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Modern Apprentice Laboratory Technician

Company: University of Edinburgh    Location: Edinburgh
School of Biological Sciences

Modern Apprentice - Lab Technician in Biotechnology

Salary Grade U02 (£15,969 - £16,341)

Are you passionate about science and technology? Do you like problem solving and have an eye for detail? Then we can offer you the ideal place to kick start your career as a Technician in a contemporary biotechnology lab.

We are looking for a well-organised, team player to join us as an apprentice Lab Technician in the synthetic biology labs at the University of Edinburgh. Working alongside, and mentored by, experienced staff you will support the efficient and safe operation of a state-of-the-art research facility while working towards a Modern Apprenticeship SVQ Level 3 Laboratory & Associated Technical Activities (SCQF Level 7) through work-based training and blocks of day-release at Fife Colleges campus based in Livingston.


You will have, or hope to gain this summer, at least two qualifications in a science subject at Higher Level (SCQF Level 6) and have no fewer than three national qualifications (SCQF Level 5) with evidence of competence in numeracy and literacy. Excellent organisational and practical skills, good IT skills and attention to detail are essential for this role. Please note that as this post is a Modern Apprenticeship we will not be able to progress applications from those candidates with prior experience of lab management or in possession of a higher qualification in a relevant subject.

The post is fixed term for 24 months in the first instance.

University of Edinburgh

Further Particulars

1. Job Details

Job title: Apprentice Laboratory Technician

School/Support Department: School of Biological Sciences

Unit (if applicable): Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology (SynthSys)

Line manager: Dirk Kleinjan

2. Job Purpose

To train with, and become part of, research facilities in the School of Biological Sciences that carry out cutting edge research in biology and biotechnology for internal and external customers using a suite of specialist state-of-the-art equipment.

3. Main Responsibilities

1 Carry out routine laboratory housekeeping, procedures and stock control 40%

2 Assist and participate in routine operation and maintenance of a wide range of modern equipment used in bio 40%

3 Assist and participate in ongoing Health and Safety support duties 10%

4 Provide general assistance to researchers using the facilities and equipment 10%

4. Planning and Organising

  • Day-to-day work with be scheduled by line manager
  • Maintain own work diary to record training for use as evidence for the Modern Apprentice (MA) qualification
  • Identify and agree any in-house training or practical experience relevant to MA coursework with line manager
5. Problem Solving

  • Following standard procedures and refer to other staff for advice when appropriate
  • Following appropriate training, carry out straightforward risk assessments before commencing own work
6. Decision Making

  • Decisions made by post holder will be straightforward and follow agreed policies and practices or be referred to line manager of senior staff
7. Key Contacts/Relationships

  • Line manager for supervision of day-to-day activities, training and mentoring
  • Other facility staff for additional day-to-day advice and information
  • Centre manager for any additional support needs in the absence of the above staff
8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job


  • At least two science Higher qualifications (SCQF Level 6)
  • A good general education and at least five SCQF Level 5 qualifications (preferably those in scientific subjects).
  • Basic IT skills
  • Excellent organisational and communication skills
  • Timeliness, quality and accuracy of work
  • Good manual dexterity
  • Flexibility around basic routines, e.g. change of workplace.
9. Dimensions

  • The laboratories and facilities in which the post holder will work are part of the Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology and support over 40 research groups across the University
10. Job Context and any other relevant information

The Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology is one of the UKs leading centres for research in synthetic biology, which is one of the most exciting areas of modern biological research. The Centre has just been awarded a ~£18 million in funding from the BBSRC, EPSRC and MRC to explore synthetic biology in mammalian systems. The Facility in which the MA post holder will work provides a key technical capability that will underpin the success of the planned research in Edinburgh.

You will work towards a Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship in Laboratory & Associated Technical Activities (SCQF Level 7) through a combination of work-based vocational training (8 units, to be agreed by post-holder and Mentor) and attendance at the Science Training School in Livingstone over two 18-week blocks of a day release programme (9am-5pm). Progression to a Higher National Certificate in Applied Sciences may be possible depending on the interest and ability of the post-holder. The Level 3 Qualification qualifies the post holder for the Register of Science Technicians Biology and Chemistry, a nationally recognised register.

Application Procedure

All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments

The closing date is 5pm on 12 March 2018].

Eligibility to Work

In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).

To do so, the University of Edinburgh requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.

For further information on eligibility to work please visit our eligibility to work website

In the circumstances where the vacancy does not meet the Home Office and Visa Services advertising, salary and/ or qualification level criteria for sponsorship the successful applicant must have the existing right to work in the UK.

Conditions of Employment

Pension Scheme

For employees on University Grades 1-5 or equivalent there are two pension schemes available: University of Edinburgh Staff Benefits Scheme (SBS) or the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST).

This role is grade [insert grade] and therefore the post holder will automatically become a member of the NEST scheme if their monthly earnings are deemed to be qualifying earnings (equivalent to the HMRC monthly threshold above which their earnings are taxable). If the post holders earnings are not deemed as qualifying earnings and therefore will not automatically become a member they can opt in to the NEST scheme.

The post holder can choose to join SBS and by doing so they will not become a member of the NEST scheme.

Further information on the different employer/employee contribution levels required for each scheme and different levels of benefits that the post holder may receive may be found at on our Pensions website


The role is grade UE02 and attracts an annual salary of £15,969 to £16,341 for full time hours each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week.

The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.

The Institute of Structural & Molecular Biology

ISMB studies the structural nature and impact of biomolecules from details of their atomic structure, through their assembly into larger scale molecular machines on up to studying the large scale effects of these molecular assemblies. ISMB contains groups investigating molecular structure using techniques such as biomolecular nuclear magnetic resonance, X-ray crystallography and computational structure prediction, as well as the full panoply of methods for protein production and biological characterisation. Facilities include high through-put DNA sequencing, protein production and purification, biophysical and kinetic analysis of proteins, in silico screening for drug leads, proteomics, optical and electron microscopy.

This diverse structural information is often combined with various other physical methods to comprehensively characterise biomolecules of interest to the pharmaceutical and food industries. The range of molecules studied is large, ranging from cell cycle control, cytoskeletal construction, electron transfer, control/implementation of biosynthetic pathways, molecules implicated in the import, export and persistence of bacterial cells within host cells. ISMB has close collaborative research links with the Schools Institute of Cell Biology, with SynthSys (synthetic and systems biology ( and with colleagues in the College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine, amongst other groupings. With links to the Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions (CSEC ( we are also interested in the mechanisms by which biomolecules survive in conditions that would normally lead to their destruction.

School of Biological Sciences

As the modern inheritors of our 400-year-old reputation for excellence, our staff and students contribute to a vibrant academic community whose visions are shaping tomorrows world.

The School of Biological Sciences is at the leading edge in teaching, research and innovation. Independent rankings such as the Times Higher Education consistently place us amongst the top 25 universities in the world for biological sciences.

Teaching and learning : Our undergraduate students rate us highly for the quality of our education, recording 92% overall satisfaction with their biology course at Edinburgh and an even higher rating for the quality of our teaching (2014 National Student Survey). Todays students can study a wide range of topics, providing a strong grounding in fundamental biology with the flexibility to gain experience of the most recent research developments in biological and biomedical science in the later years of their degree programme. More than 300 students per year are admitted to our taught programmes, which are managed and supported by the Biology Teaching Organisation.

Undergraduate programmes

Masters programmes

Research : Our students are taught by some of the worlds leading scientists. We are one of the top biology departments in the UK for the quality and impact of our research. More than half of our research activity was rated as world-leading in quality and scope in the 2014 UK national research assessment, placing us second in the UK amongst university teaching departments. The success of our research is testament to the excellence of our people: some 130 academic teaching staff and independently-funded research fellows, and the 400 research assistants and technicians and more than 200 PhD students who work with these Principal Investigators. The Graduate School of Biological Sciences provides overarching training and support for our PhD students.

Our research is wide-ranging in scope and is structured around themes which build links from fundamental science to research that addresses global problems. We are investing in growth and expanding our facilities to accommodate new research directions. Our aim is to create innovation and impact from our research by integrating expertise across our research themes to generate transformational new knowledge.

Research Themes, Institutes and cross-disciplinary Centres

The School is a member of SULSA , the Scottish Universities Life Science Alliance.

Professional services : The Schools academic success is supported by a large professional services team who deliver administrative, IT and technical services.

Working in the School : We aim to ensure that our culture and systems support flexible and family-friendly working and to recognise and value diversity across all our staff and students. The School has an active programme offering support and professional development opportunities for all staff. We place a particular focus on development for early-career researchers (postgraduate and postdoctoral research staff and personal fellowship holders), offering mentoring and an active BioDocSoc organisation that brings together researchers for networking, events and training opportunities.

The School of Biological Sciences holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance the representation of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology.

Our website contains more information about the School.

College of Science and Engineering ( )

The College of Science and Engineering (CSE) is one of the largest and highest-ranked science and engineering groupings in the UK. Headed by Professor Dave Robertson, CSE comprises seven Schools (Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, GeoSciences, Informatics, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy). Informatics is located in the Universitys Central Area near George Square, with the other six 2 miles further south at the Kings Buildings. The College has over 3,000 academic and support staff, and educates some 6,000 undergraduates, over 1000 taught postgraduates and more than 2,000 research students. It is in the front rank of UK university science and engineering groupings for research quality and income, and is a key player in many European and international research collaborations.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

In the 2014 REF over 95% of our staff were submitted. Of our seven submissions, four of which were as a joint research school in combination with a strategic research university partner through pooling, 3 were ranked top in the UK and all 7 were in the top 5 in their discipline in the Times Higher Power rankings.

The University of Edinburgh

For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. Theyve explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible, we still do.
The latest Research Excellence Framework highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence. The University is proud of its success with online teaching initiatives, with 2550 students currently studying its online distance learning postgraduate programmes, and a total to date of more than 2 million enrolments for Edinburgh MOOCs.

As a member of staff, you will be part of one of the world´s leading universities, with 20 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 1600 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate programmes to over 35,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 13,000 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles.

As a world-changing, world-leading university, we offer an exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent, develop and reward success and integrate academic, professional and personal career goals, as well as give your career the benefit of a great and distinguished reputation. In addition, our employees benefit from a competitive reward package and a wide range of staff benefits, which include generous holiday entitlement, a defined benefits pension scheme, staff discounts and much more. Access our staff benefits page for further information and use our reward calculator to find out the total value of pay and benefits provided.

The University of Edinburgh holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. We are members of the Race Equality Charter and we are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment, including flexible working and childcare vouchers. See our University Initiatives website for further information.

University Family Friendly Initiatives

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.