£1m investment to create National Technician Development Centre
A new National Technician Development Centre for Higher Education is to be built in Sheffield.
The centre will provide HE institutions with access to information, expertise and tools that will enable them to create a sustainable future for their technical staff and services.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England HEFCE has awarded funding of £546,000 from its Catalyst Fund to the National Centre, which along with funding from the University of Sheffield and other partners of over £580,000, represents a total investment of £1.125M.
Professor Sir Keith Burnett, President of the Science Council and the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “Professional Technicians play a vital role in research and education, not only in industry but in the world-leading universities which drive innovation in fields ranging from science and medicine to engineering. Finding a way to nurture and develop this crucial capacity and to support individual professional development matters for individual technicians and the wider community of universities.
“I am delighted that this need has been officially recognised by funding being made available to create this National Technician Development Centre, which will be the one stop shop for all universities.”
The work of highly skilled professional technicians can often be overlooked by the Higher Education sector and the challenges of recruitment are widely known. Research by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation suggests that the UK needs 700,000 more technicians by 2020.
The expertise of the team at the new centre is available to universities across the UK and covers a number of strategic issues around restructuring technical services, business continuity, succession planning, recruitment and other related areas.
Yvonne Hawkins, HEFCE’s Director for Universities and Colleges, said: “We are extremely pleased to support these important developments for higher education and its technical workforce, which builds upon previous investment by HEFCE, the University of Sheffield and partners. Our aim through the funding provided is for the Centre to work on behalf of and for the HE sector, to continue to develop the technical workforce, deliver new ways of working in order to meet future skills needs, and provide a sustainable way forward.”