Award from cosmonaut blasts off apprentice’s career

Award from cosmonaut blasts off apprentice’s career

An apprentice laboratory technician is aiming for the stars after he was presented with the Institute of Science and Technology’s Outstanding Apprentice by Britain’s first cosmonaut Helen Sharman.

Helen Sharman hit the headlines in 1991 when the former Mars chocolate factory chemist won the chance to become the first British citizen in outer space after she answered a radio advert asking for an ‘astronaut, no experience needed’.

On September 18th, the 56-year-old propelled Harrison Barnett’s scientific career by awarding his outstanding efforts at Trafford College and the University of Salford’s laboratories, in the only award of its kind in the country.

Harrison, 20, from Urmston said: “When my boss told me about who was presenting me the award I was just overwhelmed. It’s not every day you shake hands with a person like that!

“She was able to tell me the path of life she went on, her degree and about becoming a cosmonaut. I’m looking into doing a degree with my workplace next year in chemistry, so if any opportunity opens up like that I will pounce on it!"

Harrison is studying a Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities (LATA) at Trafford College while also learning on the job, supporting classes at the School of Science, Engineering and Environment at the University of Salford. The second year apprentice preps and maintains materials and equipment as well as supports students’ learning and development.

Technician Manager Helen Bradshaw said: “Harrison was put forward because of his enthusiasm and passion for science, how he has applied himself to learning and how he has become integrated as a valuable member of the technical team, developing a comprehensive skill set that will set him onto a future scientific career.

“We are incredibly proud of his achievement.”

Harrison received a year's membership of the Institute of Science and Technology, of which Sharman is president.

*Photo credit: Mr Keith Barber CPAGD, FIScT, LR