An Overview of the NTDC’s Annual Partner Forum

By 7th October 2020 Blog
The NTDC’s annual Partner Forum was held online on 15th September 2020. You can find the resources from the day here.

We would like to say a special thank you to everyone who attended our second Partner Forum this September virtually. We hope that everyone who attended found the event useful and informative.

The aim of our Partner Forum was again to allow our partners to influence the work of the NTDC and feed in to national policy on issues relating to the sector — helping to shape the future landscape for technicians and institutions.

Four workshops took place throughout the day, followed by a concluding networking session which had a great deal of input from our partners.

The first workshop which took place was ‘Showcasing success at Reading: Technical Recruitment and Retention’, given by Keith Hill, Associate Director at the University of Reading. The University of Reading have excellent retention rates for their technical workforce, and Keith delivered a talk to showcase how they are achieving this.

The second workshop got underway after some great questions: ‘Shaping the Future: How the NTDC has Responded to Covid-19’. NTDC Centre Manager, Dr Sara Bacon, gave an insight into the work that we have been carrying out to support the sector and to support the fight against Coronavirus. Jared Carnie, NTDC Operations Manager, also presented on how we have been adapting our work (specifically the survey) to suit new working environments this year and the successes we have had with this.

Our third workshop was ‘Supporting Technicians in a Research Environment’, hosted by Professor Rory Duncan, UKRI Director of Talent and Skills. This workshop explored how the UKRI are supporting the sector and how the technical community can make the most of funding and collaborations.

The final workshop took place with an insight from our Arts community: ‘The Impact of the Technician Commitment on a Creative Arts University’, by Andrew Harbert, Technical and Facilities Manager from the University of Falmouth. Andrew gave an insight into the challenges and the successes throughout the year for their technical community, giving some great examples of the work they have been carrying out.

To finish the day, the group split into breakout rooms to discuss various topics, including;

  1. How to build bridges between HE & Industry
  2. How are technicians adapting to deliver teaching support using digital technology
  3. How can HEis safeguard budget for technical staff
  4. How can HEis attract more BAME technicians

The networking session gave some great outputs from the day. Some really interesting discussion was sparked with great engagement from those who attended. As a result of the Partner Forum, there were a few outcomes that people would like to see within the NTDC:

“As discussed at the BAME workshop, the NTDC could look to identify Afro Caribbean Technicians who would be willing to participate in a scheme to encourage/promote recruitment from that community into the technician profession”

“We would like to see the presentations and resources from today on the website”

“A plan around EDI in relation to recruitment and retention”

“More information on the Technician Fund and other funding options”

“More informal chat sessions”

“To continue the good work you are already doing”

To conclude the day, the NTDC’s director, Natalie Kennerley brought the day to a close by thanking everyone for their attendance and their input. We have received plenty of feedback for us to focus on supporting our Partners over the year and we look forward to seeing everyone at the event next year.

Next year we intend to carry out a half virtual, half onsite – blended event and we will announce this at the start of next year.