A new commitment to our technicians

Lucie N'Koy

We’ve joined more than 35 universities and research institutions across the UK in a pledge to support our technicians as part of the Technician Commitment – a sector-wide initiative aiming to help address key challenges facing technical staff.

The commitment comes at a crucial time as the demand for technicians is increasing. More than 1.5 million technicians currently work in the UK, which is expected to rise by around 70,000 each year.

Technicians have always been vital to the very best research and teaching in universities. Our scientific technicians for example have worked on the Hadron Collider in CERN and are partners in addressing the great medical and environmental challenges of our time.

Our involvement with the Technician Commitment initiative follows our support in a variety of projects and initiatives concerning our professional technical community including our Technical Development and Modernisation project, which successfully secured £400,000 from the Higher Education Funding Council for England to pioneer career pathways for technicians.

Earlier this year, we also took part in the national campaign technicians make it happen, showcasing how technicians are vital to society.

As part of the Technician Commitment, five target areas have been identified where universities and institutions will work to safeguard vital technical skills. The commitment will ensure greater visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians across all disciplines.

Terry Croft, Director of Technical Development and Modernisation and the institutional lead for the Technician Commitment, said: “We are delighted to be a founding signatory of the Technician Commitment. We continue to work on researching and promoting the key role the professional technical workforce plays across the UK, under the umbrella of the National Centre for Professional Technicians.

“The majority of sectors would come to a standstill if it wasn’t for the wide variety of skills and expertise of our professional technicians and this is also true for the higher education sector, and indeed our own University. We welcome the Technician Commitment as a way to recognise and raise the profile of the technical community.”

Belinda Phipps, CEO of the Science Council, said: “The Science Council has been working to increase the visibility and professional recognition of technicians and to improve their development opportunities at all career stages. We are delighted to be leading on the Technician Commitment and to be working with partners across the higher education and research sector to elevate the status and profile of technicians. By working collectively we can ensure the future prosperity of technical skills in higher education and research.”

The commitment was launched on 31 May 2017 at the Higher Education Technicians Summit in Warwick. Following a panel discussion with representatives from the funding, higher education and research communities, a video unveiled the news that dozens of institutions have signed up to become founding signatories.

Get involved on Twitter

In addition to the Technician Commitment, a Twitter campaign was launched at the Summit to increase the visibility of UK technicians.

If you're a technician, #ActualLivingTechnician invites you to share your work on social media through pictures and stories.