Broad-based training leads to microscopic role

Friday, 20 June 2008

Mandurah Resident, Emma Turner, is now working in the microscopic world of histology after studying Laboratory Operations at Challenger TAFE’s Murdoch Campus.

The 24-year-old always wanted to work in a medical laboratory, but thought the only opportunities available were for University graduates.

“I tried working in IT for a while after school, but it just didn’t interest me, so I re-did Years 11 and 12 and then discovered Challenger TAFE’s Laboratory Operations training at the Murdoch Campus,” she explained.

After thoroughly enjoying an evening class covering histology units, Emma enrolled in the Certificate IV in Laboratory Operations which gave her the broad technical and scientific knowledge needed to take her first step into working in a medical environment.

Emma hadn’t been training for long when a job opportunity at Western Diagnostics in Myaree came up.

“I’ve been working in the histology lab for just over 18 months now, and they’ve been really supportive of me continuing my studies onto the Diploma of Laboratory Techniques by allowing me to work shifts that fit it with my training,” she explained.

“I’ve also found Challenger TAFE’s training really well-paced that made it possible for me to work through tasks and projects whilst also holding down a job, and the lecturing staff are always easily available to help with a query which makes a big difference.”

Emma admits there is something slightly CSI-ish about her working environment with the specimens she processed all telling an enigmatic human tale.

“I think I must have seen an entire human body by now and I’m constantly amazed at the variety of specimens coming through the lab,” she continued

“Even though I’m working in a very scientific and objective environment, there’s still an underlying human side to this work, as every specimen represents a person who’s going through the medical system needing further investigation or treatment for an illness.”

Once Emma completes her Diploma she intends to consolidate her training by continuing to work in histology, but hopes that her additional qualification will lead to an opportunity to move up to a laboratory technician position, and maybe a medical science degree.

“I’d recommend Challenger TAFE’s Laboratory Operations training to anyone who has a general interest in science but isn’t too sure how to get into the right job. The course covers a wide range of skills and allows you to see which areas of laboratory operations interest you, so you can pursue a career in a particular field. I’ve found it a much quicker and easier way to get into work whilst still completing my studies,” she concluded.

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