Sandwich student – Communications Assistant


Internship 1 year Didcot, UK

Job Description


The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest science research organisations. We’re trusted to support, enable and undertake pioneering projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in science and technology.

Each year we offer opportunities to undergraduate sandwich students to gain practical experience, working alongside technical experts at the forefront of scientific research. We offer an invaluable experience with exposure to world class science and technology, and the opportunity to develop working relationships that continue well after your placement has finished.

RAL Space have over 240 staff who work on designing and building instruments for space, analysing data from space instruments, providing facilities for building and testing space instruments, managing space programmes and conducting space research.   RAL Space has significant involvement in over 200 space missions.

RAL Space have an embedded Communications group, who deal with a wide range of engagement from working with the media promoting the work that goes on in the department, to running the outreach programme which includes working with schools and visitors. The work within the communications group involves dealing with many different people and an ability to communicate and get on with others will be very important. 

Communications and engagement activities will include some or all of the following; supporting media and filming visits, guiding visitors and organising visits – some of which will be very high profile; organising displays at RAL and at exhibitions and conferences; assisting staff by improving their presentation materials; editing and updating our intranet web sites; editing content for the external website; creating a variety of display materials, assisting with the social media channels and supporting engagement and outreach activities both on and offsite for schools and members of the public. 

Although the topics and projects undertaken in the department are by their nature technical, a detailed technical or scientific background is not expected. The successful candidate will however, have to work with scientific and technical people, so an appreciation of science and a readiness to learn will be very important.

An ability to simplify complex explanations and then summarise them clearly in good written and spoken English would also be an invaluable asset.

Summary of Key Duties

List of Duties/Work Programme/Responsibilities:

  • assisting with collation and editing of content for a range of multi-media channels such as websites, banner stands, brochures and newsletters
  • supporting the development of RAL Space social media channels, such as twitter and Facebook and liaising with STFC’s social media teams to maximise activity on social media
  • working with our in-house media teams to organise photography and produce materials such as brochures and banner stands
  • contribute to and assist with the development of PR resources for the department
  • writing articles and content for STFC‘s internal communications channels about the work of RAL Space
  • assisting with the organisation of events and visits, liaising and assisting staff with presentations, and guiding visitors around our facilities
  • assisting with media and production company visits, supporting filming and assisting with relevant communication and PR materials for each event
  • supporting the Communications Team with large conferences, exhibitions and events
  • supporting and helping to organise public and schools workshops and events
  • working with STEM Ambassadors and colleagues to develop new resources for engagement activities
  • contribute to and assist with maintaining our in-house metrics and evaluation records
  • assist with the storage and maintenance of visitor centre and engagement resources.

Person Specification

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

Personal skills and attributes:

  • confident communicator; both with internal colleagues and external visitors
  • readiness and willingness to learn
  • willingness to take initiative and confidently work alone, but also have the ability to work supportively in a team.

Position and person requirements


  • good inter-personal skills, happy to communicate with both colleagues and business and industry stakeholders
  • confident to manage own workload and small projects.


  • schools and Public outreach experience
  • previous experience of event or planning
  • experience with website editing, writing and editing articles and social media activity
  • familiarity/proficiency with creative media software such as Photoshop, InDesign and Movie Maker
  • keen attention to detail.

Knowledge and Experience

  • good written and spoken English
  • interest in space science
  • interest in communications
  • interest in public and schools engagement.


  • flair for communications and outreach work
  • working and interacting with the public
  • website editing/updating
  • event planning experience.

Personal skills and qualities

  • readiness to learn
  • ability to work as part of a team and sometimes alone working on own initiative
  • ability to communicate with other people
  • self-motivator
  • reliable
  • good timekeeper.


  • ability and confidence to talk to members of the public
  • good organisational skills
  • initiative to suggest new ideas and carry them out
  • an appreciation of science and the readiness to learn.

The deadline for this position has passed

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