This qualification covers the skills and knowledge required to supervise laboratory operations within a work area or project team.
Employment outcomes targeted by this qualification include laboratory supervisors, senior technical officers and similar personnel.
Senior Technicians or Laboratory Supervisors are generally responsible for the planning, allocation of tasks, coordination, quality assurance, recording and reporting of laboratory outputs within their section. This requires significant judgement about work sequences, and choice of appropriate technology and procedures to ensure that products and services meet customer expectations and are provided safely and efficiently in keeping with the enterprise business plan. Under broad direction from scientists/medical staff/engineers, the senior technician/supervisor accepts responsibility for the day-to-day operation of his/her work/functional area.
They are often responsible for the effective implementation of operational policies and the technical training of personnel in their work area. They also contribute significantly to the development of these policies through the application of specialised technical knowledge.
The work of laboratory supervisors involves frequent peak periods, multiple and competing demands and frequent interruptions. Immediate decisions are often required. They must be adaptable to deal with the demands brought about by any of a number of causes. For example:
- a range of demanding clients, suppliers or contractors
- changes in technology
- regularly changing priorities.
In the course of their normal work, they:
- plan, allocate and monitor resources for their work area and are responsible for their work group’s outputs
- apply in-depth technical knowledge and skills to deliver the variety of products and services associated with the work area
- explain complex instructions and procedures to others
- define and solve complex problems by investigating, developing and testing alternatives in response to vague or ill-defined information that is not readily accessible and requires selective analysis
- make significant contributions to the development of technical and operational policy and procedures within a function or work area
- liaise with outside organisations, customers, suppliers and contractors on technical matters
- provide technical information to internal and external customers
- often provide workplace training and assessment
- implement, maintain and promote work health and safety (WHS), quality and other compliance requirements and conduct audits
- work under the general direction of laboratory or quality managers, or scientific/medical personnel.
They may also undertake a range of complex technical tasks. For example:
- conduct a wide range of complex and specialised tests
- exercise considerable analytical skills and judgement to determine appropriate methods and procedures from a range of alternatives
- modify methods to cope with non-routine tests and analyses where unusual samples could be involved and/or where the instrumental controls require optimisation
- develop or adapt methods and procedures.
Entrants must have been awarded a Diploma of Laboratory Technology or be able to demonstrate equivalent competency, and have had an appropriate period of relevant employment at an occupational level commensurate with the Diploma of Laboratory Technology.
Training programs for this qualification are suitable to be undertaken as part of a formal training contract with an employer under an Australian Traineeship or Apprenticeship arrangement.