Centre for Medicines Discovery (CMD), previously the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), which is part of the Nuffield Department of Medicine (NDM)
Type of Apprenticeship: Level 3 Laboratory Technician
Start date: November 2018
End date: March 2021
Did you go straight into your Apprenticeship from school?
I left school and started temping for around two years in various jobs to gain experience before I started my apprenticeship.
Why did you choose to do an Apprenticeship?
I chose to do an apprenticeship after talking with colleagues at various temp jobs, who recommended it as a good way to advance my education while still earning money. I also decided to do one as it was a great way to experience areas of work that are hard to break into.
How did you find out about your Apprenticeship?
I found out about the apprenticeship from the government apprenticeship website, which I was checking almost daily once I decided to do one.
What have you gained from your Apprenticeship – skills, experience etc.?
From this apprenticeship I have gained many skills, mainly laboratory based, but I also gained skills in dealing with databases and problem solving skills. I also gained a greater knowledge of science and the scientific industry.
What has been your proudest moment so far from doing your Apprenticeship?
My proudest moment was during a period near the middle of my apprenticeship where both members of my team were incapacitated – one was heavily pregnant, and the other had a knee injury and had to take some time off work. I had to look after the lab almost single handedly, which involved keeping the equipment stocked, washing utensils, and handing out deliveries. I managed to keep the lab running smoothly for the return of my other team member.
What do you plan to do next? / What are you doing now?
I’ve been offered a job to continue within the same job role, with the opportunity to expand my skills in the lab and also learn some more administrative skills. I’d like to eventually move into a more dedicated lab role, where I can use the skills I learned throughout my course on a regular basis.
How will your/has your Apprenticeship helped you to achieve this?
Before I started the apprenticeship I had never worked in a lab or studied science beyond GCSE. The apprenticeship taught me the skills and the knowledge I needed to work in this industry and without it I would never had been able to work in a lab even in the most basic job.
What advice would you give a young person who might be thinking about an Apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships are an amazing way to learn new skills, so take advantage of it! You’ll not only learn what you need to do the job, but also have opportunities to develop your knowledge even further. I went from knowing nothing about lab work, to being competent enough to organise and conduct an experiment with little to no supervision.
What advice would you give an employer who is considering employing an Apprentice?
Apprenticeships are not only great opportunities for the apprentice to learn, but for the employer as well. Teach them well and they may even teach you something back. One of the best parts of mine was the openness between me and my mangers where they trusted me enough to ask for advice with issues in the lab. I was able to offer them a new perspective which often helped to fix issues.