A huge congratulations is in order for Science Higher Level Apprentice Sarah Casey who battled it out at the NI WorldSkills Regional Heat on 4th June to be awarded a well-deserved second place.
This was the first WorldSkills NI Regional Heat for Laboratory Technicians and was hosted at Southern Regional College, the Life Sciences Hub for Further Education in Northern Ireland.
The laboratory technician competition is based on real life scenarios in science that demonstrate technical competence in the use of complex instrumentation, laboratory equipment and skills. The competition is designed to reflect the work of a laboratory technician and tests their skills in techniques and procedures to solve practical problems through analysis, tests and measurements while ensuring safe and ethical working practices.
“This regional heat was a fantastic opportunity for higher education students across the sector to showcase their technical and analytical abilities. The competitors have performed exceptionally well under such challenging conditions” said Dr. Asha Jamil, Life Sciences Hub Development Manager at Southern Regional College.
She continued; “Judges have come from a variety of specialist scientific backgrounds from both education and industry across the UK and I am delighted that competitors from NI had this opportunity to demonstrate their range of skills on such a prestigious platform. Judges also commented that they were highly impressed by all the competitors’ technical and analytical skills and their professional approach to this challenging competition.”
Judges were representatives from Middlesex University, Norbrook Laboratories, and also included the current Team UK Laboratory Technician winner, Tonicha Roberts, who is a Forensic Reporting Scientist with Eurofins Forensic Services, UK.
Competitors came from a range of higher education programmes from across the NI sector including Foundation Degrees and Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) programmes. The HLA students study their underpinning Ulster University Foundation Degrees at Southern Regional College (Newry and Portadown campuses) and are employed with Norbrook Laboratories, Randox and Almac.
Sarah Casey, who was awarded second place, is currently a Southern Regional College student completing the Higher Level Apprenticeship in Applied Industrial Sciences (Life Sciences Pathway) in the Randox Science Park in Antrim. Sarah also won Southern Regional College’s Science Competition in January 2019.
The top performing competitors across the UK will now have a nail-biting wait to see if they have scored high enough to qualify for the WorldSkills UK Final at Birmingham’s NEC in November. We wish Sarah the best of luck!