Laboratory Technician Apprentice
Claire wanted to play the flute professionally, but decided it wasn’t for her after studying at music college for a year. So she moved back home and started looking into apprenticeships.
“I really didn’t want to go to university – because of my A-level choices I wasn’t going to be able to go to university to study science, which would have been the only thing I would have been interested in. So I thought the best thing I could do was get a job and get some training on the job.”
Now she’s at the Sanger Institute, a world-famous science research centre, as a Laboratory Technician Apprentice.
Everyone at the Sanger Institute is working to advance scientific research, with the hope of creating new ideas for human medicine. Claire is a key part of this – she works in the microscopy lab for the Parasites and Microbes department.
“It’s amazing to be part of something that in the future will help people find new cures for diseases. It’s great to be able to help in any small way – by making images here in the lab for the researchers, I get to help them with the next step of their ideas.”
Day-to-day, she could be doing anything from processing samples to make them suitable for microscopy by doing things like freezing them with liquid nitrogen, imaging samples, electron microscopy, laser microscopy or training people. “I didn’t think when I started that I would get so far so quickly – but I have!”
Over 1000 people work at the Sanger Institute, so Claire gets to meet lots of different people every day. All of them are working hard towards the same goal of progressing what we know about human diseases.
But Claire didn’t always know she wanted to work in science. “After music college, I was looking at apprenticeships everywhere, in things like Law, to see if I was interested in them. I also applied to the Army.”
“When I saw this apprenticeship, it was the one that interested me most, and I’m really glad I chose it. Life as a technician can be extremely varied, it is really interesting and I would say that if you can get a job as a technician apprentice it’s even better!”
Claire's career pathway
- 2015 Completed A-levels and left sixth form
- 2015/16 Spent one year at the Royal Northern College of Music to study to become an Orchestral Flautist
- 2016 Moved back to Cambridgeshire and worked in a local pub for a year while looking around at apprenticeships
- 2017 Applied to and got accepted onto a Laboratory Technician apprenticeship with Wellcome Sanger
“The Sanger Institute pledges action to the Technician Commitment to tackle the key challenges affecting technical staff. Technicians provide a diverse range of expertise, underpinning all science and technology activities across the Sanger Institute. All of us at the Sanger Institute recognise the vital role that our technicians play to our organisation's success, and we are committed to improving the recognition of technicians within our Institute and beyond.”
Julia Wilson, Associate Director, Sanger Institute
To read more about technician roles at Sanger Institute please click here.