New national training programme spotlights women in technical leadership positions

By 21st July 2022 July 27th, 2022 Blog, News

Participants on the Herschel Programme celebrate their successes as the training scheme comes to an end


Women across the UK technical sector celebrated the culmination of a national training programme dedicated to advancing career development for women in leadership roles.

The Herschel Programme, delivered by MI Talent, was designed to elevate and support women who are current or aspiring leaders in technical roles. It addressed the underrepresentation of women in technical leadership positions in the UK by covering modules that included: context and culture, influencing and negotiating, confidence and empowerment.

The six-month programme was launched at the start of the year in order to recognise and increase the visibility of technical staff who identify as women. It included taught sessions and collaborative group work for participants to share their experiences and develop leadership skills.

Upon the launch of the programme in January, Denise McLean, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead for the higher education tech consortium, TALENT, said: “There are some long-standing challenges facing the technicians working in higher education and research. However, thanks to research and insights into the demographics of this community, these challenges are being addressed.

“This is the first opportunity of its kind to be offered to technicians who identify as women and aligns with the vision set out in the Research and Development People and Culture Strategy to put people at the heart of the UK’s research and innovative ecosystem.”

The Herschel Programme came to an end this month, with more than 170 technical leaders from across the UK meeting in Central London to celebrate completing the pilot initiative.

Clare Templey, a Physical Geography Laboratory Technician at the University of Nottingham, was a participant in the inaugural programme, having applied for a place in order to gain managerial knowledge and experience whilst in her current role.

Clare said: “The taught aspects of the programme started me thinking about my strengths, development opportunities, confidence and capability. We were also placed in small groups as ‘action learning sets’. In these groups of women, in various stages of managerial journeys, we discussed each other’s issues, posed questions, suggested answers, and bonded as peers and friends. 

She added: “It was useful to hear from women in similar situations to myself and those who are already managers, and it built my confidence and made me acknowledge my worth.”


Clare Templey

Following the conclusion of the Herschel Programme, Clare has expanded her professional network and has now gone on to become the Chair of the Technicians Network for the University of Nottingham.

Clare said: “Thank you to the organisers and those involved in the Herschel programme, as well as to all the women who took part and made it a pleasure to be a part of. You are all inspirational women and I hope to see you all succeed in whatever you do in the future.”


For more information about the Herschel Programme, click here

Photo credits: Christine Barrass