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Australia’s reputation for high quality health standards in food processing and continued strength of mining and construction is resulting in increased workloads in testing laboratories and opening doors for people like Ourimbah local James Stewart.
NSW has the highest number of accredited laboratories in Australia, many of which are based in the Central Coast region, and graduates could find themselves working in a range of disciplines including food and beverages, animal health, manufactured goods, agribusiness, pharmaceuticals and pathology.
James, an Ourimbah local who was home schooled until he was 15, turned to TAFE NSW to undertake a Diploma of Laboratory Technology because of the rich opportunity to turn a personal interest in science into advanced education and a career.
“I had never been to school and had not done the HSC but really enjoyed chemistry and always wanted to work in a laboratory. I wanted to study science in greater depth and look at science for a career option,” James said.
“Whether it was at the open day I initially attended or in the classroom, the TAFE NSW teachers were involved, committed to the students and gave a lot of their time to support me. I learnt a lot in a condensed period of time, which meant I had a head start on my options for a career and further study.”
Employment in the laboratory operations sector is predicted to increase 7.2 per cent between 2018 and 2023 as factors such as higher environmental standards, tight food testing requirements and the ongoing importance of the mining, metallurgy and construction sectors drive demand for technicians.[I]
TAFE NSW teacher Dan Solomon said Diploma of Laboratory Technology graduates gain skills in instrumental and non-instrumental scientific testing to ready students for a career in a laboratory.
“TAFE NSW provides a unique and industry specific learning experience by comprehensively simulating a chemical laboratory environment so students obtain the skills employers look for such as quality control, interpreting and understanding results, workplace health and safety and processing data,” Mr Solomon said.
James is now in his second year studying for a Bachelor of Science with a major in chemistry at university.
“Career wise I am seeking a role in food science, so the skills I have in laboratory techniques can be applied to a range of roles and have also prepared me for university study,” James said.
Current students will continue to study the theory components of the Diploma of Laboratory Techniques at TAFE NSW this term using web conferencing technology. This type of connected learning supports social distancing, while enabling students to progress their studies. Students will be advised of any adjustments for completion of practical exercises and assessment.
To enquire about Laboratory Technology and other science courses on offer at TAFE NSW, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or call 131 601.
Media contact: Andrew Woodcock, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Business Partner, 0409 324 379.
 MSL Laboratory Operations Training Package April 2019 https://ibsa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/MSL-Skills-Forecast-2019.pdf