Bridging the gap to a lab career in Aotearoa

Mandy Yang

Supporting our staff to continue their education and professional development is a key commitment for Awanui. We interviewed Laboratory Technician Mandy Yang from Christchurch who was awarded an Awanui Educational Scholarship to study for a post graduate diploma to build on her career in Haematology.

For Mandy Yang, receiving an Awanui Educational Scholarship is supporting her to bridge the gap between studying in China and her career here in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“I am studying for a Post Graduate Diploma in Medical Laboratory Science at Massey University. It is a bridging course for people who have studied and received undergraduate qualifications overseas and want to become a registered medical laboratory scientist in New Zealand” explains Mandy.

Before coming to work at our Christchurch laboratory, Mandy had completed her Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science in China. She then completed her thesis on molecular biology for a Master of Science at the University of Canterbury.

Joining Awanui as a part time technician in 2013 was the first step on her New Zealand laboratory career. She moved into a full-time roll in Haematology just as the COVID-19 pandemic began, also volunteering to support the Molecular department with the pooling of COVID-19 samples.

What followed for Mandy was being awarded an Awanui scholarship last year and enrolling at Massey University.

“For me, I am re-learning everything from my undergraduate in China 18 years ago, but now in English with a focus on the New Zealand lab practice. I knew the laboratory and scientific terms in Chinese but ask me to say them in English and sometimes I will not know. So, this course is very important for my current job.”

Mandy says Canterbury SCL has given her great support with the scholarship and the opportunity to study and work full time.

“My Head of Department Linda Williams has been really encouraging about staff applying for the scholarship and the course. She knew I had my qualifications and want to develop my skills and knowledge, and this made everything easy, especially the application process. Everyone at my lab has been supportive for my work.”

Linda adds, “Mandy is an essential staff member in our department, capably handling a high workload when we are short staffed. Her critical thinking and trouble shooting skills make her a stand-out technician.”

Mandy has two semesters to go at Massey, which is the only university in the country offering this course.

“I am fine with distance learning as I am self-starter. You have to be when you work by yourself on your thesis, so I was prepared for distance learning.”

“The university teaches you to become a Medical Laboratory Scientist, but at the same time, you need to keep up with technology. Especially as labs are changing and becoming more automated. But I really enjoy the course and my scholarship has given me the chance to work and study and continue building my career with Awnui and here in New Zealand.”

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