Technicians Working in Partnership – Technician Partnership Conference 2022

Technical staff from the University of Leeds joined colleagues from across the UK to discuss Research Culture, Net Zero and Careers at an in-person conference held at Newcastle University.

Some of the technicians who attended TPC2022

Technical staff who attended the Technicians Partnership Conference 2022

The Technician Partnership is a joint venture between the National Technician Development Centre, the N8 Research Partnership and Newcastle University. The first in-person conference was held on 6 July 2022 at Newcastle University.

Zoe Wigston (Technician in Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine) tells us more about her experience:

“After viewing the programme for the Technician Partnership Conference 2022, I immediately signed up and registered for the parallel sessions focused on careers. As someone at the beginning of my career, I knew this would be a great opportunity to meet new people and find out ways to excel as a technician! The event was held in person at Newcastle University with sessions themes including Net Zero, Research Culture and Technical Careers.

“Coach transport was fantastically organised by our Technician Commitment Working Group and I saw the Angel of the North for the first time on the way! The event ran smoothly with quick registration and a cuppa before settling into the opening welcome from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost of Newcastle University, who was delighted to welcome us to the first in-person Technician Partnership Conference since the pandemic.

“My first session was ‘All the things I wish I’d known about careers when I had a job’, hosted by Steve Cross, an energetic character who has had every job under the sun, from Technician to stand-up comedian. You should go and check him out on LinkedIn or his website, science show off. I attended another one of his workshops later in the day, ‘How to network without feeling like your soul is shrivelling up’. They were both motivational and I ended up networking with technicians from Birmingham and Newcastle and I can confirm we are officially LinkedIn buddies!

“Lunch break was street food – either a delicious outdoor BBQ with burgers and sausages, or Greek gyros and even chance to grab a liquid nitrogen ice cream. Over lunch I networked with other technicians and the representatives at the stalls. I played a game of roulette (for charity) and took a few business cards about sustainable products that I will be following up with. The highlight of my day was when I was greeted by the events’ magician…he placed a watch faced down on my hand, asked me to tell him a time and you guessed it, the time I said was displayed on the watch. Mind = BLOWN!

“The other session I attended was ‘From technician to senior management’ delivered by Clare Stevenson, Head of Directorate at the John Innes Centre. It was interesting to hear about her life/career journey and the struggles she has faced in the workplace. It inspired me to be more independent in terms of my own career progression. The day was rounded off with a Keynote Speech about The Big Repair Project from Mark Miodownik where he encouraged us to repair instead of recycle. This has inspired us to use the MS teams platform to better communicate with technicians around the University, you never know who might have the skills to fix things!”

Speaker Mark Miodownik  talking about the Big Repair Project in a lecture theatre

Mark Miodownik – The Big Repair Project

“Overall, it was lovely to connect and unite with other technicians, we really are the backbone of research. I thoroughly enjoyed my day, made some great connections, and can’t wait for the next technician’s event!”

Zoe Wigston

Future networking opportunities:

  • The next national conference for technicians will be HETS – the Higher Education Technicians Summit taking place at Warwick University on the 4th July 2023. 
  • The Technician Partnership Conference will be returning on the 26th June 2024. 
  • The Technicians’ Network will be re-launching both in-person and virtual networking events for staff at Leeds in the next few months - details will be released on the Technicians’ Network TEAM.

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