Tasmanian Association of Laboratory Managers


TALM Presidents Report 2021

A Snapshot of the Regions

During 2021 the regions of North West, North and South have had one or more professional learning and social events happening.

North West TALM members have been involved in several after-school get-togethers and managed a few outings, including to The Hive in Ulverstone, which incorporates a new science centre, planetarium, craft workshop, café and art gallery. Then there was the racing of battery-powered cardboard vehicles, as mentioned in more detail by Ben Hurkett.

In the north, mid-year, Bill Hardman conducted an after-school workshop at Newstead College on creating a cheap radioactive alpha source from a smoke detector. The participants had a lot of fun during the activity and enjoyed the gourmet nibbles Karen Witt created. (More details Jo Barfield’s report).

In the July holidays, In Hobart, about 10 people came together for an afternoon at Friends’ School senior campus to look at how data loggers are used for various experiments and for a tour of the facilities. During afternoon tea members discussed that although we need technical knowledge, we also need each other’s support and the opportunity to share our experiences with each other. This was one of the motivating factors behind planning to have today’s first workshop on Positive and Constructive Problem Solving in the Workplace.

2021 Conference

The 2021 Conference in Launceston at St Patrick’s College went off with a bang… or rather the rockets we made did! The rocket-making was a great team-building activity.

On the first day we had an engaging tour of the aquaculture building of St Patrick’s College and later a virtual tour of the Tamar Estuary.

Many of the activities were focused on sustainability and lowering our carbon footprint – activities like making useful items from used plastic and hearing about the furniture re-distribution program within the University of Tasmania and there was a short session where everyone had a chance to share what carbon footprint-reducing activities they are doing at their workplaces.

On the second day, there was a workshop on owl pellet dissections. It is recommended for Grade 9 and above, partly because of the dexterity required. We identified bones, beaks, etc., to see what the owl had eaten and hence what had lived in its local habitat.

Professional Standards for School Science Laboratory Technicians.

Science Education Technicians Australia (SETA) have finalised the PSASSLT, which has just been forwarded to everyone yesterday (22/11/21). This is being made available to everyone with the proviso that it is used carefully if it is referred to in employer negotiations as the P.7 Service Factor should not be confused with full time equivalent (f.t.e. as is used in the Department of Education. It gives a general guide to appropriate training, different levels of responsibility, proposed titles depending on qualifications and experience.

Bookings and payments.

TryBooking.com booking software was introduced at the end of 2020 to assist TALM with our booking process for state-wide events such as the conference and memberships. The Treasurer and I have been very happy that this booking system has almost entirely eliminated the confusion we had been having in identifying which school had paid for whom. It has been very useful for both stand-alone membership bookings and bookings for state-wide events like this. 

Serving in the President’s role.

My first connection with TALM was 25 in 1989 when I went to a Conference in Queenstown. After 7 years interstate and in other jobs, I returned to Hobart and was re-employed as a school laboratory technician in 2004, but it took 5 years before I gained the confidence to take on any TALM executive roles.

I started with the Treasurer position in about 2009, then spent a few years at a time in other roles: Database Manager, Co-Vice President South and being on conference committees. It has been very useful to know what is involved in some key roles in the organisation, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get nervous in this new role! There’s still plenty to learn. For 16 years I did background roles and only last year got up the courage to take on the President’s role.

Two weekends ago, as a member of another volunteer organisation, I went on a weekend’s leadership training for volunteers who work in the emergency response sector. I found that very valuable, as I’ve never done any leadership-focussed training before. As was said at the beginning of that training, “It takes courage to lead”.  I plan to use some of that training in this leadership role.

My best wishes for our continued collaboration across the state, may everyone enjoy the opportunities TALM provides for both personal and professional development and all the best for the summer holidays!

Miriam McFarlane

2021 TALM President