Our new national centre for technicians

Since 2014 we’ve been leading a £400k-scheme to tackle a black hole in universities’ technical expertise. To further this vital work, we've launched the UK’s first national centre for university technicians

Natalie Kennerley

Our new centre – The National Centre for Technical Development and Modernisation –  will work to improve efficiency by providing a national framework for standardised job titles, grading and career pathways across the technical workforce. It will also examine and signpost best practice in areas of technical training and development.

Terry Croft, Director of Technical Development and Modernisation, said: “A lot of work has taken place to research and promote the key role and contribution the professional technical workforce plays across the UK, but there is still too little understanding of their vital role – both in universities and beyond. This has led to shortages especially in the highly skilled fields of operation.

"Our new National Centre for Technical Development and Modernisation will galvanise the higher education sector to publicise the career opportunities available for technicians in the UK – helping universities attract and retain the best talent and develop a workforce that is fit for the research challenges ahead.”

In Sheffield, our scientific technicians have worked on the Hadron Collider in CERN and they are true partners in addressing the great medical and environmental challenges of our time.

Vice-Chancellor

Our Vice-Chancellor Sir Keith Burnett said: "Technicians have always been vital to the very best research and teaching in universities, and their contribution has been undervalued for too long.

“In Sheffield, our scientific technicians have worked on the Hadron Collider in CERN and they are true partners in addressing the great medical and environmental challenges of our time. For this reason, I am very proud of our work to support and recognise this vital and skilled group of professionals and to enhance their career development, which is so crucial for our world-leading universities and the UK economy."

The new centre will also look at how to communicate the merits of the profession to new graduates, school leavers and those wanting a career change – those who may have been previously unaware of the opportunities available. In partnership with the Institute of Science and Technology, the professional body for technical, managerial and specialist staff, it will bring a wealth of expertise and knowledge through one major hub to further support and resolve issues affecting universities across the UK now and in the years to come.

The expertise of the team at the new national centre is available to universities across the UK and also covers a number of strategic issues around business continuity, succession planning, restructuring for the 21st century, technical staff reviews and other related areas.

Did you know? Research by the Technician Council found the UK must educate another 450,000 technicians across all sectors by 2020 to address a massive skills shortage.

If you’re a technician, take a look at our Technical Development and Modernisation project for information about applying for professional registration and upcoming TechNet events – TechNet provides a platform to discuss, collaborate and improve the way you work.