Three technicians in a laboratory

The technical skills gap

Research by the Technician Council found the UK must educate another 450,000 technicians across all sectors by 2020 to address a massive skills shortage. On average, UK Higher Education institutions will lose between 25-35 per cent of their highly skilled professional technicians in the next three to five years as many reach retirement age, taking their knowledge and expertise with them. 

About the Commitment

Attracting, educating, training, developing and retaining more STEM technicians is vital to the success of the UK economy. Despite the good work already underway, there remains a need for greater coordination and collective action across the sector to improve the status and profile of technicians and to ensure sustainability of the technical workforce in academia and research. 

To address these challenges, the Science Council has developed the Technician Commitmenta sector-wide, collaborative initiative supported by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation's Technicians Make It Happen campaign. It is spearheaded by Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz (Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge) and Professor Sir David Greenaway (Vice-Chancellor, University of Nottingham). 

The Commitment was launched in 2017 and identifies four target areas on which universities and research institutions are working to safeguard vital technical skills. It seeks to ensure greater visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability of technical skills for technicians across all disciplines. It also asks organisations to regularly assess the impact of actions taken to ensure their effectiveness.

Technician Commitment: One Year In

Since its inception, 75 institutions have signed up to the Technician Commitment, representing more than half of UK universities. A report laying out the campaign’s key actions to date was published in November 2018. The Technician Commitment: One Year In report outlines key themes emerging across the sector in relation to technicians and documents progress made by Imperial and other signatories.