Training More Laboratory Technician Staff Is the Key to Reduce PCR Testing Costs

One of the UK’s leading technology educators and innovators, CREDERSI, have teamed up with COVID-19 testing solutions company DAM Health to create the world’s first virtual reality COVID-19 lab training syllabus. The move aims to increase lab technicians trained in the UK to meet a mass skills shortage and crisis. Research carried out by the Gatsby Foundation before COVID-19 indicated that, by 2030, the UK would require a further 700,000 Lab Technicians to support the UK economy.

Credersi believes that given the magnitude of the pandemic that the figure will have potentially doubled.  The company believes that increasing the number of trained lab technicians will help in the long run to reduce the unit cost of COVID-19 testing over time. Properly certified training and regulation will be the key to overhauling the COVID-19 testing industry.

The collaboration will see Liverpool-based DAM Health supporting Manchester headquartered Credersi to bring technology into the lab by funding the construction of a virtual and augmented reality platform to train the lab technicians of the future.

The first course under the new collaboration will be delivered in October of this year as an 8-week immersive programme. It will provide a unique laboratory technician course, with components of science, data science, data analytical programming – to train students to extrapolate results from their work – and lab experiments built into the course syllabus. The course can be accessed from wherever the student is studying and located in the world.

Credersi’s unique 8-week training programme equips students with the ‘hard’ technical skills and focuses on the behavioural aspects, mentoring soft life and communication skills to prepare them for any workplace environment.

One example of the innovation incorporated into the new course includes utilising a physical PCR machine, which will be used to model and render into a 3D virtual lab. This will allow the lab technicians and students to see an animated sequence of conducting a PCR test and use this as part of a wider training syllabus to educate the students with an immersive and interactive training module.

The Credersi / DAM Health initiative will train the lab techs of the future. Still, the 3D virtual lab will also be taken into schools and colleges as part of a wider programme to educate and inspire kids into STEM subjects using technology relate to. It will show young people what a career in science looks and feels like, inspiring them to become the next generation of scientists and lab technicians.

Tech and science educators Credersi are at the forefront of redefining a world in which students and those in adult education shape their future learning in a virtual campus by using immersive VR and AR technologies. The company is incubating, training and developing the digital pioneers, codebreakers, vaccine developers, bio-scientists, biological and cyber defenders, software engineers and data scientists of the future.

Andy Lord, CEO and co-founder of Credersi, said: ‘This is a fascinating project for us to team up with DAM Health, and we are incredibly grateful for their support and patronage. The addition of 3D modelling to develop a course that has elements uniquely focusing on COVID-19 and PCR is a real game-changer.’

‘There is a huge shortage of skilled lab technicians at the moment, and we aim to address that imbalance by injecting a new army of talented and trained lab technicians.  Demand for lab technicians is outstripping supply in the market. Covid testing will be with us for the foreseeable future. Understanding and learning about PCR testing and how this works will enable the lab technicians of the future to be better equipped to deal with future viral epidemics and pandemics.’

‘The Prime Minister could also take the current VAT charged on Covid testing and reinvest this into bursaries to train the next generation of lab tech students.’

Darren  Coomer is an industry tech leader, innovator and co-founder at Credersi.  Commenting on the virtual reality COVID-19 training school, she said: ‘It has been my passion to take science into schools and colleges and inspire the next generation of brilliant minds. COVID-19 has been such a big part of everyone’s lives for the last 18 months, and this course will teach and train lab technicians about how PCR tests are processed in the laboratory using the latest technology.’

‘But even more amazingly, when we take this into schools and colleges, we can show young children what a career in science looks and feels like. A lack of skilled resources often drives the high cost of PCR testing, so we hope our collaboration with DAM Health will help support the UK economy and travel industry by reducing the unit cost of testing over time.’

DAM Health provides a wide range of Covid testing solutions to the public, corporate organisations and the sports world with in-clinic testing. Recently it has signed major contracts with Crystal Palace football club and Rangers Football club to provide its testing services. The company has more than 65 COVID-19 testing clinics globally, with further expansion coming soon.

Liam Spence, Head Of Partnerships for DAM Health, said: ‘We are delighted to have teamed up with Andy Lord, Darren Coomer and Credersi to help inspire and recruit the next generation of scientists and lab technicians. Creating a virtual world in which lab technicians can be trained to understand the process of PCR testing makes this a truly immersive experience without the need to enter a lab physically.’

Most importantly for DAM Health, as a leading provider of Covid testing services, our corporate and social responsibility programmes are significant to us. Our Patronage of the Credersi virtual world lab helps recruit and train the lab technicians of the future. Still, it will also inspire school children to learn more about science and technology as an exciting career, which is a fundamental part of our vision.’

DAM Health’s two charitable initiatives include the Hope Foundation in India – which is helping to support people during the second wave of Covid and children affected by COVID-19 – and a local initiative called Football For Change, which helps local people in Liverpool who have been affected by COVID-19 to get jobs.