Technicians are a vital part of this and every university. They are an innovative community with a diverse range of talents across a broad array of disciplines. They provide the technical expertise that is essential to support teaching, research and knowledge transfer. I’m sure many undergraduate and postgraduate students will, like me, remember the kind technician who helped them through various crises of confidence just as clearly as their lecturing staff or supervisors. The UK faces a shortage of technicians across all industries and this is one of the reasons why universities are acting now to ensure that technician roles are valued, recognised, developed and sustained.
I was really pleased to hear that, through the hard work of a team of people here at Cardiff, we were one of the first signatories to the Technician Commitment and I’d like to thank the Working Group, which will be Chaired by Carolyn Donoghue and in particular Fiona Gagg, Rhodri Baker and Liese Ganderton who have worked with other technicians to get the Technician Conference launched, encourage engagement with HEaTED and started the Technet Yammer group. Colleagues from HR have also played a vital role – including Cath Hancock and Liz Connolly and I’m sure that with their enthusiasm and hard work we will ensure that our action plan is implemented.
This week I was delighted to attend an evening reception at the Tower of London to hear more about the achievements of the Technician Commitment to date and what the ambitions are for the coming years. Vice-Chancellors, technical leads, and crucially technicians themselves described the impact that this has had on them. It was especially moving to hear directly from the technicians about their improved experience and sense of pride as a result of their institutions’ commitment to this initiative and I hope we can do the same here in Cardiff. I was proud to receive a plaque on behalf of the University and as you will see from the photograph, a very friendly Beefeater was also keen to join in!