Our commitment to supporting technical career development

A new joint statement, endorsing the recommendations of the TALENT Commission has been released by the four GW4 Alliance universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter.

The collective statement, which has been released to coincide with the twelfth Technicians Commitment Signatory Event, held in Cardiff on 15 May, underscores the universities’ commitment to ensuring that the recommendations of the Commission shape the Alliance’s long-term ambitions to support and enable its technical communities to thrive.

In supporting the statement, GW4 will develop opportunities that give technical specialists the opportunity to excel in their careers; collectively work together to effectively respond to the most relevant recommendations of the Commission; and deliver sector-leading programmes and reports on how innovative approaches to career development can transform technical skills and capabilities.

The TALENT Commission report was developed to gather new strategic insights into the UK’s technical workforce in higher education and research, and the Commission is the outcome of 20 months of in-depth research, stakeholder engagement and evidence gathering within the sector.

The report sets out 16 key recommendations that underpin the broader vision of the UK as a global powerhouse in science, engineering and the creative industries, and the recognition that technical capabilities and capacity must be recognised, respected, aspired to, supported and developed to achieve this vision.

As early signatories, the GW4 universities already have long-standing commitments to the Technician Commitment , which aims to ensure visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians working in higher education and research, across all disciplines.

The Alliance’s Technician Commitment plans, which have been mapped against the TALENT Commission recommendations by the GW4WARD Steering Group - a group dedicated to supporting the technical career development of staff - show that GW4’s existing activities for technical staff already cover many of the TALENT recommendations, but by working together more can be achieved.

GW4’s recent advancements in the field of technical career development includes the announcement of £1.97million in funding for the X-disciplinary Challenges from Industry for Technical Expert Development (X-CITED) programme, a pioneering new approach that will develop career opportunities for Research Technical Professionals (RTPs). The programme will support RTPs to enhance their skills through communities of practice and by enabling them to work with industrial partners to address real-world challenges and opportunities.

Professor Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, University Dean of Research Environment and Culture, Cardiff University, said: "Working together enables us to achieve so much more for our technicians and technical workforce than one university could alone. By collectively mapping the individual steps that we are taking to progress the Technician Commitment, across our own institutions, we have been able to identify a critical mass of expertise that will enable us to effectively continue to support, and enhance our support, for the recommendations of the TALENT Commission. We look forward to moving this work forward."

Dr Joanna Jenkinson, GW4 Alliance Director, said: "GW4 has a steadfast commitment to providing career development support and increasing the visibility and recognition of our technical specialists. We are excited to endorse the recommendations of the TALENT Commission and look forward to the opportunities they present to enhance and sustain our ongoing efforts in this area."

Read the full joint statement.