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TAFE NSW equips students with skills fit for the COVID-19 frontline

TAFE NSW Granville

TAFE NSW equips students with skills fit for the COVID-19 frontline

Picture: TAFE NSW student Buthainah Magaref now works on the front line at Austech medical Laboratory.

As demand for virus testing surges during COVID-19, one frontline worker credits TAFE NSW for landing her a job in this critical industry, which has already seen pathologists conduct more than one million COVID-19 laboratory tests across the country. 

Buthainah Magaref secured a job in a Western Sydney-based Austech Labs straight after graduating with a Diploma of Laboratory Technology (Pathology Testing) immediately after graduating from TAFE NSW Granville in June last year. She is now working on the frontline booking COVID-19 nasal and throat swabs and assisting with diagnosis of coronavirus by testing these samples for the virus.

The Government recently invested in a $2.4 billion health package to support the pathology services industry, which employs more than 25,000 Australians. 

Buthainah said she is putting the skills learnt during her diploma to good use, as work has never been busier during this global pandemic. 

“I’m grateful that TAFE NSW has equipped me with practical skills that have allowed me to walk straight into a job on the frontline and help during a global health crisis such as COVID-19,” Buthainah said. 

“I was prepared for the job because I had plenty of practical training at the TAFE NSW Granville lab facilities and work experience with local private industries as well as NSW Health as part of my studies.” 

“The practical training in the lab facilities at TAFE NSW Granville coupled with work experience at local NSW Health providers developed my confidence significantly.”   

Buthainah lived in Yemen before migrating back to Australia. She said she has always had a passion for helping people and working in the medical industry allowed her to do this. 

The skills Buthainah gained through her studies with TAFE NSW gave her the hands-on skills and knowledge of current industry practice she needed in microbiology and molecular biology that enabled her to seamlessly transition into the workforce as a productive member of the Austech team. 

Jansi John, Senior in charge of Microbiology at Austech Medical Laboratory, said Buthainah’s skills were a great asset to the team. 

“It’s great to have a reliable employee who has the expertise and practical skills to get on with the job during busy periods like what we’ve seen during COVID-19,” Ms John said. 

Dr Freba Olime, Head Teacher in Chemical Technology at TAFE NSW, said Buthainah was a shining example of how TAFE NSW courses produce job-ready graduates to support the growing pathology industry. 

“There has never been a more important time to study chemical technology, which is experiencing a major increase in demand for services during this time,” Dr Olime said. 

“With industry recognised teachers and state of the art lab facilities, our students complete their qualification with highly developed skills and are able to report results in a variety of pathology testing departments including microbiology, hematology, immunohematology, molecular biology, histology and clinical chemistry. These are the types of skills employers are looking for.” 

The Diploma of Laboratory Technology is continuing in Term 2 via connected using web conferencing technology. Modified face-to-face (as per COVID guidelines) learning for practical skills so that they are job ready.  This type of connected learning supports social distancing, while enabling students to progress their studies.   

To find out more about the Chemical Technology courses at TAFE NSW, visit, or call 131 601. 

Media Contact: Jessica Cortis, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Business Partner, 0456 170 211.