The Office for Human Resources Management & Development (OHRM&D) and the Research Support Services Directorate (RSSD) have a long-standing collaborative relationship in developing training initiatives for laboratory staff.
The most recent project involved developing a tailor-made Basic Chemistry Course for laboratory staff. The main target audience for this course were non-chemists working in a laboratory environment and handling chemicals as well as staff with a chemistry background wishing to refresh their memory on basic chemistry concepts.
The University of Malta houses approximately 300 laboratories on and off campus, which include teaching, research and servicing labs. The nature of the work varies from purely chemical to a wide variety of fields. The expertise of technical staff is therefore vast and specialised to their line of work. However, several technical members of staff identified the need of basic chemistry training, since chemicals play an important part in the majority of laboratory settings.
The overarching objective of this course was to help participants familiarise themselves with practical, basic chemistry concepts. Therefore, the course structure was designed to cover topics which laboratory staff could put to use in their daily duties. Furthermore, the queries and feedback provided by staff following other technical courses were taken into consideration in the formulation of the course content. The format of this course was designed as a combination of theoretical and hands on practical sessions.
The course was spread over eight sessions of two hours each. It was delivered by Mr David Farrugia, who is a Chemistry Lecturer at Junior College while Mr Mark Zerafa, a Senior Laboratory Officer from the Department of Chemistry was involved in assisting Mr Farrugia with the practical sessions. Thirteen participants successfully completed the first course.
RSSD and OHRM&D will be offering this course in the future to other interested participants. Based on the experience of the first delivery and a feedback exercise carried out on conclusion of the training, this course will be further refined and developed to be as relevant as possible for laboratory staff.