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The University of Chester became a signatory to the Technician Commitment in June 2018 as a way of recognising the important contribution skilled technical staff make to the success of the institution. The Technician Commitment is a collaborative, sector-wide initiative led by the Science Council and Gatsby Foundation to raise the profile of technical staff across the UK.

The impact of actions taken in support of the commitment to ensure their effectiveness will be regularly assessed.

The Commitment aims to ensure visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians working in higher education and research, across all disciplines:

  • Visibility: ensure all technicians within the organisation are identifiable and that the contribution of technicians is visible within and beyond the institution;
  • Recognition: support technicians to gain recognition through professional registration;
  • Career development: enable career progression opportunities for technicians through the provision of clear, documented career pathways;
  • Sustainability: ensure the future sustainability of technical skills across the organisation and that technical expertise is fully utilised.

To address these four themes the University of Chester invited all employees who fall within the scope of the technician commitment and their managers to attend focus groups which:

  1. Provided an overview of the Technicians Commitment Initiative
  2. Reaffirmed the University's commitment to this initiative
  3. Invited the views and ideas from this group of staff to inform a framework of action to address the four key issues affecting the technician community

Technicians are defined as Professional Services Staff who have specialist technical expertise and theoretical skills that are integral to the successful delivery of: high-quality teaching and research; student support; customer service and applied commercial support across a range of subject areas.​

Our Action Plan

The Action Plan for November 2018 to October 2020 was submitted to the Science Council and a Technician Commitment Steering Group was established to implement this action plan which can be accessed below:

January 2021 to December 2023

Download the 2021 to 2023 Action Plan PDF for more information.

October 2018 to December 2020

Visibility

  • Ensure Technicians can access student information to accommodate specific learning needs 
  • Explore options to raises the profile of Technicians e.g. uniform/lab coats/lanyards enabling them to be identified more easily by students/staff  
  • Invest in Glass Manifestation Statements to make Technicians more visible to students/staff
  • Create and communicate generic technician helpdesk email addresses for each department; thus, improving response rate and student experience
  • Physical Environment - ensure visibility and storage space is optimal and whether any improvements are needed/can be made
  • Establish a Central Technician Hub/dedicated platform on the University’s intranet to support/facilitate Professional Registration; Networking; Events; access to useful resources
  • Facilitate Technician Photo and Profile information on Portal and on Corporate Website; to include information about their roles; latest kit; expertise
  • Create space for Technician Photos and Profiles to be displayed in main department entrances
  • Include activities/achievements more often in the staff Forum Magazine
  • Invite Technicians to present at annual Teaching and Learning Conference and Research Conferences
  • Establish an internal annual Technician Conference/Networking event which will also provide an opportunity to celebrate achievements
  • Acknowledge the contribution of Technicians with respect to research/publications where criteria are met
  • Facilities and Estates to Involve Technicians where appropriate at planning stages of any projects that involve structural changes
  • Provide opportunities for Technician introductions during fresher’s/induction/during practical sessions for each year
  • Collaborate with other HEIs to share ideas and to provide networking/support opportunities

Recognition

  • Encourage Professional Registration; provide funding for initial registration period
  • Review pay/reward structures
  • Develop an Awards Scheme

Career Development

  • Establish a Mentoring Scheme for Technicians
  • Develop a University wide Career Pathways framework which will include all job families including Technicians
  • Invest in and pilot the CATTs HEaTED software in support of career progression

Sustainability

  • Develop a Technicians Technical Skills Matrix at team/departmental/ faculty levels to support updating of skills, enable sharing of skills/knowledge, application of skills/shadowing others, broadening skills and proactively developing staff in their roles and in support of career progression
  • To facilitate succession planning, vacancies are to be advertised initially internally where appropriate
  • Establish a Training database of upcoming training for Technicians
  • Fully Integrate Apprenticeships into the employment lifecycle of Technicians i.e. not just at the recruitment stage
  • HEaTED membership