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The University of Southampton
Technicians at Southampton

Technician Commitment

The Technician Commitment

The Technician Commitment (TC) is a UK University and research institution initiative, led by a steering group of sector bodies, with support from the Science Council and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation’s Technician’s Make it Happen campaign.

The University of Southampton became a signatory of the Technician Commitment on 30 October 2018 and pledged to act against the key challenges affecting technical staff in four key areas of visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability.

In 2019 we submitted our first self-assessment and a 24-month (2020-2021) action plan.

In 2021 we submitted our second self-assessment and a 36 month (2022-2025) action plan .

Professor Michael Butler is Chair of the TC Steering Group. He says:

" Technical staff play in integral role in University of Southampton’s success, ensuring the smooth operation of a broad range of scientific and creative facilities and supporting our staff to deliver excellent education, research and enterprise, as well as contributing to an outstanding experience for our undergraduate and postgraduate community. Through our Technician Commitment programme, we are working hard to implement change in every area to ensure technical staff are valued, are visible, succeed with their career ambitions and we have a sustainable pipeline of talent for the University’s future ."

Like so many employers we have experienced a skills shortage at the technician level. The Technician Commitment is geared towards encouraging and supporting those who have already chosen a career as a technician, as well as inspiring young people, particularly those that are naturally analytical, practical and real problem-solvers, to consider becoming part of the next generation of the nation’s much needed technicians.

The Technician Commitment provides a voice for our technical staff to share their ideas, provide feedback to the senior management and network with colleagues from across the University. For those applying for roles at the University they can be sure the University is committed to, and values the contribution made by, our technical staff.

The University became a Partner Affiliate of the National Technician Development Centre (NTDC) , with effect from 1 February 2021. This partnership with the NTDC will provide tools to support the development of formal technical career pathways and embed these strategies within the wider University.

What’s next?

The implementation group is now preparing to deliver the new 36 month (2022-2025) action plan which will enable the University of Southampton to continue to focus on the four key pillars of the Technician Commitment:

  1. Visibility - Ensure that all technicians within the organisation are identifiable and that the contribution of technicians is visible within and beyond the institution.
  2. Recognition – Support technicians to gain recognition through professional registration and HEA Fellowship. Seek opportunities for technical representation at University-wide initiatives. Recognise the contribution of technical staff to research via Fair Attribution Guidance.
  3. Career Development – Enable career progression opportunities for technicians through the provision of clear, documented career pathways.
  4. Sustainability – Ensure the future sustainability of technical skills across the organisation and that technical expertise is fully utilised.

To support the implementation of the University’s Technician Commitment (TC) action plan, the University has appointed four Technical Leads, from each of the faculties with large numbers of technicians. These leads will each be responsible for delivering the plan’s objectives in line with each of these four key areas.

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