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New Course in Practical Science at NorthTec

4 June 2014

New Course in Practical Science

The demand for science has never been greater with career opportunities ranging from environmental management, water quality and chemistry laboratories, to business and management looking for organised and scientifically trained staff. NorthTec has introduced a new National Diploma in Science (Technician) Level 5 specifically for these practical science applications.

Nigel Studdart, one of the science lecturers, says the course is in response to demand from employers looking for employees with practical skills. “They want abilities beyond those typically seen in students who follow a theoretical science degree track. This course is equally suited to those looking to enter the workplace and those working in a laboratory wishing to up-skill.”

Nigel is enthusiastic about the new course and started his own career as a practical scientist. “If you enjoy a sense of discovery and are excited by practical science investigations and research, then the new National Diploma in Science (Technician) Level 5 is the best choice you can make to get into the job market. Hands-on chemical and microbiological techniques lead to developing the confidence to walk into a laboratory or scientific environment in New Zealand or beyond, and know you can do a job that you are proud of and your employer values.”

The course offers flexible study options of either one year full time or two years part time to fit around existing work or family commitments and builds on the current level 4 certificate in science. Nigel – “Students starting the level 4 programme gather knowledge needed for a junior technician position in industrial, academic, government or research laboratory. Communications, practical chemistry, biology and environmental science are the core subjects focused specifically on building a science career.”

“Level 5 continues the journey. Students develop hands-on chemical expertise and learn microbiology and microbiological techniques. This gives qualified laboratory technician status.”

Toni Daly, NorthTec Applied Science Tutor, is keen to inspire new students. “Join us and explore the world of microbes. Understand the processes of disease. Learn how water quality analysis can determine whether water is safe to drink. Understand biochemical pathways and industrial microbiology along with organic and inorganic chemistry. Gain a full range of abilities to safely and efficiently carry out laboratory procedures.”

Both Nigel and Toni say that course emphasis is on understanding through practical development backed up by solid theory. Nigel – “Individual practical study with science tutors with a sense of humour is a feature of NorthTec’s applied science study. Develop your own research interests as you explore your future in sciences in a friendly realistic laboratory environment with face-to-face tuition and small classes.”

Toni was a key player in the course design. “These courses are tailored to current and future industry and employment. They have been designed in collaboration with both local and national industry and the qualifications are recognized throughout New Zealand and overseas.”

“Opportunities exist for advanced students to undertake a placement in one of our local industrial laboratories or become involved in research and development projects within the Department of Applied Science here at NorthTec.”


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