Return to flip book view

Annie Interview

Page 1

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A QUALIFIED TECHNICIAN We spoke to Annie a trainee technician to find out Hi Annie What is that you do for a living I am an Animal technician at Envigo in our Research Models and Services RMS unit We are a breeding facility for rodents for the research community It s a bit different to working in a University or Contract Research Organisation because we don t carry out the research on the animals I work with rats breeding and raising them ready to be transported to facilities across the country I have worked here for 3 years now How did you become an animal technician So I ve always wanted to work with animals and I lived next door to the site for about 10 years Coming out of school it was quite hard to find a job in that sort of field So without really knowing what I was applying for I applied I found that during my interview I was the one that was asking most of the questions because I was literally diving into the deep end Before this I had never heard of animal technology I really didn t have any idea Did you do any work or training with animals beforehand This is my first job working with animals but I grew up spending a lot of my time on my Uncle s farm so I ve always worked with sheep pigs and cows I ve always had pet dogs and cats too and I wanted to continue my love of animals in my work Because I started here straight after school I didn t do any animal qualifications but I have now got my Institute of Animal Technology Level 2 qualification in Laboratory Animal Science Technology Was there anything you particularly enjoyed during your IAT qualification I enjoyed all of the topics It was being able to learn about other species that I found most interesting I really enjoyed learning about other animals which has improved my understanding of their needs as well as my rats I was also able to compare the different ways people work with the different species

Page 2

Could you talk us through a typical day at work So I get in and I go through into the changing rooms where we fully shower into the barrier I get dressed put all my PPE on my mask and gloves I then go through into the animal area I get into my room and the first thing I do is I perform my daily welfare checks This includes checking all the cages checking the animals diet and water making sure that they ve got clean bedding and monitoring the general health of the animals Then I move onto my production work so I go through all the breeding cages in my room and mark down any new litters and any rats that need to be weaned I give them clean bedding and enrichment then I move onto my inventory cages The animals get weighed cleaned and health checked ready to be packed and shipped to our customers In the afternoon we get orders through we pack the necessary rats and they get shipped out Afternoon welfare checks are then completed and any enquiries left for orders are responded to That s my day What do you love most about your job at Envigo Definitely working hands on with the animals I m quite lucky to be able to work with 3 different strains which all have completely different personalities It s nice to be able to interact with them and play with them during my work They re great company so it keeps me entertained It s also nice to work with everyone in my barrier because we are like a little family You re in there for 8 hours a day and there s kind of no escape To be able to enjoy the company of the people you work around it s a blessing

Page 3

Was there anything that surprised you about your job role when you went into it I think the thing that surprised me the most was the care that people have for the rats the bond that they have with them When you think of a research facility or a breeding facility you might think oh they breed them they get sent off and they get tested on But the technicians have a relationship with the animals which you wouldn t really expect and I found myself in that position too So what do you find is the hardest part of being an animal technician I think the hardest part would be when we have to euthanise the animals Obviously we have to breed them in quite large numbers Sometimes orders may be cancelled and these can t always be re sold The animals that we euthanise are not wasted lives though They are used as biological samples for example sometimes people need rat blood or tissue It s still not pleasant but at least I know that they are not going to waste and it s done kindly and painlessly Would you like to progress further in animal technology Yeah I really want to A lot of people have asked me before if I would ever think of moving on from here and the answer is no From where I started as just seeing it as a job I do now see my career in the barrier So yeah to be able to progress upwards is kind of what I would hope to see in the future What advice would you give to someone that is starting out as a technician Definitely be open minded especially when you first go into a barrier or facility there s a lot to take in all at once which some people can t deal with which is expected There is a lot of support that is offered to you so don t be afraid to speak up if you re finding it challenging or difficult at any point Thank you Annie for giving us an insight into the world of laboratory breeding centres We wish you and your rats all the best in the future