Originally published at Leeds.ac.uk on 28 July 2016
For me, helping others is what makes my job as a technician worthwhile. I think this is true of most of us; as technicians we enjoy using our knowledge and skills to help others within the University.
This might be through practical support, training, or just providing great data. However, at a recent meeting of the Technicians’ Network we listened as a technician told us a familiar story of feeling frustrated and undervalued within their school. It is a feeling that I think will be recognisable to many of us and is one of the reasons I joined the Technicians’ Network.
The network is here to bring technical staff from across the University together to discuss the good and the bad of technician life with other technicians. In this way we can support each other and share good practice, not only about the best way to teach scalpel technique, but also how best to deal with difficult work-based situations. The Technicians’ Network is not here to campaign within a particular school for a change in working conditions; instead we want to encourage and enable you to make those changes yourselves.
We provide a space for you to discuss your working (and non-working!) life with other technicians. The first Monday of every month at 10.30am we have Tech-a-Break – a coffee morning held in the Staff Centre. You can come along to get out of the office, workshop, or laboratory and chat with people away from your school or faculty. There are also regular meetings around four times a year, with invited speakers on subjects relevant to technicians. If you can’t make the meetings, the Technically Speaking newsletter can keep you updated. This is the mouthpiece for technicians and a source of information relevant to technicians. While the Technicians’ Network is not a campaigning organisation we do look to represent technicians whenever we can and raise the profile of technicians to get our important role within the University recognised.
We do all this but we want to do more. We want to provide writing support to technicians applying for discretionary pay increments or promotion. We want to be able to provide information on training opportunities and to help all technicians get professional registration with the IST so becoming registered technicians. However, for that we need you to get involved.
The simplest thing you can do is come along to our monthly Tech-a-Break coffee mornings or our Network meetings. That way you bring your knowledge and experiences to share with others. If you want to get more involved, come along to steering committee and help organise events or aspects of the group. You can also suggest and/or write articles for Technically Speaking to share your experiences with the rest of the community.
Come along to a meeting and get involved – what’s stopping you?
Written by Andy Connelly