NTDC partnership members unite in Sheffield for the 2022 Partner Forum

By 15th September 2022 Blog

Partner Forum returns as in-person event


Last week, the NTDC welcomed technicians from across the UK to its first Partner Forum (PF) since 2019.

The annual PF invites Partner Affiliates of the NTDC’s growing network of national technical institutions, to gather, network and share experiences. Approximately 80 people were in attendance at the in-person event, which took place at the Richard Roberts Building, the University of Sheffield. 

Guests had a number of informative breakout sessions to choose from, ranging from a talk on the NTDC Technician Survey, which explained how data on the technical workforce is collated and assessed, to examples of how the NTDC Technician Development Fund has been utilised in differing ways.

Towards the end of the day, keynote speaker, Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University, delivered the final session focussed on what universities can do to tackle climate change.

Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University

The PF’s theme of ‘sustainability and technical career development’ was well received by the many attendees who provided feedback on the day’s events. 

One early career technician said that the session on the University of Bristol’s experience of the technical career framework was: “really useful and interesting. It has really compelled me to speak with representatives at my university to see if something can be put into place, as this would be useful for someone like me.”

Another attendee said: “Although I am still frustrated by a lot of issues facing technicians, the conference gave me hope that something ‘can’ and  ‘is’ being done, and that hopefully our institution follows suit.”

NTDC Founding Director, Terry Croft MBE, announced Alastair Peat, VR/AR Technical Officer at Manchester Metropolitan University, as the winner of the 2022 Photo Competition.

Alastair was awarded the £300 first prize for his photo submission which demonstrated the “interface between technician, tool, and creative potential.” 

The competition runners-up, receiving a £200 prize, were Faculty Clinical Skills Technical Manager, Natalie Sobey, and joint contributors, Senior Marine Biology Technician, Charlotte Crowther, and Media Technician, Robin Manfold; all staff members at the University of Plymouth.

The winning Photo Competition 2022 entry by Alastair Peat.

NTDC Director, Mel Leitch, said: “The Partner Forum provided us with an opportunity to get in the room again with colleagues from other institutions. Being able to share best practice and exchange ideas through networking is something that is difficult in virtual events and I look forward to watching the brilliant initiatives we heard about grow over the next 12 months.”

Dr Sara Bacon, NTDC Manager, added: “It was really lovely to have representation from so many of our partner colleagues at the event as we were not sure how attending an in-person event at the start of a new annual year would be received. 

“The networking opportunities were key to the success of the event and I’m looking forward to all the technical activity over the year, as well as working with all our new and existing partners.

“Finally, a massive thank you to all the team who made it happen.”

Download session presentations below

Session 1A – Utilising the NTDC Technician Development Fund

Dr Karen Bailey Smith – Technical Careers at Hallam – Mini Open Day for Careers Advisors

Dr Tosin Famakinwa – Challenges in Developing Equipment Monitoring Visual Dashboard

Russell Wilson – Technicians – The Next Generation

Session 1B – Technical Career Framework – The Bristol Experience

Session 2A – HEaTED – Educational Development for Technical Staff

Session 2B – The Talent Commission – Implementing the Recommendations

Session 3A – The Survey: The Data

Session 3B – The path to a net zero campus : LEAF project updates

Liverpool Updates

Reading Updates

Keynote Speaker: Professor Trevor McMillan – What are universities doing to address climate change?


Click here for information on how your institution can become a Partner Affiliate.