Training more lab tech staff and regulation is the key to reducing Covid-19 PCR testing costs over the long term
One of the UK’s leading technology educators and innovators, Credersi has 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 is aimed at increasing the number of lab technicians being trained in the UK to meet a mass skills shortage and crisis. Research carried out by the Gatsby Foundation prior to Covid-19 indicated that, by 2030, the UK will require a further 700,000 lab technicians to support the UK economy. Credersi believes that, given the magnitude of the pandemic, this figure will have potentially doubled. The company believes that by increasing the number of trained lab technicians this will help in the long run to reduce the unit cost of Covid testing over time. Properly certified training and regulation will be the key to overhauling the Covid 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 in which to train the lab technicians of the future.
The first course under the new collaboration was delivered in October 2021 as an eight-week immersive programme. It provided a unique laboratory technicians 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.
The training programme not only equips students with the ‘hard’ technical skills, but also focuses on the behavioural aspects, mentoring ‘soft’ life and ‘communication’ skills to prepare them for any workplace environment.
One example of the innovation being incorporated into the new course includes utilising a physical PCR machine, which will then 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 how to conduct a PCR test and use this as part of a wider training syllabus to educate the students with an immersive and interactive training module.
Inspiring the next generation
The Credersi/Dam Health initiative will not only train the lab techs of the future; 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 they 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.
Credersi is at the forefront of redefining a world in which students and those in adult education shape their learning of the future 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: “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-19 testing will be with us for the foreseeable future. By 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-19 testing and re-invest this into bursaries to train the next generation of lab tech students.”