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Science students from Southern Regional College and North West Regional College, in association with Middlesex University, battled it out at the NI WorldSkills Regional Heat for Laboratory Technicians on the 4th June.

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 NI Regional Heat winner was Southern Regional College Newry student, Adam Purvis, who is currently completing the Higher Level Apprenticeship in Applied Industrial Sciences (Chemical Pathway) with Almac in Craigavon.

WorldSkills Laboratory Technician NI Regional Heat Winner, Adam Purvis from Stewartstown, is pictured with Brian Doran, Chief Executive at Southern Regional College. Adam is currently completing the Higher Level Apprenticeship in Applied Industrial Sciences (Chemical Pathway) at Southern Regional College Newry Campus and is employed with Almac in Craigavon. Middle from left: Alejandra Gonzalez (WorldSkills Judge & Biosciences and Microbiology Laboratory Technician, Middlesex University), Tonicha Roberts (WorldSkills Judge & Team UK Laboratory Technician winner) Back from left: Duncan Allardyce (WorldSkills Judge and Associate Lecturer in Biosciences, Middlesex University), Dr. Gerard Rafferty (WorldSkills Judge & Head of Pharmaceutical Research – Norbrook)
WorldSkills Laboratory Technician NI Regional Heat Winner, Adam Purvis from Stewartstown, is pictured with Brian Doran, Chief Executive at Southern Regional College. Adam is currently completing the Higher Level Apprenticeship in Applied Industrial Sciences (Chemical Pathway) at Southern Regional College Newry Campus and is employed with Almac in Craigavon. Middle from left: Alejandra Gonzalez (WorldSkills Judge & Biosciences and Microbiology Laboratory Technician, Middlesex University), Tonicha Roberts (WorldSkills Judge & Team UK Laboratory Technician winner) Back from left: Duncan Allardyce (WorldSkills Judge and Associate Lecturer in Biosciences, Middlesex University), Dr. Gerard Rafferty (WorldSkills Judge & Head of Pharmaceutical Research – Norbrook)

Second place went to Southern Regional College student, Sarah Casey from Dungannon, who is currently completing the Higher Level Apprenticeship in Applied Industrial Sciences (Life Sciences Pathway) with Randox in Crumlin and 3rd place went to North West Regional College student, Suzanne Ramage, who is completing the Foundation Degree in Applied and Medical Sciences.

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.  Laboratory technicians work in diverse settings which include healthcare, industry, research and educational institutions.

“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.

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 all our NI competitors the best of luck.

Check out the Middlesex University website for more information.  WWW.MDX.AC.UK

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