Technical Staff Structured Development Framework

Working with technical staff, HEaTED, professional bodies and HR Services, we have created a programme of learning and development that is structured around five core modules. The modules have been researched and devised by the national body HEaTED and comprise a resource called the Competency Assessment Toolkit for Technical Staff (CATTS). 


Our framework is divided into six pathways, each of which contains development opportunities mapped to each CATTS module. Each pathway has been designed to meet the needs of staff at different stages in their career (called “progressive mastery”), mapped in turn to our HERA Grades, beginning with Apprentice (Level 1a) and working through to Expert (Level 5).

The development opportunities are a minimum for each grade and are progressive between pathways. In other words, there is an expectation that staff on a particular level will have completed at least the development identified at the level(s) below, and work towards completion of the training identified at their current level. Conversely, it is easy to see what sort of skills and experience are a minimum for all the levels as you progress.

HEaTED Professional Development Route MapThis document represents a professional development route map which is aimed at individual technicians as well as organisations and describes how HEaTED can support both to ensure that technicians stay engaged and achieve professional recognition.

Technical Services Training and Development Timeline

The University is a Corporate Affiliate of the Institute of Science and Technology. This enables the IST to accredit all our development programmes for technical staff and allows you to accrue points for all the Personal  Professional Development (PPD) learning you undertake. You can use your PPD points towards professional memberships such as Member or Fellow of the IST (MIScT, FIScT) and also towards Professional Registration (from Registered Technician, RSciTech; up to Chartered Scientist, CSci).

It is important that you keep a record of your personal development activities as you complete them throughout the year.  This will ensure that at the end of each year you have an accurate record of your PPD that you can submit to your professional body (as requested).

PPD should be a mixture of activities relevant to current or future practice and should include activities in at least three (exceptionally two) of the following categories:

  1. Work based (e.g. acquiring new skills, refining existing skills, devising/delivering training programmes, writing articles/papers, reflective practice)
  2. Professional activity (e.g. involvement in a professional body, mentoring)
  3. Formal / Educational (e.g. attending conferences, obtaining qualifications)
  4. Self-directed learning (e.g. reading journals, reviewing books / articles, researching topics)
  5. Other (e.g. voluntary work, public service, non-work-related studies)

Further guidance can be found here.

As well as skills and experience our framework is also designed to encourage and enhance networking both within and beyond the University. We will be running an annual “Technical Services Conference”. The conference is an ideal opportunity for you to network, learn new skills and refresh your current knowledge.  

Local Networks - You are encouraged to create your own internal networks at the University.  You may perhaps want to create your own group such as imaging, safety, research techs, lab managers, wet labs etc.  You could meet up together at scheduled meeting, or perhaps create a virtual message board?

TechNet - The technicians network (TechNet) is designed by technicians for technicians and is an online forum for technicians to share knowledge, network and discuss topics with like minded individual.

HEaTED Forum - Another great way to network with technical colleagues.  These forums are categorised by region so you can network with other technical staff from the South West.

You are also encouraged to network with technical staff at other universitie.  These may be technicians working in a similar laboratory environment to you allowing you to share best practices and bounce ideas off each other.

Technical staff includes all staff providing technical support services. This can include those in laboratories, workshops, and other areas of work.

The grade mapping is indicative and it is always best to start your development journey with a good look at your current and previous skills and experience. These are captured by CATTS in sets of “behavioural indicators” appropriate to each level. To assess your level you can complete a simple Competency Assessment Questionnaire which will be supplied to you by your Line Manager. The results of this questionnaire will be sent to you and your Line Manager and can form an important item on your development agenda at your regular reviews and, of course, your annual PDR.

Professional development framework

Click on the 'station'/area you would like to find out about on the Framework.  This will take you to a list of available training courses.

Other reference material:

If you line manage technical staff you will have access to a questionnaire for each of your staff members. If you are a member of staff you will receive an email with a link to the questionnaire. The questionnaire should be completed annually prior to PDR and can inform PDR discussions as well as being used throughout the year as a reference point for technical staff development. Results of the questionnaire will be sent to each member of staff and to their line manager.

Record your completed Personal Professional Development (PPD) training activities via Trent Self-service, by adding a ‘personal learning event’ in the ‘career and development tab’.

How to add training events via Trent self-service

Learning should be reviewed by the learner and the line manager on a regular basis. Development of progress should be reviewed annually on a 1:1 basis with your line manager using the competency assessment forms at the links below:

Technician Competency Assessment Tool