The Technicians Make it Happen campaign was launched at the Mall Galleries in London with an exhibition of technician images that toured the country in 2016.
Reform to technical education is a key priority for Gatsby and its success is predicated on a fundamental shift in the public’s perception of and attitude towards technician jobs. Therefore, we undertake work to raise the profile of technicians and promote greater recognition of the importance of their contributions to modern society.
Currently, over 1.5 million technicians are employed in the UK working across engineering, science, health and technology. They are the linchpins of the UK economy and will be integral to overcoming some of the great challenges of the coming years and decades – from updating our transport infrastructure and local internet access, to securing the future of our energy supply.
However, an aging workforce means that 50,000 of our best technicians are retiring every year, and forecasts show we will need as many as 700,000 more technicians in the next decade to meet demand from employers.
At Gatsby, working in partnership with a range of stakeholders, we are supporting projects and ideas that aim to provide a steady stream of new technicians into the labour market, and open up technician occupations to all young people as they progress through the education system.
Technicians Make it Happen is a Gatsby-funded campaign which promotes the importance of technicians and the diversity of their work. Since its launch at London's Mall Galleries in June 2016, it has continued to build awareness through social media presence, a touring exhibition of images, and proactively seeking to insert positive messages about technician roles into the marketing and promotional material of partner organisations.
We believe that a robust set of professional registers for technicians will help to give technician occupations the status they deserve.
The occupations and professions with the strongest reputations gain their status and identity from the public, not from government or its agencies. These professions prize highly their independence and, crucially, they use professional standards and schemes of professional registration as a means of self-regulation. All training and qualifications must meet these standards, which guarantees a minimum level of occupational competence and reinforces the strength of the profession and its reputation amongst the public.
While technician registers have existed in a limited form for a number of years, we are working with professional bodies in science and technology to expand this activity and make professional registration for technicians the new norm.
Professional Registration for Technicians in IT: RITTech
Professional Registration for Technicians in Science: RSci and RSCiTech
Professional Registration for Technicians in Engineering: EngTech
The Technician Commitment is a sector wide, collaborative initiative supported by the Gatsby’s Technicians Make it Happen campaign. The Commitment aims to ensure visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians working in higher education and research, across all disciplines. Universities and research institutes are invited to become signatories of the Technician Commitment and pledge action against the key challenges affecting their technical staff.
The commitment includes 5 key areas:
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
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
5. Evaluating Impact - Regularly assess the impact of actions taken in support of the commitment to ensure their effectiveness
Technician Commitment in Higher Education launched
On 31 May, more than 35 universities and research institutions from across the UK backed a pledge to support their technicians. The Technician Commitment is a sector-wide initiative led by the Science Council, supported by Gatsby through our Technicians Make it Happen campaign, to help address key challenges facing technical staff working in research, teaching and development.
Our response to the Industrial Strategy consultation
In January 2017, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy set out in a Green Paper how it proposes to build the UK’s industrial strategy. The strategy is based around ten pillars to drive growth across the entire economy.