hire the very best people we will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.

Employee Benefits

UK Research and Innovation recognises and values employees as individuals and aims to provide a pay and reward package that motivates staff to the best of their ability. The reward and benefit package includes a flexible working scheme, an excellent Defined Benefit pension scheme, 30 days annual leave allowance and a number of other benefits.

Developing Talent

We are committed to developing employees in their roles throughout their career. Learning and development plans enable employees to continue their professional development through training and development opportunities such as e-learning, classroom training and on-the-job experiences. We encourage our employees to share their learning across teams and organisations.

Equal Opportunities

We strive to make decisions based on individual merit and ability. We welcome applications from all sections of the community and promote equality of opportunity in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. As holders of Disability Confident Employer status, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.

As this job does not fulfil the Home Office Code of Practice criterion for obtaining sponsored migrant worker status we will be unable to apply for sponsorship for anyone not eligible to work in the UK. At interview, all shortlisted candidates are required to bring with them identification documents and original documents that prove they hold or can obtain the right to work in the UK. You can check your eligibility here:

Online applications only. Please submit a covering letter and CV ensuring that the IRC reference is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Please note that failure to address the above criteria or submitted without a covering letter may result in your application not being considered.

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