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Middlesex graduate Lavanya Hemanth to represent UK at 'Skills Olympics' in Shanghai

Biotechnology alumna will compete in Chemical Lab Technician event at WorldSkills finals in October

Members of Team UK, wearing dark suits with red ties, process behind a Union Jack and a performer with blue hair and in a silver bodysuit at WorldSkills international finalsMiddlesex University Biotechnology graduate Lavanya Hemanth has been selected for Team UK in the biennial 'Skills Olympics', the WorldSkills competition finals, in the Chemical Laboratory Technician event.

The finals take place in Shanghai from October 17-21, after a year's delay because of the pandemic. The team of 39, competing in more than 30 different events from Aircraft Maintenance to Web Technologies, was picked from a squad of 137 who have been training in their disciplines since January 2020.

Members of Team UK, wearing suits with red ties, process behind Union Jack and a performer with blue hair wearing a silver bodysuit at WorldSkills competition finalsIn the selection process, Lavanya was praised for her effective planning, “technical ability under pressure”, “commitment” and “self-awareness”.

"I am thrilled to be part of Team UK. It feels surreal!" says Lavanya. "I competed in the WorldSkills 2018 nationals and was given the opportunity to join the UK squad for Shanghai and to train with some talented and brilliant professionals.

"This not only prepared me for the competition, it helped enhance my skills and gave me confidence in my abilities".

An Indian female student, wearing a lab coat and latex gloves, examines lab equipment"I am grateful to the MDX Natural Sciences department, specifically Dirk and the bioscience technical team for encouraging me to participate in the competition and for all their support and training over the years.

"I am now excited for the next phase of training with my new training manager, Michael Hughes from the University of Manchester. It is going to be the experience of a lifetime".

Lavanya graduated from MDX in 2020, and went on to a Masters in Forensic Science at King's College London. She hopes to become a research scientist.

“I am delighted that these remarkable young people will soon be showcasing their talents and skills on the global stage" said Minister for Skills Alex Burghart. "They should be so proud of their achievements to date and I look forward to cheering them on in Shanghai."

“These young professionals represent the very best in their field" says WorldSkills UK Deputy CEO Ben Blackledge of Team UK.

"This event not only gives young people the chance to reach their potential, but we will use the insights gained from competing against other countries to drive up standards in technical education at home.”

The UK is competing against 80 countries and will be hoping to improve on its 12th place finish at the last WorldSkills finals in Kazan, Russia, in 2019.

As well as a long-standing involvement with other WorldSkills UK competitions and annual exhibition, MDX pioneered the development of the lab technician event at a UK level, organising a showcase in 2017 and a demonstration competition the following year.

Dirk Wildeboer, Environmental Health technician Salma Conner and Deputy Dean Celia Bell led on this, supported by Natural Sciences department colleagues. In 2019, Dirk was elected by colleagues as Chief Expert for Chemistry Laboratory Technician at WorldSkills Shanghai.

Second year MDX Biochemistry student Maria Pop won Silver in the finals of the 2021 WorldSkills UK lab technician competition.

MDX alumna and lecturer Puja Varsani won Inspirational Role Model at WorldSkills UK's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Awards in February, while two MDX academics, Professor Mehmet Karamanoglu and Calum Knott, were awarded Certificates of Merit by Worldskills UK last year.

Click here to find out more about natural sciences at Middlesex.

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