University of Sheffield Pledges to Support its Technicians

2nd June 2017

The University of Sheffield joined over 35 other UK universities and research institutions as founding signatories of the Technician Commitment The commitment aims to address key challenges facing technical staff working in research The initiative was launched at the Higher Education Technicians Summit in Warwick The University of Sheffield today (31 May 2017) joined more than 35 universities and research institutions across the UK in a pledge to support its technicians.

The Technician Commitment, a sector-wide initiative led by the Science Council and supported by the Gatsby Foundation, aims to help address key challenges facing technical staff working in research. 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. The University's role as a founding signatory of the initiative follows its support in a number of projects and initiatives concerning the professional technical community, including its national centre for university technicians - the National Centre for Technical Development and Modernisation - which was launched in 2016. The centre provides a national framework for standardised job titles, grading and career pathways across the technical workforce, with expertise and guidance available to universities across the UK. 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 at the University of Sheffield and the institutional lead for the Technician Commitment, said: -Here at the University of Sheffield 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 today (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, including the University, have signed up to become founding signatories. Nigel Thomas, Executive Director, Gatsby Education, said: -We at Gatsby recognise the importance of technicians across industry, and are pleased to be supporting the implementation of the Technician Commitment. The number of founding signatories shows how valued technicians are to the research community, and we hope that the commitment will reassure technicians that their needs are being listened to by senior leaders. In addition to the Technician Commitment, a Twitter campaign was launched at the Summit to increase the visibility of UK technicians. #ActualLivingTechnician invites technical staff to share their work on social media through pictures and stories. To find out more about the Technician Commitment, visit: www.technicians.org.uk/techniciancommitment

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