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Laboratory and Science Technician Apprenticeship (Level 3)

A career within the science sector can lead to many opportunities including research and development, product and process development, scientific sales or into a non-scientific career such as IT, finance, HR and marketing.

As a lab technician, you will be working within a laboratory setting, supporting scientists and helping to carry out tests, research and investigations.

What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships combine practical on?the?job training with work related qualifications for those aged 16 or above, living in England.

Apprentices will gain a good technical knowledge base of the sector as a whole and, combined with real, practical, work experience, will gain competency in the workplace and the development of transferable skills.

How much will I earn?

With an apprenticeship you will earn while you learn. You are entitled to the National Minimum Wage. As of 1st October 2016, this is £3.40 an hour for 16 to 18 year olds. This is also the same for apprentices over the age of 19 but in their first year of their apprenticeship.

Who is this Apprenticeship suitable for?

This apprenticeship is suitable for those interested in working in a laboratory setting, supporting scientists and helping to carry out tests, research and investigations. The apprentice will train as a laboratory technician and learn practical scientific skills.

The nature of the work will depend on the employer, but whether working for a pharmaceutical company or a university, the apprentice will most likely be working with a team of scientists and technicians.

What type of work will I do and what qualifications will I gain?

Although apprenticeships will vary depending on your entry level and your employer, you will gain a range of skills from the varying tasks you complete, these could include:

  • Maintain health and safety in a scientific or technical workplace
  • Provide technical advice and guidance for scientific or technical activities
  • Plan scientific or technical sampling and testing activities
  • Carry out complex scientific or technical testing operations
  • Diagnose faults, repair and maintain scientific or technical equipment for workplace activities
  • Maintain and control stocks of all resources, equipment and consumables for scientific or technical activities
  • Measuring, weighing and preparing compounds and solutions for laboratory use
  • Test and evaluate new scientific or technical methods and equipment for learning activities

You will also gain the following qualifications:

  • Knowledge Qualification - Either a BTEC National Diploma in Applied Science or, depending on your existing qualifications, a Level 4 HNC Diploma in Applied Chemistry.
  • Competence Qualification - Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities
  • Employee Rights and Responsibilities
  • Level 2 Functional Skills (unless you already have a GCSE grade C pass or above)
    • Level 2 Functional Skills Maths (NCFE)
    • Level 2 Functional Skills English (NCFE)
    • Level 2 Functional Skills ICT (NCFE)

What skills and qualities will I need for this apprenticeship?

  • Excellent communications skills
  • Willingness to learn and develop your skills and knowledge
  • Ability to work within a team and on own initiative
  • Good practical and technical skills
  • Methodical approach to your work
  • Ability to organise your workload and meet deadlines

Do I need any previous qualifications to start this course?

You will need at least 4 GCSEs at grade C or above, to include English, maths and a science to undertake the National Diploma in Applied Science as your Knowledge Component qualification.

If you have relevant qualifications at a higher level than this, then you may be able to undertake the HNC in Applied Chemistry as your Knowledge Component qualification instead.

How long will this apprenticeship take to complete?

Depending on the level you enter and the employer you work for, an apprenticeship can vary in duration, from one year to four years.

The average duration of this apprenticeship is 24 - 36 months depending on your experience, existing qualifications and work. This will be discussed and confirmed with each individual apprentice after initial advice and guidance and initial assessments are completed.

How will I be assessed?

As an apprentice, you will be assigned an assessor, who will visit you in the workplace to observe the tasks you complete. You will also complete a number of relevant work?related modules at the College. All of which will contribute to the overall success of your apprenticeship.

How does an employer benefit from this apprenticeship?

This apprenticeship has been developed in response to the increasing demand for highly skilled employees in a wide range of organisations and to up skill the existing workforce to meet their skills priorities.

What can I progress onto once I have completed my apprenticeship?

Upon successful completion of your apprenticeship, you could progress onto level 4/5 science related qualifications, which could provide access to a wide range of science related university courses.

Alternatively, you could develop your career through a higher apprenticeship for Life Sciences and Chemical Science Professionals.

Ref: Caroline Lidster