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Job summary

Main area
Laboratory Sequencing, Research and Evaluation, Science
Civil Service: Administrative Officer (AO)
Fixed term: 7 months (Until 31-Mar-2023 (with the possibility of extension))
  • Full time
  • Flexible working
37.5 hours per week
Job ref
UK Health Security Agency
Employer type
Public (Non NHS)
UKHSA Porton Down
£19,875 - £22,377 per annum, pro rata
Salary period
09/10/2022 23:59

Employer heading

UK Health Security Agency logo

COVID-19 Vacancy Medical Laboratory Assistant

Civil Service: Administrative Officer (AO)

COVID-19 has reinforced the impact that threats to health can have on society and the economy and driven health security as a critical component of our national security architecture. The United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is a system leader for health security; taking action internationally to strengthen global health security, providing trusted advice to government and the public and reducing inequalities in the way different communities experience and are impacted by infectious disease, environmental hazards, and other threats to health.

UKHSA’s remit, as an agency with a global-to-local reach, is to protect the health of the nation from infectious diseases and other external threats to health. As the nation’s expert national health security agency UKHSA will:

  • Prevent: anticipate threats to health and help build the nation’s readiness, defences and health security
  • Detect: use cutting edge environmental and biological surveillance to proactively detect and monitor infectious diseases and threats to health
  • Analyse: use world-class science and data analytics to assess and continually monitor threats to health, identifying how best to control and mitigate the risks
  • Respond: take rapid, collaborative and effective actions nationally and locally to mitigate threats to health when they materialise
  • Lead: lead strong and sustainable global, national, regional and local partnerships designed to save lives, protect the nation from public health threats, and reduce inequalities

UKHSA’s immediate and most important priority is to continue the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the longer term, UKHSA will build on the legacy of the COVID-19 response to ensure resilient and scalable infrastructure to secure the UK in the strongest position to protect the public from future threats to health.

UKHSA mission is challenging, innovative and in the spotlight. To achieve our objectives effectively and fairly, we commit to representing modern Britain and all its diversity. UKHSA recognises that diversity of background and life experience brings different insights, creates challenge and encourages change and innovation. This in turn produces more accountable and trusted public services and better decisions; better because they are more attuned to the needs and interests of all our communities. Differences of thought and outlook are not only respected but expected. We want all our employees to feel that they can be themselves at work and that they are valued.

Job overview

Medical Laboratory Assistants (MLA) are required to support the Porton Sequencing team to ensure the clinical service is provided efficiently and to the highest standard.

The successful candidate will be educated to GCSE level Grade 4/C or NVQ Level 2 in Maths and English with a keen interest in science. It would be beneficial if the candidate had experience working in a laboratory environment

The role supports the team in routine laboratory work, including laboratory housekeeping maintenance, data entry and ensuring work is carried out to the scientific, safety and quality standard.  The post holder will also support a range of diagnostic tests primarily focussed on high throughput COVID-19 sequencing but would also include ELISA, IFA and real-time molecular assays.

Main duties of the job

The main duties and responsibilities of the role are:

  1. Receive and process materials and/or clinical samples
  2. Perform preparation and diagnostic testing on a range of clinical samples
  3. Provide administrative support for sample reception
  4. Operate a range of equipment, e.g. centrifuges, analysers, safety cabinets, fridges, freezers
  5. To support a range of sequencing, diagnostic assays and techniques as required, meeting the needs of PHE Porton service provision.

Please refer to the attached job description and person specification for further details.


Working for our organisation

UKHSA Porton plays an important role in preparing for and coordinating responses to potential healthcare emergencies, including possible acts of deliberate release. The site is certified to ISO 9001: 2015 and a number of laboratories are accredited to UKAS ISO 15189: 2012. UKHSA Porton also hold approval to provide IBMS registration and Virology specialist portfolios to provide a diagnostic service to the UK.

In addition, the centre undertakes both basic and applied research into understanding infectious diseases and manufactures a number of healthcare products, including vaccines and therapeutics.  

We pride ourselves as being an employer of choice, where Everyone Matters promoting equality of opportunity to actively encourage applications from everyone, including groups currently underrepresented in our workforce. 

UKHSA ethos is to be an inclusive organisation for all our staff and stakeholders. To create, nurture and sustain an inclusive culture, where differences drive innovative solutions to meet the needs of our workforce and wider communities. We do this through celebrating and protecting differences by removing barriers and promoting equity and equality of opportunity for all. 

Detailed job description and main responsibilities

Selection Process

This vacancy is using Success Profiles and will assess your Behaviours/  Experience/ Technical skills.

As part of the application process, you will be asked to provide a Personal Statement / Statement of Suitability (in no more than 500 words) 

This should outline how you consider your skills, experience and achievements, provide evidence of your suitability for the role, with particular reference to the essential criteria outlined.
You will also be asked to provide information within the ‘Employer/ Activity history’ section of the application form. This is equivalent to the information you would provide on a CV, setting out your career history (this will be used in the shortlisting process and will be scored).

You will be required to complete an application form. This will be assessed in line with the advertised criteria.
If you are successful at this stage, you will progress to interview.

All candidates who are successful at the sift stage will progress to interview OR assessment.

All applicants that progress to interview will be assessed on a blended interview against a mixture of Behaviours and technical elements of Success Profiles.

The Behaviours tested during the interview stage will be
•    Working together
•    Delivering at pace
•    Communicating and influencing

Technical skills will be assessed against the knowledge and experience criteria set out in the Job Description.

Eligibility Criteria Text:

Open to all external applicants (anyone) from outside the Civil Service (including by definition internal applicants).

Security Clearance Level Requirement:

Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check. Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is Basic Personnel Security Standard

People working with government assets must complete Basic Personnel Security Standard checks.


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

The internal roles rules apply to existing Civil Servants, i.e. level transfers move on current salary or the pay range minimum, transfers on promotion move to new pay range minimum or receive 10% increase. Either case is determined by whichever is the highest. For further details please refer to the Information Sheet- Starting Salaries & Benefits attachment.

Person specification


Essential criteria
  • CV / Application Form


Essential criteria
  • Statement Of Suitability / Supporting Statement

Employer certification / accreditation badges

Happy to Talk Flexible WorkingPurple SpaceApprenticeships logoNo smoking policyMindful employer.  Being positive about mental health.Improving working livesAge positiveDisability confident employerThe Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (enei) is the UK's leading employer network covering all aspects of equality and inclusion issues in the workplace.Carer Confident -Accomplished

Documents to download

Apply online now

Further details / informal visits contact

Gareth Rees
Job title
Sequencing Laboratory Manager
Email address
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