HEFCE Catalyst Work stream 2 - Technician Skills Capture survey

What is the HEFCE Catalyst Project?
The University of Sheffield recently secured Catalyst project funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). This funding will pioneer work to enhance the career development and progression within the technical workforce in higher education (HE) and address the growing skills gap which threatens our future success in high priority subject areas.

The project will focus primarily on addressing career progression within the higher education technician community.

What is the Technician Skills Capture survey?
A key objective of the project is to develop a toolkit to be used by HE institutions across the UK to help identify and address their local skill needs. A key tool within this kit will be a technician skills capture survey - an online questionnaire to capture information about the breadth and level of skills of their technical workforce.

University of Exeter, Technical Services, have worked closely with the HEFCE TDM Catalyst project staff develop this pilot version of the Skills Capture Survey. The survey now needs to be piloted in order to establish how effectively it captures relevant information at all levels across Technical Services at our university. This is the first stage in the development of the survey. Further development work will take place in partner institutions.

Details of the Survey

We will be inviting all Technical Services staff across the University to complete the survey between 3 Oct 16 and 2 Dec 16.

What are the benefits of taking part?
As stated above, the Technical staff will have the chance to spend time recording their skills. They will receive a copy of their responses, which they may find useful for their own personal career development. The goal of this work is to have a positive impact on the career development and progression of all technical staff in higher education. Their feedback will help us, and the TDM project, ensure that this is achieved.

Do technical staff have to take part?
Participation in this survey is optional and there is no penalty for not taking part. However, we strongly encourage everyone to take part because credibility of the project can only be achieved with input from technical staff. There are no correct answers and we would ask you to be as open as possible when responding to the questions. You can withdraw from the survey at any time without giving a reason.

Further information

Further information/FAQs regarding the study can be found at the Technical Services Survey Website or the HEFCE website. Staff can also contact Jonathan Cresswell (j.cresswell@exeter.ac.uk, Tel: 4477) or Jared Carnie, Catalyst Project Administrator, e-mail: j.carnie@sheffield.ac.uk.



Technical Staff Structured Development Framework - New Training Matrix

Following a review of our Technical Staff Structured Development Framework we have updated our training matrix so that it links with all the new training and development opportunities offered by the university Learning and Development team.

The new matrix can be found on our website in the “Which pathway and what level” section.



Technicians make it happen!

The Science Council is supporting the Technicians Make it Happen (TMiH) campaign by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, that challenges outdated notions of what technicians do and aims to inspire a generation of people to consider pursuing technical roles.

From Monday 15 August you can show your support for the campaign in a couple of ways.

Take pictures for the photo competition

Help raise the profile of technicians by taking pictures of what you think technicians help to make happen. These can be everyday objects or out of this world innovations – just include “Technicians Make it Happen” somewhere in the image.

Read more about the competition details and watch this video for a flavour of the type of thing that is expected.

Share your pictures

Share your images across social media tagged with #TechniciansMakeitHappen. The online competition will run across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – in which a winner will be picked every month to receive a £25 Amazon voucher. The competition will be ongoing throughout the 2016/17 academic year and an overall winner will be announced next year, who will receive a grand prize of £1000 and career mentorship from an industry expert.



Bruker LogoAFM workshop (Latest advances in Atomic Force Microscopy)

Expanding the Applications’ horizon to Nano-mechanics, Nano-electrical and Nano-chemistry mapping and Bio.

The AFM workshop held in conjunction with Bruker Nano-Surface on 20-21 July 2016 was well received by 17 participants and demonstrated the latest advances in Atomic Force Microscopy with a Multimode 8 from Bruker and the Innova AFM situated in the Imaging Suite, Room 021, Harrison Building.

The goal of the workshop was to present the latest development in AFM modes, Multimode 8, for the high-resolution mapping of local nano-mechanical, nano-electrical and nano-chemical properties of surfaces as well as explore the capabilities of the Innova AFM and how we can collaborate across the colleges, campuses and industry.

Attendees from across the campus such as Biology, Geography, Physics, Engineering and CSM Penryn as well as from Plymouth University were first introduced to the latest technology from Bruker, the Innova AFM that is currently in the Imaging suite, as well as guest lectures and an open forum for discussion with the Bruker representatives. A video report was made over the two days by Dr Sam Stevens found here.

Attendees were actively encouraged to bring samples and obtain data using Peak Force Tapping mode, Tapping mode and Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy. The materials that were tested included a Graphene device with gold electrodes, an electronic device on a PCB chip, nano particles on HOPG surface, MoRe patterns, butterfly wings, charcoal samples and nano particles: mNnOM. The results from all of the samples taken over the two days can be AFM Workshop Report University of Exeter.

The workshop was a success and we are hoping to plan our next AFM workshop with the focus on what the AFM can do for us such as liquid cell AFM. We welcome ideas for future AFM workshops from staff, students and researchers.

For further information on Bruker

We would like to thank Bruker Nano-Surface representatives, Dr. Khaled Kaja, Applications Scientist and Stephen Lewandowski, Senior Sales Engineer, UK / Ireland, from Bruker Nano Surfaces Division, Coventry, all of the participants and we look forward to seeing you all again soon for a second AFM workshop.




Interesting article on "Five business leaders who have a mentor to thank for their success" can be found here.



New Joiners to Technical Services

Technical Services would like to welcome the following new staff to the University:

  • Mr Fraser Bell (Technician)
  • Miss Pia Benaud (Research Technician)
  • Ms Ana Correia (Technician Level 2 (Bioimaging))
  • Miss Sara Honey (Assistant Laboratory Manager)
  • Mr Tomasz Krepski (Technician)
  • Ms Mariann Landsberger (Technician)
  • Dr Eleanor Sargent (Laboratory Manager)
  • Miss Lucy Szaboova (Research Technician)
  • Mr Peter Tippett (Laboratory & Clinical Research Intern)
  • Mrs Sharon Turner (Technician)