We were commissioned by the Technicians Make It Happen campaign to head to CERN in Geneva, Switzerland – world-famous home of the Large Hadron Collider – and gather some testimonials from young technicians to encourage others who might want to follow a similar career path.
One of our favourite interviewees was Victoria, who works in the vacuum department, testing the pressure inside vacuum chambers. She was a real natural on camera and enormous fun! The shoot was primarily based around a non-scripted interview which covered a whole range of topics which we then built into a four-minute film charting her career journey to CERN. We added to this by filming some documentary footage of some of her daily activities to illustrate key points, and more general shots of the site in action to show the dramatic location.
At school, Victoria struggled to concentrate and didn’t know what she wanted to do – but she did know that she wanted it to be physical. She left her hometown in South Wales to join CERN’s Technician Training Experience. Now she helps to create near-perfect vacuum conditions so the Large Hadron Collider’s particle beam can travel close to the speed of light. “It’s crazy really because I never thought I would leave Wales, and now I have no idea where in the world I will go next.” She says. “My job is really varied – one minute I can be building chambers, so spending the day lifting really heavy equipment and using spanners to tighten flanges; the next I could be fixing an RGA which is really technical, and cleaning small and clean equipment which needs delicate tools.”
Victoria is gaining skills she can use in any industry: “That’s the great thing, the skills that you learn – problem-solving, being organised, being able to communicate with people with different skill-sets and backgrounds to find solutions – are transferable.” Her tip for anyone who wants to follow in her footsteps? “Never doubt yourself and never think that something is out of reach. I mean, I’m from South Wales, I didn’t go to university and I work at CERN. I think it’s important that people don’t box themselves in and that they are brave enough to try. If they don’t try, they will never know where they could end up, and if they fail they fail, they can always try something else!”
The finished film remains one of the most popular on the ‘Technicians Make It Happen’ campaign website, and continues to encourage young people to explore technical career options.