Training FAQs

  • Who are these courses aimed at, and why are they needed?
    • These courses are aimed at students, technicians, teachers, trainers, scientists, laboratories, consultancies, and education providers, that have a desire or need to learn how to identify and analyse cyanobacteria and other microalgae.
    • These courses are needed because the skills to identify and the ability to train in this expertise is becoming increasingly rare. Over the past 10 years, as a consultant working with water utilities and performing environmental analysis, I have found the water industry is increasingly less able to make critical decisions they need to ensure water is safe, because of the loss of this technical skill.
  • What will I be learning in these courses?
    • You’ll be learning how to identify and analyse cyanobacteria and phytoplankton (microalgae), using phase-contrast microscopy, from a routine sample and analysis perspective. The taxa covered are generally planktonic and benthic taxa are not specifically covered.
    • The cyanobacteria and phytoplankton covered are those that are commonly seen within Australia. Most taxa are cosmopolitan and will still be relevant to most regions.
  • Are there other courses available near me?
    • Maybe. You’d need to look. But, this sort of training is generally provided ‘on the job’ when you work within a laboratory, as it’s not generally not taught for this purpose through colleges or universities. There are no accredited courses that I am aware of.
  • What training is already available?
    • If you have access to and are regularly attending conferences, that is one avenue of training. However, they are usually targeted at small taxonomic groups of phytoplankton and short, intensive courses that may be more suited to more experienced analysts. They will not include foundation subjects.
  • What are the benefits of taking these courses?
    • For everyone, these courses provide the opportunity to undertake a comprehensive, accessible, and economically viable training program, as a foundation for developing skills in the identification and analysis of cyanobacteria and phytoplankton.
    • For individuals, there is the opportunity to develop critical environmental and technical skills from both foundation and more advanced subjects levels, at your own pace. You will receive a downloadable certificate of attainment and a course overview to include with your training records or resume.
    • For laboratories and educational facilities, these courses are a more economical and consistent way of training analysts. The courses may be used as a training curriculum for in-house programs, and reduce the time and resources needed to design, facilitate, and administer such programs. Your senior analysts and trainers will be able to focus on supporting the analyst’s learning process and less on administration.
    • Additionally, for enterprise customers, courses may be reconfigured and customised to suit your training objectives, including;
      • Addition of perspectives and aspects pertinent to services provided
      • Addition/inclusion of your existing in-house training content
      • Customisation of included taxa
      • Contextualisation of analysis protocols and equipment training
  • How long do the courses take, and how long does it take to learn to identify cyanobacteria and phytoplankton?
    • The courses vary in length and difficulty, depending on the concepts, number of taxa included in the units, and the level of identification, or technical analysis being taught.
    • How long it takes to learn is difficult to say and depends on many factors, including;
      • The hours you spend actively engaged with the material and practicing at the microscope
      • Your level of interest and aptitude for the subject matter, (something I cannot assess remotely)
      • If you have a trainer assisting, how skilled and experienced they are in both this field and delivering effective training
      • The number and variety of taxa you need to identify, within the context of the samples you are looking at, and their purpose
  • Isn’t microscopy becoming old-fashioned, given most taxonomy and analysis are now based on ultrastructure, molecular, and instrumentation techniques?
    • Absolutely not! While all those techniques are important and essential for phylogenetic studies, presence of toxin genes, and toxins respectively, microscopy is the foundation for those research activities and is still used as the primary technique for routine analysis in environmental monitoring of water bodies, particularly those for drinking supplies and recreational use.
  • What languages are the training courses available in?
    • Please be aware, at this point in time, the courses are available in ENGLISH ONLY
  • Last word of advice:
    • For our international learners, I urge you to look for additional, regional references and articles, in addition to the material presented to ensure you are learning in an appropriate regional context.

If you have any questions about additional references, please contact us at training@jarvishuntconsultancy.com.au.

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