University leads on tech training

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The University of Sheffield is leading a £400,000 scheme to tackle a blackhole in the number of skilled technicians.

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.

To help tackle this problem, the University of Sheffield has secured £400,000 from the Higher Education Funding Council for England to pioneer careers for technicians and bring new blood into the profession.

On average universities are set to lose between 25-35 per cent of highly skilled professional technicians in the next three to five years as many reach retirement age.

The initiative will run alongside a professional accreditation scheme offered by the Institute of Science and Technology.

Terry Croft, director of technical development at Sheffield University and also chairman of the IST, said: “There is a stigma surrounding what a professional technician is which means many people think it’s a job rather than a career.

“We want to demonstrate they can have a career for life.