Institute’s first Animal Technician Apprentices qualify

Institute’s first Animal Technician Apprentices qualify

Institute’s first Animal Technician Apprentices qualify

The Babraham Institute is pleased to announce that our first class of apprentices have successfully completed their training, qualifying as junior animal technicians. Well-trained animal technicians are a vital part of research using animals, by maintaining the health of our animals as well as performing key procedures, technicians ensure that new discoveries are made on the basis of high-quality evidence. Their skill and dedication also helps us to uphold our commitments to perform ethical research and to the 3R’s of animal research.

The class of three apprentices, Jessica, Ben and Shannon, have passed rigorous tests examining both their practical skills and theoretical knowledge. Working with animals in research can be a rewarding role for anyone with an interest in working with animals. The Institute’s Biological Support Unit provides a comprehensive 18-month mentoring and training programme to equip apprentices with essential animal husbandry skills and knowledge of the relevant ethics and legal processes associated with research using animals.

The apprentices were congratulated by Institute Director, Professor Michael Wakelam: “The Institute believes in supporting all kinds of research careers at all levels. We’re thrilled that the apprenticeship programme is helping to attract enthusiastic trainees to an area where new skills and dedication are so desperately needed. I look forward to seeing this programme grow and hope it continues to attract outstanding individuals to support the Institute’s research”

The Institute offers several places for apprentices to train for a Level 2 Diploma in Laboratory Animal Science & Technology and we hope to offer a further five places in the near future. The qualification is provided in partnership with the Institute of Animal Technology, the national body for the training and certification of animal technicians.

Qualified animal technicians provide a vital service for many organisations involved in biological research. Yet currently in the UK there is a critical lack of available skilled technicians to support the world-leading science that happens here. By operating our apprenticeship programme, the Babraham Institute is helping to maintain the high standards of animal care that are required in the UK and that are needed to both minimise harm and deliver high-quality science.

Jessica said: “The apprenticeship was very in-depth, and covered all aspects of animals used in research, from husbandry to the legislation. Gaining first-hand experience has greatly expanded my knowledge and understanding. I'm excited to be pursuing this career and would thoroughly recommend this apprenticeship to others too.”

Ben said: “It was a risk starting from the beginning in a new career at my age but the journey I have been on was worth it. I have learnt so much and am keen to keep learning and developing my skills through my new career.”

Shannon said: “Before I started at the Institute, I knew very little about the animal technician industry. As I progressed through the apprenticeship I found out there was a lot more to it than many people realise. I have gained so much knowledge, particularly about all the legislation that exists to ensure animals are kept at a high standard of welfare, it’s my favourite topic. I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to do the apprenticeship. I can't thank everyone enough for their help and support, it was an amazing way to learn the job and get a qualification.”

One of the Institute’s Trainee Animal Technicians, Alex, was recently interviewed about her work by the IAT. You can read the full interview here to find out more about working at the Biological Support Unit. We have also prepared a brochure offering more information about careers in this area.

Notes to Editors

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Dr Jonathan Lawson, Babraham Institute Communications Manager

About the Babraham Institute
The Babraham Institute receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to undertake world-class life sciences research. Its goal is to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. Research focuses on signalling, gene regulation and the impact of epigenetic regulation at different stages of life. By determining how the body reacts to dietary and environmental stimuli and manages microbial and viral interactions, we aim to improve wellbeing and support healthier ageing.

About research using animals at the Babraham Institute
The Babraham Institute uses animals in its research to understand basic principles of biology, ageing and disease that are typically common to many animal species.
Animals are only used in Babraham Institute research when their use is essential to address a specific scientific goal, which cannot be studied through other means. The main species used are laboratory strains of rodents, with limited numbers of other species. We do not house cats, dogs, horses or primates at the Babraham Research Campus for research purposes.
As a publicly funded research institute, the Babraham Institute is committed to engagement and transparency in all aspects of its research. We are a signatory of the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research.