Diagnostic Laboratory Support Technician

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science

Apply before 11:55 pm on Tuesday 1st February 2022


Reference number





Administrative Officer
Cefas Payband 3

Contract type


Type of role


Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time

Number of posts




About the job


This post is for a role in the diagnostics team, who’s main objective is to diagnose aquatic animal diseases for the Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI), UK Commercial contacts and overseas contracts. The team are experts in both virological and molecular diagnostic methods and the provision of a tissue culture service. All areas of the team are accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2017 for a large part of their work, either under fixed or flexible scope. They work closely with the Fish Health Inspectorate team, and the Policy Advice and Enforcement team.

The post holder will be responsible for molecular biology aspects of disease diagnostics, supporting research and commercial contracts in the development and application of molecular biology tools for the listed and new emerging fish pathogens. The postholder will support the molecular technical manager in the validation of molecular methods under UKAS ISO 17025 flexible scope, and the provision of support and cover for tissue culture and diagnostic virology.

Job description

The job holder will need to:

• Complete routine molecular diagnostic tests required by the Fish Health Inspectorate to deadlines agreed in the service level agreement. Primarily CyHV (KHV), SVCV, VHSV, IHNV, OsHV, WSSV, TSV, YHV and Bonamia, this includes UKAS ISO 17025 and ISO 9001 accredited diagnostic tests under fixed and flexible scope.
• Provide support for Research and Commercial Contracts in the Development and application of molecular biology tools for the listed and new emerging fish pathogens.
• Provide support Molecular technical manager in the validation of molecular methods under UKAS ISO 17025 flexible scope.
• Undertake provision of support and cover for tissue culture and diagnostic virology. This will include; Receipting and processing of statutory diagnostic samples. Preparation and maintenance of stock cell cultures. Production of tissue culture media, and the delivery of routine tissue culture orders.
• Be responsible for the efficient use of the laboratory resources capital and consumables.
• Be responsible for general laboratory maintenance including housekeeping, equipment cleaning, equipment calibration/checks, preparation of reagents, batch testing lab consumables, archiving/disposal of laboratory worksheets, ordering, and the disposal of historical samples.


The following are essential criteria required for this role and you must be able to demonstrate your skills and experience in the following areas:

• Demonstrate having the ability work well independently and as part of a team;
• Experience of working in a laboratory or similar working environment;
• Methodical and organised, ability to work under pressure and prioritises workload to meet deadlines; and
• Demonstrate having attention to detail and when working under pressure.

It is not essential to have certain qualifications for this vacancy. Relevant previous work experience will be accepted.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Working Together

Technical skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • Experience required in basic laboratory techniques, including liquid handling and aseptic technique.
  • Working knowledge of laboratory-based molecular biology diagnostic techniques including extraction methods, DNA amplification, sequencing, and sequence analysis.


• Annual leave entitlement – 25 days on entry (rising to 30 days over first 5yrs)
• Access to learning and development tailored to your role
• A working environment that supports a range of flexible working options
• A working culture which encourages inclusion and diversity
• Eligible to join the Civil Service Pension scheme. Very favourable package, contributions are more than matched by employer – more information can be found on the CSP website http://www.civilservicepensionscheme.org.uk/
• Performance Related Pay scheme – yearly award linked to individual performance
• Staff Recognition vouchers
• In-year recognition scheme (monetary amounts up to max £2000 possible)

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths, Experience and Technical skills.
Application Process
As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV, 3 x 250 word behaviour and 2 x 250 word technical statements.
Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

Should a large number of applications be received, an initial sift may be conducted using the lead behaviour, Managing a Quality Service. Candidates who pass the initial sift may be progressed to a full sift, or progressed straight to assessment/interview.

Sift and interview dates are to be confirmed. The interviews will be held either via a video link or in person. The interview schedule will be confirmed following sift results.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview.

If successful at application stage, you will be invited to interview where you will be assessed on experience, behaviours, technical skills and strengths.

If scores are equal following interview, an assessment of the lead behaviour, Managing a Quality Service will be used by the panel.

You may also be required to give a presentation, complete a short test or provide a case study. You will receive further information to prepare for this if you are invited to interview.

The interview will be undertaken either in person or via Microsoft Teams.

Reserve List
A reserve list may be held for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made.

New entrants to the Civil Service are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band.

Reasonable Adjustment
If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:

- Contact Government Recruitment Service via defrarecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs.
- Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional.

If you are experiencing accessibility problems with any attachments on this advert, please contact the email address in the 'Contact point for applicants' section.

Criminal Record Check
If successful and transferring from another Government Department, a criminal record check maybe carried out.

In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure and Barring Service on your behalf. However, we recognise in exceptional circumstances some candidates will want to send their completed forms direct. If you will be doing this, please advise Government Recruitment Service of your intention by emailing Pre-EmploymentChecks.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk stating the job reference number in the subject heading .

Internal Fraud Database Check
Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. This check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave before being dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant’s details held on the IFD will be refused employment.

A candidate is not eligible to apply for a role within the Civil Service if the application is made within a 5 year period following a dismissal for carrying out internal fraud against government.

Childcare Vouchers
Any move to Defra from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at here

We are closely monitoring the situation with regard to Coronavirus, and will be following central Government advice as it is issued. There is therefore a risk that recruitment to this post may be subject to change at short notice. Please continue to follow the application process as normal and ensure that you check your emails regularly for any updates from us as this is how we will communicate with you.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals
Further information on nationality requirements

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :
Name :  Mandy Roberts or Alec Wilson
Email :  careers@cefas.co.uk
Recruitment team :
Email :  defrarecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Further information

If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance, you should contact Government Recruitment Services via email: defrarecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can contact the Civil Service Commission: Click here to visit Civil Service Commission

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