Reporter 464, 26 March 2001


Technical training goes nationwide

A successful training programme for higher education technicians, which began at the University of Leeds, is to be extended nationwide from next year.

The courses were run by technicians, for technicians. Participants unanimously rated the courses highly and said they would recommend them to colleagues.

Technicians have faced major changes in recent years, in technology, legislation and organisation and this has had a tremendous impact on their roles and the skills they need. The project, a collaboration between the University, the MSF and the higher education training organisation (THETO) began by asking technicians about their training needs and experiences.

The results showed that 76% of technicians wanted technical skills training, in areas ranging from hazardous waste disposal and first aid to management training and financial procedures. Most hadnít received any training in the last four years although over three quarters said their employers encouraged training. Nearly one in five said they had been refused training in the past, and of these over half cited cost as the reason.

The programme sought to address these problems with a pilot scheme in northern universities. Each institution was asked to offer training in areas where they led the field, and at Leeds this included courses in proteomics, genetic manipulation and 3D computer aided design.

This year, the programme has been extended to include the Midlands, with 45 universities now involved. The aim, should HEFCE or DfEE funding be secured, is to extend the scheme nationwide and Leeds will continue to be actively involved.

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