We Are Randox | Charlotte Dixon World Indoor Rowing Champion

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We Are Randox | Charlotte Dixon World Indoor Rowing Champion

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02 November 2021

Charlotte Dixon: Covid Scientist and World Indoor Rowing Champion

One of our favourite things about our We Are Randox series of staff interviews is the opportunity we are given to find out about the unique and interesting talents of our colleagues.

From creative bakers to melodious musicians, motivated youth leaders to athletic sportspeople, many of our staff are just as busy outside of the office as they are in it.

Take Covid Scientist Charlotte Dixon for example. During working hours Charlotte spends time in our Covid-19 testing laboratories – reviewing results before they are sent to the patient, helping her team with any issues they face, and compiling performance reports for management – but outside of work she is impressively the World Indoor Rowing Champion in the women’s U23 500m sprint, having beaten experienced competitors from Denmark, Egypt and Europe in the prestigious World Indoor Rowing Championships.

We caught up with Charlotte to find out about her intense training regime, her goals for the future of her rowing career, and her advice for anyone wanting to try a new sport or hobby.

1. Hi Charlotte, can you tell us about your job at Randox and the main responsibilities of the role?

I work in the Covid-19 Labs at the Randox Science Park in Antrim, as a Reviewer for a type of testing called qPCR. As a Reviewer I load plates of samples on to the machines which perform sample analysis to produce a negative or positive COVID result, and then review the results to ensure they are sent out correctly to the patient.

I am also the Shift Lead for my team, for which the main responsibility is to organise the shift and delegate any jobs that need done, ensuring I appropriately deal with any issues that may arise and communicate with the managers to resolve any problems.

2. What does a typical day look like in your role at Randox?

Depending on whether I’m doing a day or night shift, my day starts at 8am or 8pm with a handover meeting with the managers and other shift leads to discuss any points that need to be noted or carried forward from one shift to the next, and then the two labs for which I am a Shift Lead get deep cleaned. The 12 hour shifts normally involve a mixture of test scanning, witnessing and loading plates of samples, as well as reviewing results. Once I have written the shift report, the day/night finishes with a final tidy of the lab and another meeting with the team managing the next shift, to discuss the report and any issues to be passed on.

3. What was your educational / career background to get to this role?

I studied Biomedical Science at Ulster University Coleraine and graduated in 2019. Once graduated I took time out to focus on my equestrian ambitions and during this time I got the opportunity to compete internationally several times. Unfortunately, Covid-19 halted all competitions, but then the chance to work at Randox arose, and I jumped at the opportunity to put my science background to use.

4. What do you enjoy most about the job and what do you find most challenging?

During the pandemic I was grateful that my role in Covid testing meant I was able to play a direct role in the fight against the pandemic. However, I always say the best part about my job is the people I get to work with. I’ve made some amazing friends in this job and they really can make those long night shifts that little bit easier.

5. Tell us a bit about your title of “World Indoor Rowing Champion” – when and how did you receive this accolade?

Finishing University in 2019 I joined my local gym, Gladiator Training, in the aim to get fitter to benefit my horse riding, which I have done since I was little. I signed up to a 12-week indoor rowing programme and things really just went from there. At the end of 2019 I entered the Irish Indoor Rowing Championships for a bit of fun and won 2 races, before going on to place in the British Championships a few weeks later.

In 2020 things were a little different due to Covid restrictions but thankfully Indoor Rowing events could be held virtually. In December I won both the British and European U23 500m Championships, qualifying me for the World Indoor Rowing Championships.

After I qualified for the World’s, I was granted Elite athlete status which allowed me to train with my Coach at the gym even when restrictions meant it wasn’t open to the public. My training was so focused, and it was during this time that I made the most progress and realised how much I appreciate being able to train every day.

The World Indoor Rowing Championships, due to be held in California, was also held virtually due to restrictions. I had the fastest qualifying time going into the race and finished in Gold with a personal best time of 1:31.6 against competitors from across the world.

6. What does your training involve?

I train for 2 hours, 5-6 days a week. This is either at 5am before day shifts, 4pm before night shifts or 9am on days off. Working long hours means I have to be quite flexible with when I do my training, but I’m pretty used to it by now. What I do during training can vary quite a lot and depends on what type of competition I’m prepping for. In preparation for the World Championships, I rowed 2-3 days a week and then did a large amount of weight training on the other days to increase strength and sprint capacity.

7. What’s up next in your indoor rowing career?

Quite a lot of exciting things actually! I am currently preparing for the Irish indoor Rowing Championships held in Limerick on 20th November. This is my first year in the Senior category so I’m excited to try to go for Gold in multiple races. I have also just been accepted onto the British Rowing World Class Start Squad, a programme set up to find and train future Olympians. Rowing on water is something I have never done but I am so excited to give this a shot and see where it takes me!

8. Can you tell us a little bit about your equestrian interests and achievements?

I have been so fortunate to have had the opportunity to ride horses since as long as I can remember. I compete mainly in Eventing, which involves Dressage, Showjumping and Cross-Country – a bit like a triathlon for horses! Over the years I have notched up a few major titles including an U18 International Win, a Senior International Win (at only 19 years old), several other International placings and winning Team Gold at the Student Rider World Finals in Switzerland.

9. How do you juggle your time between work, rowing and equestrianism?

Juggling my time can be a bit difficult. Training on top of 12-hour shifts makes for extremely long days. I am so lucky though that I have an incredible team of people who support me with the horses and keep their fitness regimes up during competition season whilst I’m at work, leaving me to focus on riding them on my 4 days off. Riding and training are easy when they’re so enjoyable and I think that is the secret to juggling everything!

I’m very appreciative of the opportunities I’ve been offered at Randox and how accommodating they have been when it has come to my training schedule and I’m so excited for what the future holds with both my future sporting and working careers!

10. How do you like to relax when you have time in your busy schedule?

I really enjoy training and riding so I rarely feel like I need a ‘break’ from it but when I’m not working I just love going out for dinner to relax. I just enjoy eating lots of nice food.

11. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to try a new sport or hobby, or take one they have already to the next level?

I think whenever you take up a new hobby or sport you may not enjoy it that much at first, as chances are you won’t be very good at it! The key is to persevere and also find people who make it fun. A community of supportive people is the best thing about any sport. If you want to push yourself to the next level you just have to be prepared to work hard and do things that you haven’t done before. That’s how you’re going to make progress at the end of the day.

 

We are delighted to have Charlotte with us at Randox as part of our COVID-19 testing programme.

For current vacancies at Randox please visit randox.getgotjobs.co.uk

For more We Are Randox stories about our amazing colleagues, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and follow the hashtag #WeAreRandox.

For further information please contact Randox PR by emailing randoxpr@randox.com

 

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23rd October 2021: 20 million tests across the National Testing Programme and testing for travel

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23RD OCTOBER 2021: THE 20 MILLION MILESTONE 

We are pleased to let you know that on 23rd October 2021, Randox processed its 20 millionth across the UK COVID-19 National Testing Programme and testing for international travel.

That’s an incredible 20 million samples processed by our dedicated and talented staff.

Our staff are our best asset and have risen to the challenge this pandemic has created.

They have worked hard and flexibly, been creative and innovative, and pulled together as a team to make an impact in the fight against COVID-19.

We are very proud of their efforts and teamwork.

Let us once again say thank you to each and every member of Team Randox, for the efforts they have made.

What we do at Randox remains vital to the national and global management of COVID-19 and our work is making a real and positive difference.

We continue to work hard and improve, for the sake of our family, friends and communities.

For further information please email randoxpr@randox.com

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15th May 2021: 13 million tests on the National Testing Programme

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15TH MAY 2021: THE 13 MILLION MILESTONE 

We are pleased to let you know that on 15th May 2021, Randox processed its 13 millionth sample within the UK COVID-19 National Testing Programme.

That’s an incredible 13 million samples processed by our dedicated and talented staff.

Our staff are our best asset and have risen to the challenge this pandemic has created.

They have worked hard and flexibly, been creative and innovative, and pulled together as a team to make an impact in the fight against COVID-19.

We are very proud of their efforts and teamwork.

Let us once again say thank you to each and every member of Team Randox, for the efforts they have made.

What we do at Randox remains vital to the national and global management of COVID-19 and our work is making a real and positive difference.

We continue to work hard and improve, for the sake of our family, friends and communities.

For further information please email randoxpr@randox.com

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9th April 2021: 12 million tests on the National Testing Programme

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09TH APRIL 2021: THE 12 MILLION MILESTONE 

We are pleased to let you know that on 09th April 2021, Randox processed its 12 millionth sample within the UK COVID-19 National Testing Programme.

That’s an incredible 12 million samples processed by our dedicated and talented staff.

Our staff are our best asset and have risen to the challenge this pandemic has created.

They have worked hard and flexibly, been creative and innovative, and pulled together as a team to make an impact in the fight against COVID-19.

We are very proud of their efforts and teamwork.

Let us once again say thank you to each and every member of Team Randox, for the efforts they have made.

What we do at Randox remains vital to the national and global management of COVID-19 and our work is making a real and positive difference.

We continue to work hard and improve, for the sake of our family, friends and communities.

For further information please email randoxpr@randox.com

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11th March 2021: 11 million tests on the National Testing Programme

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11TH MARCH 2021: THE 11 MILLION MILESTONE 

We are pleased to let you know that on 11th March 2021, Randox processed its 11 millionth sample within the UK COVID-19 National Testing Programme.

That’s an incredible 11 million samples processed by our dedicated and talented staff.

Our staff are our best asset and have risen to the challenge this pandemic has created.

They have worked hard and flexibly, been creative and innovative, and pulled together as a team to make an impact in the fight against COVID-19.

We are very proud of their efforts and teamwork.

Let us once again say thank you to each and every member of Team Randox, for the efforts they have made.

What we do at Randox remains vital to the national and global management of COVID-19 and our work is making a real and positive difference.

We continue to work hard and improve, for the sake of our family, friends and communities.

For further information please email randoxpr@randox.com

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The race that never was: 2020 Randox Health Grand National trophy is unveiled at 2021 Weights event – with a special tribute to the late Rose Paterson

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16 February 2021:

The race that never was: 2020 Randox Health Grand National trophy is unveiled at 2021 Weights event – with a special tribute to the late Rose Paterson

The trophy for the 2020 Randox Health Grand National – the race that never was – has been unveiled today during the 2021 Weights event, with a special tribute to the late Rose Paterson.

Shown to the public for the first time during the event which was shown live on Racing TV, the 2020 trophy was designed by silversmith Cara Murphy, who like Randox, is also from Northern Ireland.  The design reflects Randox’s commitment to better healthcare through improved testing.

Having made the trophy in 2020, Cara has since been commissioned by Randox to update the design with a delicate silver rose on its edge, to honour the memory of Aintree Chairman Rose Paterson.

 

Dr Peter FitzGerald, Randox Managing Director, commented;

 “It is very fitting that this wonderful trophy should be shown now, at a time when we all have a better understanding and appreciation of diagnostic testing, as a result of the terrible COVID-19 pandemic.

“But I am particularly pleased that with its unveiling, we can pay tribute to the remarkable Rose Paterson.  Rose, in her role as Chairman of Aintree, had remarkable vision and energy and achieved so much for the racing public, for the owners, trainers and jockeys and, most importantly, for equine welfare. 

“She was a wonderful person to know, both personally and professionally, and really made a lasting mark at Aintree.  She will be greatly missed and we extend our deepest sympathies to Owen and the whole family.”

Designed in solid silver, the 2020 trophy, which features unique and intricate stands of gold proteins and antibodies held within a 50cm diameter circle, differs to that of its 2017, 18 and 19 counterparts by way of its shield-like shape.

Encircling the outside of the shield is the Biochip – Randox’s proprietary technology for diagnosis of ill-health and disease – and a red enamel roundel is positioned in the logo, symbolising a drop of blood which enables Randox to carry out a range of innovative tests.

Silversmith Cara Murphy commented;

 “Little did I know when I began researching Randox’s testing capabilities, that it would go on to play such a prominent role in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that words like testing and antibodies would now be used so regularly in everyday conversation.

“Almost a year since the trophy was completed and things have changed so significantly – but I was honoured to have the opportunity to commemorate the life of Aintree Chairman Rose Paterson in the update we have made to my design.

“The 2020 trophy has been a fantastic project to work on, and a great Northern Ireland collaboration between Randox and myself.”

As in previous years, the 2020 Randox Health Grand National trophy is accompanied by miniature team trophies. In their first year as sponsor, Randox introduced the concept of presenting the entire winning team with a trophy, to celebrate the combined effort that goes in to achieving such a special victory. In both 2018 and 2019, they went to Tiger Roll’s winning team; trainer Gordon Elliott, jockey Davy Russell, and groom Louise Dunne.

A new charity in honour of the life of Rose Paterson, The Rose Paterson Trust, is due to be launched at the Randox Grand National in April 2021.

For further information or to organise interviews please email Amy Millar in the Randox PR team on randoxpr@randox.com or phone 028 9442 2413.

 

 

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Randox processes 10 millionth test and details investment in testing capacity

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11 February 2021:

RANDOX PROCESSES 10 MILLIONTH COVID-19 TEST AND DETAILS INVESTMENT IN TESTING CAPACITY

Randox today confirms that it has processed its 10 millionth sample for the UK’s COVID-19 National Testing Programme, making it the first Pillar 2 testing laboratory to achieve this milestone.  This achievement is based upon a £85 million investment since March 2020 in facilities and equipment at Randox’s laboratories in Northern Ireland.

As a key partner laboratory from initiation of the UK’s National Testing Programme in March 2020, Randox quickly ramped up its testing capacity.  Randox’s response has involved recruitment of over 850 new staff , the building and equipping of over 80,000 sq ft of new molecular laboratory space and the development of new innovations in testing technology. These efforts have seen Randox’s COVID-19 testing capacity grow from 150 tests per day in March 2020 to over 120,000 samples per day today, making Randox the largest throughput laboratory in the UK and Ireland and amongst the biggest in Europe.

Randox Founder and Managing Director, Dr Peter FitzGerald, said:

This milestone is an incredible achievement and testament to the dedication and hard work of our teams, who have pulled together at a time of national crisis and whose non-stop efforts are vital to enable the country to return to both social and economic normality.

“We will continue to build our capacity and develop new cutting-edge testing equipment to support the fight against COVID-19.   We’ve all learnt from this pandemic the importance of early and accurate testing and Randox is committed to investing in diagnostic technology to meet future health challenges.”

Contact information:

For further information or to organise interviews please email Amy Millar in the Randox PR team on randoxpr@randox.com or phone 028 9442 2413.

 

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We Are Randox | How Laura became a COVID-19 Laboratory Manager

11 February 2021

We Are Randox | How Laura became a COVID-19 Laboratory Manager

Randox is a key partner laboratory in the UK Government’s COVID-19 Testing Programme.

For an idea of what it’s like to be part of the COVID-19 testing programme at Randox, we spoke to Laboratory Manager Laura Cummings.

Laura spoke to us about what a typical day in our laboratories looks like, the career path she took to her current role, and how it feels to be making a difference in the global fight against COVID-19.

Name: Laura Cummings

Job Title: Laboratory Manager

Department: COVID-19 Laboratories

Can you describe a typical working day in the Randox COVID labs?

As the UK and Ireland’s largest COVID testing facility, Randox is critical to the national response to the pandemic. We run up to 120,000 daily tests for the UK Government’s National Testing Programme so the timely release of accurate and reliable results is key. We have a big focus on quality and are always looking for ways to improve our policies and processes. We have, for example, introduced a range of innovative robotic systems which automate the unpacking and racking of samples before they get tested by our scientists.  All this takes very active management.

What are the main duties of your role?

Our staff work 24|7 and my role as a Laboratory Manager is to make sure that they have everything they need to do their job. I ensure that the lab runs smoothly, provide solutions for any issues that may arise, and monitor the performance of the testing process.

What has been your educational route to this post? 

I studied Biological Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast and then worked in England for a few years, in an organic chemistry lab. I was really fortunate to be able to move back home, and find a job not just in my field of science, but in a company that has made such an impact in the fight against coronavirus. I’m very grateful that the team at Randox have recognised my skills and achievements and given me valuable opportunities for career progression, including my recent promotion to Manager of one of the COVID labs.

How does your work as a COVID Laboratory Manager make the world a better place?

I’m proud to be directly involved in COVID testing, which plays such a vital role in the effort to contain and reduce the spread of the virus, and to be making a difference for the sake of our family, friends and communities. We recently reached a key milestone in reporting 9 million COVID-19 tests to the National Testing Progamme – and by the time you read this we will be closing in on 10 million.

What do you really like about your job?

Randox has employed more than 850 new staff into the COVID labs, and to work with and learn from such a diverse and multi-disciplined team has been really rewarding. Everyone has risen to the challenge this pandemic has created and I am proud of how we have all pulled together as a team in a time of great need.

What is your perception of future career prospects in the diagnostics industry?

I think the future of the diagnostics industry is very bright and those thinking of a career in this area should definitely get involved. In setting up the Randox COVID labs we have done something which was never seen before in terms of infrastructure, capacity, and service, and across society there is an improved understanding of the importance of testing. I believe that this, coupled with further advancements in technology, will be a catalyst for more personalised healthcare individually tailored to each patient.

We are delighted to have Laura with us at Randox as part of our COVID-19 testing programme.

 

For current vacancies at Randox please visit randox.getgotjobs.co.uk

For more We Are Randox stories about our amazing colleagues, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and follow the hashtag #WeAreRandox.

For further information please email recruitment@randox.com or phone 028 9442 2413.

 

 

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23rd January 2021: 9 million tests on the National Testing Programme

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23RD JANUARY 2021: THE 9 MILLION MILESTONE 

We are pleased to let you know that on 23rd January 2021, Randox reported its 9 millionth test result to the UK COVID-19 National Testing Programme.

That’s an incredible 9 million samples processed, tested and reported by our dedicated and talented staff.

Our staff are our best asset and have risen to the challenge this pandemic has created.

They have worked hard and flexibly, been creative and innovative, and pulled together as a team to make an impact in the fight against COVID-19.

We are very proud of their efforts and teamwork.

Let us once again say thank you to each and every member of Team Randox, for the efforts they have made.

What we do at Randox remains vital to the national and global management of COVID-19 and our work is making a real and positive difference.

We continue to work hard and improve, for the sake of our family, friends and communities.

For further information please email randoxpr@randox.com

 

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7th January 2021: 8 million tests on the National Testing Programme

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7TH JANUARY 2021: THE 8 MILLION MILESTONE 

We are pleased to let you know that on 7th January 2021, Randox reported its 8 millionth test result to the UK COVID-19 National Testing Programme.

That’s an incredible 8 million samples processed, tested and reported by our dedicated and talented staff.

Our staff are our best asset and have risen to the challenge this pandemic has created.

They have worked hard and flexibly, been creative and innovative, and pulled together as a team to make an impact in the fight against COVID-19.

We are very proud of their efforts and teamwork.

Let us once again say thank you to each and every member of Team Randox, for the efforts they have made.

What we do at Randox remains vital to the national and global management of COVID-19 and our work is making a real and positive difference.

We continue to work hard and improve, for the sake of our family, friends and communities.

For further information please email randoxpr@randox.com

 

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