UoC Graduate Destinations – Ross Murray: Senior Radiation Protection Technician at ESRF

Ross graduated in March 2017 from the BSc (Hons) Radiation Protection course. We spoke to him about his new job as a Senior Radiation Protection Technician at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in France.


Ross Murray – Senior Radiation Protection Technician

Where are you from originally?

West Kilbride, North Ayrshire, Scotland


What made you choose the University of Cumbria?

My good friend, former colleague and course-lead Mr Alan Marsh convinced me of the benefits of joining the course in 2012.


Which course did you do at Cumbria?

FdSc Radiation Protection and BSc (Hons) Radiation Protection (Top-up)


Why did you choose your particular course?

Work related and the need to obtain a recognised degree level qualification for possible advancement and full-time employment.


What did you like most about your course?

Learning more about my chosen profession. Meeting new people making friends and finding out more about myself along the way.


Tell me about your career so far; what work experience do you have?

I have worked all over the United Kingdom for 12 years previously as a contractor on both operational and decommissioning nuclear power stations. Have also had a brief stint on Oil and Gas and some land reclamation work.


Did you work while you were studying?

Yes worked throughout all of my study. This helped me to fund the course. It also provided me with the relevant academic qualification required to apply for my new job.


What is your current job title?

Senior Radiation Protection Technician


Who is your employer?

European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF). Grenoble, France


What does your role involve?

Providing safety and radiological advice and assistance to all scientific users, scientists and visitors who come to the facility or work here full-time. Carry out all regulatory radiation checks in and around the facility to ensure everyone who works here is not exposed to ionizing radiation. Checking of all samples which are radioactive being used for experiments and provide training to staff who work here.


How did you find out about your new job role?

I found out by looking on the website and then done some further research through the internet. I also have a lifelong friend who works in a facility next to my place of work so I asked him for his experience and advice on the job and life in France.


Have you always wanted to work in a job like this one?

Since I started contracting in the nuclear industry in the UK I was looking for full-time employment with good career prospects. Doing the degree made me aware of the many other type of facilities and places of work that I could apply my experience and learning in. Science seemed a good place to move towards and I always wanted to see if there were opportunities abroad as I am single with no children, so at 35 was now or never really.


What was the application process for your job like?

Was pretty straightforward as the official language of the facility is English. However the interview was quite intense technically.


How did you prepare for your interview? Any tips for others?

I did the usual, looking on the website of the company and gathering information, and used my course notes to make sure I was well prepared technically. Advice I would give is clearly understand what your job/role will be within the company and focus on the relevant aspects of your study which will be applicable to your daily job as most likely you will be asked specific questions relating to your job in the interview process.


What was the interview process like?

I had two separate interviews one from the Human Resources department about me as a person; what I felt I could offer the company and how I would settle into the life in France and the multi-cultural environment in the work place. They also asked me what I thought my weaknesses were and, if they were to ask colleagues my weak points, what I thought they would say. The second was from my immediate boss and the department head that was very technically challenging as they wanted to test the depth of my knowledge and understanding of what my job would be here and they also gave me a written test which we then discussed in great detail.


Were there any surprises/anything you didn’t expect?

The written test took me by surprise as everything seemed typically French and quite laid back interview wise until they sprung the test on me. Having two men who are worldwide respected in the field of synchrotron radiation and my future bosses grilling you across the table can be quite nerve-racking.


If you had to say one thing to someone aiming to get a job like yours what would it be?

Work hard build experience as you go and don’t let a few knock-backs deter you from achieving your chosen goal.


Thank you Ross!

Kathryn Jones – Careers and Employability Coordinator


Find out more about the careers advice and support available to you on our website

You can also get in touch via careers@cumbria.ac.uk.


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