Simona S.

Science Technician
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Simona S.
Taught Postgraduate

My employment

Science Technician
Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust
United Kingdom
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Science Technician in the United Kingdom

I had no idea, when moving to the UK in the autumn of 2018, that I would have ended up working as a Science Technician; I had always imagined myself being an Archaeologist and I had never even remotely considered Science as a viable career path.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

"Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust is an inclusive partnership of community schools underpinned by a shared vision, common values and a commitment to providing an outstanding education to all the young people it serves"

What do you do?

- Provide assistance in practical science classes.
- Ensure that health and safety procedures in the Science Department are in place, continually assessed, monitored and reviewed.
- Prepare resources, make up solutions, assemble apparatus and provide technical advice to teachers, technicians and students.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

After deciding, while completing my Postgraduate degree programme, to pursue a career in Science, the help of the ever so useful Career Advice team has been vital for the start of my career. They advised the use of three main platforms, SRG, Reed Scientific and CK Science, for finding employment and I could not be more grateful.
The opportunity to work as a Science Technician in a school intrigued me as it merges the different aspects of a Lab Technician job with the education environment, to which I have always been drawn and in which I had gained experience in Italy as a Teacher and Course Director.
The recruitment and selection process for the Science Technician position has been quite straightforward: a day-long interview at the presence of other candidates, during which we've been asked to complete a two-part test to assess our knowledge (Biology, Chemistry and Physics), followed by a panel interview.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

I had no idea, when moving to the UK in the autumn of 2018, that I would have ended up working as a Science Technician; I had always imagined myself being an Archaeologist and I had never even remotely considered Science as a viable career path. The MSc Bioarchaeology programme at UoY has made me realise how deep my love for Science was and how satisfying a job in a lab can be.

Describe your most memorable day at work

The part I absolutely adore the most of my job is that, with 11 labs and hundreds of pupils learning different topics everyday, no day is like the other.
The most memorable day at work I had so far has to be day 1 of Science Week, when dozens of wide-eyed pupils at a time gather around our lab benches to witness the wonderfulness of Biology, Chemistry and Physics unfold before them. Their excited jumps for joy at the sight of a Van der Graaf generator, of a "woosh bottle", of a "carbon snake" and of many other scientific marvels, and to know that you've contributed to their learning is a very rewarding and amazing feeling.

Are there any challenges associated with your job?

It can be at times frantic: we have 11 labs and all of them are busy all day long, every week of the year. Being only 3 Science Technician can be at times challenging but I have been blessed with a great team and cooperation definitely makes the hard days much easier!

What’s your work environment and culture like?

Our culture is very education oriented, and pupils' learning come before everything else (safety excluded! Good lab practices are ALWAYS an absolute priority).
Our school require us to wear formal clothing and I find it hard at times to perform our daily duties while being dressed up for a royal visit, but the job is amazing and clothing it's just a minor inconvenience.
We are a big friendly team (15 teachers + 3 technicians), and this definitely makes it easier to be away from home and my family in Italy.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

While studying for my Undergraduate degree in Italy I was working full-time as a Freelance Translator and Italian Teacher, part-time as a Summer Camp director and I was volunteering at our local Food Bank. Through these mixed experiences I have developed strong interpersonal and communication skills while expanding time management and conflict resolution skills.

What would you like to do next with your career?

I am looking forward to expand my knowledge with more STEM courses aimed at a 360° training for Science Technicians. I would also like to explore more museum based opportunities with volunteering based jobs.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Look after your CV and book an appointment with the Career Advice office, they are trained professionals that can truly boost your chances at being hired!
Always be professional during your interviews while trying to be friendly and relaxed: sounds like oxymoronic, I know, but that's what most interviewers are looking for, a good fit in the team that knows what they're doing.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

I am happy to answer any questions you might have, from life after graduation to my experience with group interviews, working in a school and life in the lab!

Next steps...

If you like the look of Simona’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Simona a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Simona to be your mentor.

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