University of Sheffield technicians feature in new exhibition 

University of Sheffield technician Anne Gregory

TDM are happy to support the Technicians Make it Happen campaign and the two University of Sheffield technicians that feature in their new exhibition, launching today.

Anne Gregory (pictured above), Technical Team Lead in the Department of Neuroscience, and Helen Wright (pictured below), Teaching Technician in Bioengineering both feature in the showcase of technicians which has launched at New Scientist Live in London.

The exhibition is a result of a collaboration between Lord Sainsbury’s Gatsby Foundation and renowned photographer Leonora Saunders.

The new exhibition seeks to inspire the next generation of technicians and celebrate the 1.5 million technicians currently working across the UK.

There really has never been a better time to become a technician.

Michelle Rea, Gatsby

Michelle Rea, Gatsby Education team, said: “We want to show people the wealth of careers they can unlock by training as a technician.

“We have case studies from the technicians who are leading on ground-breaking neuroscience research, as well as case studies from award-winning textile technicians. There’s a role to suit everyone.

"There really has never been a better time to become a technician."

Here at TDM, we welcome this campaign to raise the visibility and recognition of technicians along with the Technician Commitment, for which we are proud to be a resource partner.

The TDM team is delighted that issues affecting the technical workforce are finally finding their way into the spotlight. We are confident that the work of the Technicians Make it Happen campaign and the Technician Commitment will greatly benefit the technical community and we look forward to continuing to work together to address the issues that the sector currently faces. 

The TDM team of experts, in collaboration with an extensive group of universities, have developed a clear understanding of the challenges facing HE technical staff and services, including:

  • Lack of consistent career pathways
  • Ineffective workforce planning due to limited understanding of technical workforce
  • Lack of effective recruitment and development to support succession planning
  • Lack of effective Continuing Professional Development recording
  • Poor signposting of development opportunities for technicians

Our HEI Technical Resources Toolkit, launching in Autumn 2017, was developed in response to these challenges.

The Technicians Make it Happen exhibition kicks off on 28th September at New Scientist Live and will then go on tour over the next year.

Go to the Technicians Make it Happen website to read all the case studies of real life technicians from a range of subjects, and read a profile of Helen Wright below. 

University of Sheffield technician Helen Wright

Helen Wright - Teaching Technician, Bioengineering

Helen Wright is a Teaching Technician in Bioengineering here at the University of Sheffield. As a technician, she’s in charge of the day-to-day running and upkeep of her laboratory, which includes looking after the £500,000 worth of equipment within it.

Helen works in a multidisciplinary department which means there is always an opportunity to get involved with other subjects outside of Bioengineering.

One day she’s in her own lab genetically engineering bacteria and the next she is controlling a Cessna 172 on a flight simulation, or making LEDs in the Clean Room.

Helen has worked with other technicians using Virtual Reality, made her own screwdriver, trained aerospace students and taught primary school pupils how to programme robots -  “no two days are ever the same!” she says. 

Helen’s role also involves teaching Undergraduate and Masters students and she comes up with teaching activities and experiments for them.

“I absolutely love working with students and I’m always amazed by the ideas, questions and inspiration we share everyday.”

I absolutely love working with students and I'm always amazed by the ideas, questions and inspiration we share everyday. 

Helen wright, teaching technician

“When I left school, I knew I wanted to do something in Biology but I never even considered teaching because I was terrified of public speaking – now I love it!”

Helen also really enjoys the time spent in the lab performing all of the ‘behind the scenes’ magic.

“I never stop learning and I never stop being completely overawed by some of the incredible science and engineering I am a part of every day.”

“Being a technician provides me with the opportunity to develop my experience doing the two things I love - teaching and working in the lab performing real life experiments!”