University technicians

Technical careers at the University of Plymouth

Degree courses at the University of Plymouth are underpinned by a significant element of practical classes and fieldwork. They are designed to meet the needs of industry and commerce and an emphasis on experiential learning aims to equip our students with the skills required for the workplace. While the theory is delivered by our academics, much of the practice is supported by our technicians.

Traditionally technical roles have neither been well understood nor recognised. However, the role has been evolving and has assumed greater significance as pressure on academic roles has increased. Technicians are now highly skilled, many have degrees and a growing number have doctorates. Academics and students alike rely on their support in laboratories, workshops, studios and the field, where their development of techniques and expertise in the use of complex equipment is vital.

From boat skippers to circuit board designers

The University of Plymouth has a cohort of 180 technicians at all grades, from apprentice to Faculty Technical Manager, supporting a broad range of subject areas across our five faculties. Roles are therefore very varied and no two roles are the same. For example we employ technicians who:

  • support the operation of our wave tank in the COAST Lab
  • teach the use of CNC machines in our engineering workshop
  • skipper our fleet of boats based at the Marine Station
  • write programmes for psychology projects
  • support digital skills development for undergraduates in the Plymouth Business School
  • design and manufacture printed circuit boards
  • provide clinical skills training for medical students
  • run lighting, sound and projection facilities in our theatres and studios
  • produce digital maps using equipment deployed in drones and quad bikes.

The Technician Commitment

The Technician Commitment is a Science Council led initiative designed to promote and enhance the careers of university technicians. It has support from the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Gatsby Foundation. 

The University of Plymouth recognises the importance of this initiative and became a signatory in the leading group of universities.

These web pages demonstrate our determination to publicise the excellent technical support we provide and our associated action plan details how we are intending to build on some existing good practice, further improve recognition and underpin their career development. 

We value our technical staff, recognise their contribution and will endeavour to create a sustainable and professional technical workforce.

Dr Andrew Kent
Technical Lead Technician Commitment

Dr Andrew Kent

"The variety of roles carried out by University technicians is little understood by the general public. The Technician Commitment now provides an excellent opportunity to showcase our interesting careers, raise our profile and improve the recognition for our contribution to academia."

Professor Kevin Jones

“Technicians play a vital role in the kind of experiential learning that we emphasise at the University. Supporting the Technician Commitment makes it clear to all how important this group of people is to our student experience and highlights the opportunities for growth and development within those roles”

Professor Kevin Jones, TC Academic Champion, Executive Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering

Colin Shipp, TC Institutional Lead, Human Resources Director, says:

"All our people working at the University are dedicated to providing a great student experience and our Technicians provide a vital contribution.

The Technicians Commitment provides a clear and helpful framework for developing, supporting and recognising our Technicians, not just within our University but across the sector."

Technicians in the spotlight

Associate Fellow/Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Congratulations to our University technicians who achieved recognition as Associate Fellow/Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and received their awards at a presentation ceremony on 10 July 2018. In the photo (left to right) are Sarah Jamieson, Louise Argent, Jamie Quinn, Jane Thorning, Zoltan Gombos, Jodie Fisher, Yvonne Harris and Claire Gladstone. 

Certificates were presented by Professor Julian Chaudhuri, DVC Teaching and Learning (far left) and Professor Debby Cotton, Head of Educational Development (far right).

Pollen expertise brings hayfever to light

Palaeoecology Technical Specialist Dr Katie Head has appeared on ITV Westcountry News on the subject of hayfever, and the University’s pollen monitoring station on the roof of the Fitzroy building. Katie was filmed talking about some of the reasons pollen levels rise and fall during summer.

Did you know....The University of Plymouth is one of only three places in the Westcountry that provides the Met Office with pollen count data?

Meet our technicians

Faculty of Arts and Humanities

School of Biological and Marine Sciences

Faculty of Business

School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics

School of Engineering

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Faculty of Science and Engineering

Our technicians manage the technical operation in laboratories, workshops and studios. They supply practical expertise for practical classes, fieldwork, undergraduate and MSc projects, postgraduate research and commercial projects.