Meet Raymond Lam

Operations Training Supervisor – Slade Health

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Raymond Lam - A pioneer of training

A keen cyclist and unshakeable Melbournite, Raymond Lam has been Operations Training Supervisor at Slade Health’s Mount Waverley facility since 2017.

Slade has been part of Icon Group’s Pharmacy division since 2015. Raymond finds fulfilment in helping new staff understand their roles while building their confidence and maintaining their enthusiasm. Raymond’s role is critical, because when it comes to aseptic compounding – each patient’s order is different. And when you’re providing chemotherapy drugs and other products for patients across Australia – your impact is truly at scale.

“The most satisfying part of my role is knowing that once the technicians are trained, every product they make is going towards a patient, and it will either save their lives or extend their lives.”

Training the next generation

When new staff step onto the floor at Slade Health’s Mount Waverley production facility, they usually feel a mixture of nerves, excitement and enthusiasm.

Raymond Lam’s goal? To foster that eagerness and positivity while ensuring the recruits gain the exacting knowledge and precision skills required as Production Technicians.

Raymond and his team are energised by the challenges their roles present them.  Production technician recruits come from varying backgrounds. Many have science degrees while others are new to this world entirely. But regardless of the path they took to get to Raymond and his team, they haven’t received formal training in the very niche field of medication manufacturing. And it’s essential they’re extremely well trained and competent in this area to ensure the best treatment for our immunocompromised patients.

Raymond doesn’t see bringing recruits up to speed as an obstacle. In fact – he relishes the opportunity.

“It’s a fulfilling job. You get exposure to people from the day they start – when they are most excited. We want to make sure that enthusiasm stays. We want new starters to enjoy themselves but also understand clearly what their job involves.”

Raymond has been Operations Training Supervisor at Mount Waverley since 2017. Over that time, something of a Matryoshka doll scenario has developed – he’s trained nine trainers at the Waverley facility, and now the trainers he’s trained, are training the next generation of staff.

“I almost feel like a grandfather,” Raymond laughs. “It’s a good feeling to see two to three generations of trainers all wanting to be part of the team and trying new things.”

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Becoming a trainer

Raymond’s desire to become an Operations Training Supervisor at Slade Health stemmed from his own experience as a trainee – and not being afraid to put his hand up for opportunities.

“I struggled a bit when I first started at Slade with things like learning how to compound. My trainer was very patient with me; he explained things in a way that was easy to understand. So, I decided then and there I would like to pass my experience on to others. I wanted to give new starters confidence and to put them in a good mindset for learning.”

Raymond says his trainer impressed upon him the importance of avoiding errors, but also stressed that it’s hard to learn without making mistakes.

It’s a mentality Raymond has paid forward to every person he’s trained at Mount Waverley.

“When we’re training, we try to take the pressure off. We tell trainees how important it is to get things right. But we don’t tell them the price of a drug they’re working on, for instance, because it could scare them and they’ll be more likely to make a mistake!” he laughs.

Being a trainer is character-building. Naturally, there are ups and downs when new starts are learning the ropes. And, if Raymond finds himself in need of recharging, he takes to the hills with his bike. It’s a hobby he first discovered on a cycling trip with a friend, visiting temples across Shinkoku, Japan.

Growing with Slade

When Raymond first started at Slade as a Production Technician in 2013, he chose to work night shifts. He’d just completed a computer engineering degree through the University of Melbourne and was toying with the idea of starting a software design business. But it wasn’t to be!

Although Raymond’s initial business vision fell through, he has found a receptive environment for his innovative mind at Slade. We’ve embraced his tech know-how and creativity, and he’s been given the flexibility to approach training processes from many different perspectives.

“Aseptic compounding is our main business at Slade but it’s not something you learn at school. We need to teach a completely new concept and there are many creative ways you can do that. I’ve used my ideas – often technology-based, but not always – to help explain new ideas to people.”

In some ways, Raymond’s journey with us has mirrored Slade Health’s journey.

“Ever since I started at Slade, we’ve always been improving. We’re always striving for growth. When I started in 2013, we just had the Mount Waverley production site. Within a few short years, it’s become Mount Waverley, Mount Kuringai and Geebung, plus we’re going to be in Auckland soon, too.”

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