How did you get into Medical Laboratories sector?
I qualified as a Biomedical Scientist in 1995 but rather than head into the NHS Diagnostic Laboratories I went to work in University Research on projects looking at developing molecular methods to determine the link between the HPV group of viruses and gynaecological cancers. Whilst, I loved this type of work, there was a lack of stability and daily life revolved around bidding for further funding. So, in 1997 I took a leap of faith and went to work for CPA (UK) Limited. I am a lifelong “learner” and love developing new skills and as part of my development I joined the Standards Training and Education Team. We were already starting to work with UKAS at that point and I was initially trained as a trainer by the UKAS training department. Then followed the exciting and challenging time of revision of CPA standards to incorporate the initial version of ISO 15189 and delivery of training and workshops to the UK Laboratories and our technical assessors. As the standards were revised and the relationship between UKAS and CPA strengthened, it was only correct to see accreditation to ISO 15189:2012 fall under the auspices of UKAS and so I joined the UKAS family.
What is a ‘normal’ day like for you?
Within Healthcare I wear a number of different hats; I am an Assessment Manager with a caseload of laboratories whose accreditation journeys I manage; I am a trainer delivering ISO 15189:2012 Assessor Training; and since 2019 I have been working part time in the Development Section on 2 projects, so my days vary tremendously. I would also use the all familiar term, “it depends”. If I’m working at home, a normal day usually starts nice and early and I review emails. I often then break, as a typical working Mum, to do the morning breakfast and school run routine and then restart at around 0830. The rest of my day will be spent doing a variety of tasks that could include creating visit plans, discussing scopes of assessment with laboratories and technical assessors, writing and consolidating reports and communicating with to customers. It may also include developing webinar, workshop and learning modules for the development projects and again liaising with key stakeholders in order to progress these. No two days are ever the same and I find the variety stimulating.
What do you enjoy about working for UKAS?
Whilst I have been working for UKAS I have seen it evolve; year on year seeking to improve its performance as an organisation. I have great colleagues who work well to support each other both within and across sections. The role I have is varied and challenging but at UKAS we are all working for the greater good. That helps to give job satisfaction. In addition, UKAS continues to invest in its employees to offer great benefits and with COVID-19 we have seen fantastic commitment from the senior management team to protect all of us but still enable us to deliver market confidence and trust.
Where do you see your career going?
In the last five years, I have driven my career much more heavily towards training both in development and delivery. I would like to be able to further develop these skills to support the on-going training and development of our new assessment managers and technical assessors and externally to help our customers to get the most from their accreditation experiences.
What made you go into training?
As I touched on earlier, a passion for lifelong learning means I have always focussed on training. I am a strong believer that effective training enhances an individual’s career journeys and customer experiences. The better trained both are, the more effective we and our customer organisations can become.
What do you most enjoy about being a Trainer?
Being a Trainer is an exciting role to fulfil; we get a chance to help shape the journeys that customers and members of staff have, be it through their role in UKAS or their accreditation journey. The best thing for a Trainer, in my opinion, are the “Lightbulb” moments. Those moments, when the people you are training suddenly “get the concept” or realise how a process or a procedure can help their organisation. For internal staff, it is always very satisfying when you see them progress well in their roles and achieve great feedback from colleagues and customers alike.
Finally, tell us about some of your interests and/or hobbies
When I am not working, I enjoy participating in my Parish Community. I am both a Catechist and Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist for the Catholic Church. I also enjoy supporting a charity close to my heart – FOP friends. They support and raise funds for research for sufferers of FOP, a debilitating disease with no current cure that locks the sufferer in an extra skeleton. As a family we participate in a variety of awareness exercises.
To relax, I enjoy reading. cooking and anything I can make/craft including upcycling old clothes/fabric to make new clothes and accessories; and as a family we love spending time together outside, especially camping and body boarding during the summer months.
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