Apprentice Tissue Bank Pathology Technician (Science Technician) – Queen Mary University, London

Brief overview of the role

To work towards competency in:

  • Collection, processing and storage of tissue and bodily fluids for BCI Tissue Banks
  • Retrieval and distribution of frozen samples to researchers
  • Maintaining accurate records in accordance to HTA Codes of Practice and maintain confidentiality in line with the provisions of the Data Protection Act

Vacancy description

Job Context

Barts Cancer Institute (BCI) is one of six institutes within The School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD). The Institutes are complementary and follow the same strategic plan for SMD, and also have Institute-specific objectives and requirements. The Institute’s vary in scale, ranging in personnel from 150 – 400; financial turnover of £8 – £23 million per annum; and research income of £7 – 17 million per annum (for research active institutes).
In addition to the usual academic staff of a university, BCI also employs a significant number clinical academic staff, who are intrinsic to the delivery of clinical practice primarily within Barts and The London NHS Trust.

Job Purpose

To work towards competency in:

  • Collection, processing and storage of tissue and bodily fluids for BCI Tissue Banks
  • Retrieval and distribution of frozen samples to researchers
  • Nucleic acid extractions
  • Maintaining accurate records in accordance to HTA Codes of Practice and maintain confidentiality in line with the provisions of the Data Protection Act

Main Duties & Responsibilities

To work towards competency in:

  • Travelling to various sites to collect bodily fluids acquired by BCI Tissue Bank Acquisition team and transporting tissues in accordance with Trust and QMUL guidelines.
  • Processing and storage of bodily fluids within the Tissue Bank based at the Barts Cancer Institute, Charterhouse Square and distributing tissues to researchers as required following BCI Tissue Bank policies
  • Nucleic acid extractions as required.
  • Retrieval of frozen samples for requests.
  • Maintaining databases in accordance with the provisions of the HTA by keeping accurate written and computerised records and ensuring that these records are securely stored.
  • Maintaining confidentiality in line with the provisions of the Data Protection Act.

When training is complete to work as part of the BCI Tissue Bank Acquisition team, being mutually
supportive and covering duties as necessary during colleagues’ absences and at times of additional
pressure, as directed.
General duties:

  • Take part in reflection and appropriate learning from practice, in order to maintain and develop competence and performance.
  • In the event of a statutory inspection, or audit, to assist the Deputy Tissue Bank Manager and other staff members of the BCI Tissue Bank team in preparing appropriate documentation and making necessary arrangements for the inspection in conjunction with the relevant departments
  • Receive, and respond to, everyday enquiries from/to BCI tissue bank staff and researchers, escalating requests outside one’s knowledge base to the appropriate person/area, to provide a timely and effective service to others in sample processing and retrieval.
  • Work flexibly according to the needs of the Tissue Bank.
  • Carry out a range of administrative and/or support tasks, to contribute to the smooth operation of tissue
  • banks.
  • Utilise technical knowledge to meet the requirements of the tissue bank and to maintain effective and efficient tissue processing, including entering information on to the appropriate systems, to ensure sample data is accurate and up to date in compliance with HTA standards.
  • Ensure that systems are maintained in accordance with day to day operational requirements.
  • Participate in the College Appraisal Scheme (QMPAS) and demonstrate a commitment to continuing
  • professional development.
  • Prioritise own assigned workload to ensure deadlines are met using skill and judgement with reference to regulations and standards under direction of BCI Tissue Bank management team, using problem solving skills to resolve routine issues arising; for complex issues seeking advice from management on appropriate course of action; communicating effectively with colleagues.
  • Ensure accurate completion of documentation and records, prepare standard documentation, ensure accurate record keeping, data entry and to records are maintained and updated on a day to day basis.
  • Be aware of own limitations and refer problems to management as appropriate. Liaise with other departments within QMUL and Barts Health NHS Trust to provide/request assistance with tissue acquisition in a courteous and correct manner, to promote a positive image of one’s department.
  • Establish good working relationships with BCI Tissue Bank teams and tissue bank users.


  • In addition the post holder will be expected to carry out any other duties and responsibilities within the scope, spirit and purpose of the post and its grading as requested by the line manager. These will include sharing in departmental duties. Note: This job description reflects the present requirements of the post. As duties and responsibilities change and develop the job description will be reviewed and be subject to amendment in consultation with the post holder.
  • Ensure that all activities are undertaken according to HTA, Trust and College protocols.
  • The postholder must at all times carry out their responsibilities with due regard to the College’s Equal Opportunities policy.

The above list of responsibilities is not exhaustive and the jobholder may be required to undertake other duties commensurate with the level of the role, as reasonable requested by their line manager.

This job description sets out the duties of the post at the time it was drawn up. Such duties may vary from time to time without changing the general character of the duties or level of the responsibility entailed. Such variations are a common occurrence and cannot in themselves justify a reconsideration of the grading of the post.

Desired skills

Essential (E), Desirable (D)

  • Experience of working in a laboratory E
  • Skills and Working towards competency in clinical tissue handling E
  • Experience Working towards competency in the use of Microsoft access and web-based databases. D
  • Working towards competency in nucleic acid extraction D
  • Ability to maintain accurate and detailed records E
  • Ability to follow written and oral instructions E
  • Ability to work with minimal supervision and prioritise allocated tasks E
  • Computer literacy E
  • Working towards competency of working to regulatory standards. E
  • Working towards knowledge/ability to work safely with potentially hazardous
  • material. E
  • Working towards knowledge or experience of storage facilities for biological
  • materials. E
  • Working towards competency of standard operating procedures. E
  • Evidence of good team working, in particular the ability to interact positively
  • with co-workers E
  • Good written and verbal communication E

Personal qualities

  • Friendly, positive and professional disposition to establish and maintain effective working relationship with others E
  • Self-motivated and hard working E
  • Flexible, initiative and adaptability E

Desired qualifications

  • GCSE or equivalent (including English and Mathematics, grade A-C) E
  • A-Levels in biological sciences or equivalent D

Future prospects

It is likely that successful apprentices will take up positions in education establishments such schools, colleges and universities as laboratory or science technicians working to support senior teachers and lecturers in setting up and running educational experiments and carrying out research. Others will be involved in maintaining experimental equipment to ensure that it is serviceable and fit for purpose

37 mon - fri|
£18,164 per annum