We Are Randox | Tech Trailblazer Margaret Le Roux
Tech Trailblazers: Margaret Le Roux
Sync NI, in celebration of Women in Tech, recently spoke with our IT Operations Team Leader Margaret.
Read on as Margaret share’s her typical day, the favourite thing about her job, and how her specialist role at Randox combines a degree in Biomedical Science with a passion for software development.
Name: Margaret Le Roux
Role: IT Operations Team Leader, Randox Laboratories
I graduated from the University of Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe), as a Biomedical Scientist in 1980. My career in South Africa was then predominantly in the clinical laboratory medicine field, and I qualified as a Technical Assessor for clinical laboratories through the South African National Accreditation System. I moved to Belfast in 2014 and started work with Randox.
What does your typical day look like?
I work in an IT Operations role bridging our science and quality control software, which assesses the accuracy and reliability of blood tests, and the machines they are run on, in the likes of hospitals, laboratories, and veterinary clinics. On a typical day, I deal with customer queries about this software, troubleshoot the issues, and drive new developments to improve our systems and applications. I also spend time training Randox staff, mentoring some of my junior colleagues, and speaking at Biomedical Science Conferences to educate others in the industry about the importance of quality control software.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on the specification for our external quality assessment software, which involves a mock blood sample being run in a laboratory’s analyser, and the result being sent back to Randox so that we can independently check that it is performing correctly.
I have also been working on the software project that saw Randox win ‘Project Team of the Year’ at the 2019 Belfast Telegraph IT Awards. This cloud-based quality control technology was specifically designed for ‘Point of Care’ machines which provide finger prick blood tests for conditions like heart disease and diabetes, in pharmacies, GP surgeries and A&E departments.
Did you always want to work in the tech industry?
I have been very lucky that my specialist role at Randox combines my degree in Biomedical Science, and my experience in QC, with my passion for software development. In South Africa, I worked as a Quality Officer for a large private laboratory, with 3 main laboratories and over 100 peripheral sites across 10 African countries. The management of quality control data was a huge job and as such I became interested in a software program that could assist the lab with this task.
What inspired you to join Randox in particular?
Whilst working in South Africa, I was one of Randox’s customers, and made extensive use of their quality control products. Randox has always had a very good reputation in South Africa so when I moved to Belfast it was a natural choice for me.
What’s your favourite part about your work?
It’s a great feeling when we introduce a new release to our software and you know that the customers are going to benefit from it.
What would you say to other people considering a job in the tech industry?
A job in the tech industry is simultaneously exciting and challenging, as each day brings something new. You will continually be making improvements and striving to make something better, which is a good work ethic. It’s really satisfying when you are part of a team which develops a software program that is so well accepted in the market and useful to the customer.
How do you see this technology impacting on our lives?
The technology industry is so fluid and moving at such a fast pace, and there are developments across all industries which are making our lives easier. At Randox in particular, our software is helping a range of healthcare professionals – whether laboratory technicians, clinicians or veterinarians – to achieve our shared goal of saving and improving the lives of patients. It’s rewarding to know we are making a difference.
Who inspired you to work in this field?
In the field of Quality Control, I was inspired by Dr Pandelani Rambau, a Clinical Pathologist from Johannesburg. In IT, it was a colleague Sean Dicks who showed me that there is always a way to get a program to do what you need it to do.
What do you consider to be the most important tech innovation or development in recent years?
The development of communication devices has been incredibly important. They open up the whole world to us and we can access things, both socially and for education, that previously were only available to a few. They have brought so much information to our fingertips.
What tech gadget could you not live without?
I couldn’t live without my phone, because it is so much more than just a phone. It holds all the important things that make up my life, like messages, memories, and my calendar.
To find out more about Randox IT and the vacancies we have in the team, please email email@example.com
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.
Want to know more?
Contact us or visit our Randox Careers
Find out more about Randox Careers
Providing young women with positive role models is crucial if we are to inspire them to take up a career in science, technology, engineering or maths.
That’s why we’re sharing the stories and experiences of our own female scientists, software developers, engineers and mathematicians, and those of STEMinists from other key employers and organisations within Northern Ireland.
We hope that we by sharing their experiences we can encourage young women across the country to truly consider a career in STEM.
Our Randox Scientists
Dr Sarah Gildea, Senior Research and Development Scientist, Randox Laboratories
Aimee Anderson, Biomedical Scientist, Randox Clinical Laboratory Services
Dr Kenneth Martin, Senior Research and Development Scientist, Randox Laboratories
Lauren Cairns, Science Placement Student, Randox Laboratories
Nadine Cutliffe, Research and Development Scientist, Randox Laboratories
Ann-Marie Jennings, Laboratory Manager, Randox Clinical Laboratory Services
Georgia Mitchell, Graduate R&D Scientist, Randox Laboratories
Nadine McKerrow, Graduate R&D Scientist, Randox Laboratories
Patrcyja Roszkowska, Science Placement Student, Randox Laboratories
Rebecca Aldous, Graduate R&D Scientist, Randox Laboratories
Misha Piracha, Clinical Team Leader, Randox Clinical Laboratory Services
James Breen, Laboratory Analyst, Randox Clinical Laboratory Services
Tanya McKinty, Data Analyst, Randox Laboratories
Linda Magee, Biochemist and Global Human Resources Manager, Randox Laboratories
Marie McGarvey, Clinical Research Scientist, Randox Laboratories
Our Randox Technology Team
Andrew Sharp, Software Development Team Leader, Randox Laboratories
Jo-Ann Pearson, Software Developer, Randox Laboratories
Rebecca Long, IT Placement Student, Randox Laboratories
Clare Calgie, Software Developer, Randox Laboratories
Our Randox Engineers
Maryrose McLoone, Mechanical Design Engineer, Randox Laboratories
Harisree Padmaja Kumari Sreekantan Nair, Electrical and Electronic Design Engineer, Randox Laboratories
Our Randox Mathematicians
Emma McElnea, Pricing Analyst, Randox Laboratories
Our partners in STEM
Joanne Stuart, Director of Development, Catalyst Inc.
Dr Christabel Evans, Thermosets and Thermoplastics Research Associate, Ulster University School of Engineering
Professor Tom Millar, Astrophysicist and Director of Queen's University Belfast SWAN Initiative
Melissa Duddy, Manufacturing Engineer, Bombardier
Charlene Armstrong, Aerothermal Engineer, Bombardier
Johann Muldoon MBE, Director, Manor Architects
The Randox STEM Challenge is aimed at tackling the gender divide and skills gap in the science, technology, engineering and maths industry. On average in the UK women make up just 9% of the engineering workforce. Though Randox is bucking the trend with almost 16% of female engineers, it is still keen to challenge itself to encourage more women to view it as a viable career option.
Click on each Randox STEM initiative below to read more about it.
At Randox we have launched a new returnship scheme which is being supported by the NI Chamber of Commerce. The six-month programme is designed for people who have had a break of two years or more. It will challenge society’s misconceptions surrounding career breaks and support both men and women in restarting their careers.
Providing young women with positive role models is crucial if we are to inspire them to take up a career in science, technology, engineering or maths. That's why Randox has teamed up with other key employers and organisations within Northern Ireland to celebrate the work of STEMinists across the country and share their stories.
Over 50 students from Northern Ireland took part in the first annual ‘STEM Challenge’ hosted at the Randox Science Park. The event, held on International Women in Engineering Day, rounded off a week during which global diagnostics company Randox unveiled a number of initiatives to celebrate and promote women in STEM.
“Have you always known that you wanted to be an Engineer?”
“Is there opportunity for career progression and promotion within Engineering?”
“So you do for the Randox machines what app developers do for smartphones?”
These were just some of the astute and intriguing questions posed by students of Dungannon Integrated College, Drumcree College Portadown, and St Ciaran’s Ballygawley, to our Randox Software Engineer, Ciara Shaw, at Armagh Planetarium’s Ask A Scientist Event on Friday 18th November.
The event took place as part of Science Week 2016, organised by the Science Foundation Ireland, and the day took the format of a Speed Networking session. Students each spent 10 minutes chatting with a scientist, asking them all the questions they’ve ever wanted to know about careers in STEM, and then moved on to the next candidate!
This year the event had a particularly exciting twist – all the scientists involved were women!
Ciara was one of a group of nine women with a career in STEM – science, technology, engineering and maths – who took the time to meet with the students in attendance to chat to them about working in STEM.
As a hard-working and proud engineer, Ciara took the opportunity to inspire young women to take up STEM subjects for their GCSEs and A-Levels.
Currently, only 9% of the UK’s engineering and technology workforce is made up of women, a statistic which Ciara highlighted in her key note speech at the Ask A Scientist event.
Following the event, she commented;
“I’ve always been interested in IT and Engineering and so it surprises me that only 9% of the engineering and technology workforce in the UK is made up of women. I wanted to showcase to the pupils at the Ask A Scientist Event today that working in STEM is an exciting and valid career choice for women as much as it is for men. At Randox alone there are opportunities to work across a wide range of STEM disciplines – software developers and testers, IT support, engineers, research scientists, mathematicians working in finance and accounts…the list goes on. I hope that through today’s event I was able to encourage some pupils to choose to study STEM subjects at school, so that they can aspire to these jobs in their future.”
Chatting to the pupils in their Q&A sessions, Ciara found the pupils had aspirations in abundance.
“One pupil told me they wanted to be an Orthopaedic Surgeon, and another said they were going to be an Architectural Engineer. It was amazing getting the chance to listen to their hopes and plans for the future, and hopefully by answering their questions, helping them get on the path to achieving their goals.”
Joining Ciara at the event were representatives from the CSI Service of the PSNI; Siobhan Stevenson, Head of Collections Care at National Museums Northern Ireland; Kerry, Heather and Sam, Education Support Officers at the Armagh Planeatarium; and a number of PhD students currently carrying out their research at Armagh Observatory, including Eliceth Rojas-Montes, who gave a key note speech on her astronomy research.
Each scientist was able to provide the students with an insight into their line of work, and similarly share their experiences and knowledge with the other scientists!
Juie Shetye, PhD student at Armagh Observatory, said she was delighted to be able learn about different areas of science from the other scientists and engineers.
And Ciara agreed.
“Each area of science is so niche that our areas of work are worlds apart,” she commented.
“It’s been an extremely enjoyable day celebrating the work of Women in STEM and being positive role models for young women considering a job in the STEM industries.”
For more information about this event please contact our PR team via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For current STEM vacancies at Randox, please visit our Careers website.