Advanced Diploma of Laboratory Operations
This qualification covers the skills and knowledge required to supervise laboratory operations within a work area or project team.
Job roles/employment outcomes
The Advanced Diploma of Laboratory Operations offers training in the coordination of day-to-day laboratory operations. 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, choice of appropriate technology and procedures to ensure that products and services meet customer expectations and are provided safely and efficiently in keeping with 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 groupâ€™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 which 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 OHS, 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 and judgemental skills 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.
An example of the work of a laboratory supervisor is given below.
A laboratory supervisor in a large water and sewerage utility company has been a senior technical officer for more than five years. The officer supervises technical personnel in the environmental testing section, monitors the quality of their work, oversees their training and ensures that regulatory and NATA requirements are met. The officer assists with the planning of the sectionâ€™s work program and advises management and customers about test schedules, results and methodology.
This qualification is typically used to develop existing workers to coordinate day-to-day laboratory operations.
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.