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Laboratory Skills Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate at St Benedict's Catholic School

Course description

Content will be taught through a mixture of PowerPoints, lectures, research projects and discussions. Students will be expected to work individually and in groups.

Course content

Unit 6: Control of hazards in the laboratory
Running a research lab is a challenge. In all the hustle of loading the autosampler, pipetting, pouring, and mixing for research experiments, worker health and safety can be overlooked, inadvertently pushed aside or forgotten—sometimes with dire consequences. Understanding the legal requirements and recognizing hazards will help students to identify and minimize many of the common safety and health hazards associated with running a research laboratory. This unit presents an overview of the most common hazards encountered in typical research labs and will help students maintain a safe work environment. It also links to many other units within the qualification and students can apply skills in the context of the practicals they will carry out elsewhere.

Unit 18: Microbiology
Microbiology is the study of microorganisms. Microorganisms affect every aspect of life on Earth. Some microorganisms cause disease but the vast majority are completely harmless. The beneficial uses of microorganisms have been recognised and exploited for thousands of years in brewing, bread making and yogurt production. Bacteria occupy every habitat on Earth and form a biomass that exceeds that of all plants and animals. We now make use of bacterial ecology and metabolism in the production of natural fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Recent developments also include industrial applications such as cleaning up pollution and mining, and the production of important chemical and pharmaceutical products using genetically-engineered microorganisms. Microorganisms are also responsible for various diseases, however, which affect millions of people worldwide every year. As new antimicrobial therapies have been developed, microorganisms have developed resistance to them, and without the development of new drugs and other therapies, we face the possibility of unstoppable infectious diseases, as in the pre-antibiotic era. In this unit students will learn about the commercial use of microorganisms in food production and in medical microbiology. They will also develop a range of practical manipulative skills, including aseptic technique and those used in bacterial identification, which will enable them to work safely and competently in a microbiology laboratory.

Unit 21: Product testing techniques.
Consumer products are rigorously tested and regulated both before being allowed to be sold and after sale. Many cleaning, medical, hygiene and food products are bought directly “off the shelf”. In this unit students will have the opportunity of using the knowledge and skills they have gained in the mandatory units 1 ‘Science Fundamentals’ and unit 2 ‘Laboratory Techniques’. Students will use a range of laboratory techniques in their investigations from inception, through to testing products.

Entry requirements

You will need to have achieved a grade B in additional science GCSE and a level 5 in maths or completion of Cambridge Technical Certificate in Laboratory Skills.


In addition to units 1 and 2 in the Cambridge Technical Certificate (50% of the Extended Certificate), assessment of the Students for the Extended Certificate will comprise:
- Unit 6: Control of hazards in the laboratory. Internally assessed with assignments and moderated by OCR
- Unit 18: Microbiology. Internally assessed with assignments and moderated by OCR
- Unit 21: Product testing techniques. Internally assessed with assignments and moderated by OCR
There is one resit opportunity for all examined units.

Future opportunities

The Level 3 Certificate in Laboratory Skills has been developed for learners aged 16+, who wish to maintain an element of science in a broader study programme and will provide a good introduction into the more vocational applications of science. The main purpose of the qualification is to develop the theory of scientific principles and practical techniques which, when taken with other complementary science-based qualifications, will prepare them to progress to higher education or employment in the science sector. They will learn to carry out experiments safely and accurately which will better prepare them to progress to higher education or employment in areas related to laboratory science such as Life Sciences, Biological Science and Environmental Science.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Benedict's Catholic School directly.

Last updated date: 16 March 2017
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