National Apprenticeship Week – Jess Metcalfe

I started my Level 6 Laboratory Scientist Apprenticeship in April 2020 after I completed my Level 3 Laboratory Technician Apprenticeship. Since finishing my Level 3 Apprenticeship, I have had 1 year fully qualified as a Trainee Technician.

What are/were your main responsibilities?

Through my previous and current Apprenticeship, I rotated round different areas of the department giving me a range of responsibilities. These include turning on machines within the Flow Cytometry Core Facility, retrieving samples from the Biorepository Core Facility once a week, stocking the tissue culture labs, covering the autoclave, cleaning incubators and waterbath weekly, flushing taps, topping up liquid nitrogen and assisting one of the technicians in the histology lab either writing cassettes or doing some H&E staining.    I have also recently started working within a research group providing technical support and understanding on how research groups work. 

What do/did you enjoy about the apprenticeship?

During my Apprenticeship, I really love the opportunities to work alongside a large group of supportive and valued members of staff who have taught me wide range of techniques, which gave me a lot of variety within my work. Every member of staff that I have had the pleasure of working with has taken a great interest in the Apprenticeship program. This gave me the confidence to be able to ask further questions if I did not get something straightaway but it also made me feel like I had a good support system in place as no one wanted me to fail, so they were more than happy to go back over things as many times as I felt I needed.  

Would you recommend an apprenticeship and why?

Absolutely! By doing an Apprenticeship, you are able to get the vital practical skills that are needed within the workplace by shadowing technicians and academics who have in-depth knowledge about that specific area and techniques. I feel that by being able to perform the essential practical skills it helps you put the theoretical knowledge to use, which enables you to gain a further understanding, so you gain so much more than just a qualification.