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About Us

About the National Technician Development Centre:

The National Technician Development Centre provides organisations with everything they need to support the delivery of high quality and sustainable technical services across all sectors.

This includes:

  • Our nationally recognised NTDC Toolkit
  • Specialist information and advice on talent recruitment and retention
  • Activities to increase professional registration and CPD
  • Help in developing technical networks
  • Bespoke workshops and presentations

The NTDC is not-for-profit and run for the benefit of, and with input from, institutions and the technical community.

The NTDC team has decades of management and technical experience, giving us a unique understanding of the vital role of technicians and the problems they face moving forward. Many of our experts previously worked on HEFCE’s Technical Development and Modernisation (TDM) Project, which you can read more about here.

As well as supporting individual institutions across the UK, we also support the sector by attending events and conferences, delivering presentations and workshops. The NTDC is constantly evolving to keep up with the demands of the sector as the issues affecting technical services change.

Click here to find out more about what your institution can gain from becoming a Partner Affiliate of the NTDC. If you want to know more about us and the work that we do within the sector, please contact enquiries@ntdc.ac.uk or call us on 0114 222 9773.

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NTDC photo competition banner 2020

Why Does the Sector Need the NTDC?

The role of a technician has traditionally been neglected and misunderstood across every sector, and is often overlooked. Technicians of today are experts in their fields and are often highly qualified.

Despite HEFCE data suggesting there are over 65,000 technicians working in English and Scottish universities and research institutions, this lack of recognition often leads to their exclusion from strategic planning.

The technical workforce is often an untapped and under-utilised resource. As a result, the opportunities for technicians to formally develop skills and advance through career pathways are limited. One of the major contributors to this is a lack of consistency in technical roles and terminology, which we are aiming to combat with our Technical Career Pathways Tool.

These factors, along with the complexity and diversity of the technical sector, has also led to poor succession planning within the technical workforce. This has brought about a huge loss of critical skills across the sector.

For example, within England, HEFCE data shows that 40% of all Higher Education technicians are aged 50 or over. This suggests that succession planning and wider development of institutions’ technical workforces needs to be in place to ensure a highly skilled professional workforce for the future. Our Technician Skills, Roles and Responsibilities Audit enables institutions to capture information about their technical workforce to support a strategic approach to workforce planning.

A recent estimate by the Gatsby Foundation found that “we will need as many as 700,000 more technicians in the next decade to meet demand from employers.”

Whilst there are apprenticeships and traineeships designed to bring on new talent, there is no set framework to support individuals beginning their technical career, which is leading to a lack of consistency and organisation. Our Technician Development Framework supports institutions in the strategic development of their technical workforce.

CPD and professional registration are fundamental in recognising the skills and expertise of employees within technical services. This is why we teamed up with the Institute of Science and Technology to develop CPD Central, an open-access piece of software designed as a platform for the recording and monitoring of CPD for individuals and institutions, inline with the national standard for professional registration.

Why Does the Sector Need the NTDC?

The role of a technician has traditionally been neglected and misunderstood across every sector, and is often overlooked. Technicians of today are experts in their fields and are often highly qualified.

Despite HEFCE data suggesting there are over 65,000 technicians working in English and Scottish universities and research institutions, this lack of recognition often leads to their exclusion from strategic planning.

The technical workforce is often an untapped and under-utilised resource. As a result, the opportunities for technicians to formally develop skills and advance through career pathways are limited. One of the major contributors to this is a lack of consistency in technical roles and terminology, which we are aiming to combat with our Technical Career Pathways Tool.

These factors, along with the complexity and diversity of the technical sector, has also led to poor succession planning within the technical workforce. This has brought about a huge loss of critical skills across the sector.

For example, within England, HEFCE data shows that 40% of all Higher Education technicians are aged 50 or over. This suggests that succession planning and wider development of institutions’ technical workforces needs to be in place to ensure a highly skilled professional workforce for the future. Our Technician Skills, Roles and Responsibilities Audit enables institutions to capture information about their technical workforce to support a strategic approach to workforce planning.

A recent estimate by the Gatsby Foundation found that “we will need as many as 700,000 more technicians in the next decade to meet demand from employers.”

The NTDC Core Team:

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Terry
Croft MBE

Founding Director

Terry began his career as an Analytical Chemist for a multinational mining company, where he developed new analytical techniques and procedures as instrumentation technology advanced. He moved to the University of Sheffield to work as the Chief Technician in the Botany Department. Over the next eight years he continued to advance, becoming Departmental Manager of the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences. All the while championing the need for a more professional approach to the training and development of technicians in the HE sector, Terry received several more promotions before undertaking the role of Faculty Director of Operations.

Terry’s passion and commitment to the Technical Community lead to his appointment as Director of Technical Development and Modernisation at the University of Sheffield in 2013. In 2014, he was awarded a three-year Catalyst Grant by HEFCE to undertake the TDM Project, which covered a variety of issues affecting Higher Education Institutions. In December 2017 he was awarded £1.125m to launch the NTDC for technicians and their employers.

Terry was awarded an MBE for services to humanity after he rescued an academic colleague and his family from the violence occurring in Iraq in 1992. He was named ‘One of the Top 100 Leading Scientists 2014’ and awarded Chartered Scientist status by the Science Council. He is also the Chairman of the Institute of Science and Technology.

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Natalie Kennerley

Director

Natalie worked at University of Sheffield for more than 28 years, beginning as a trainee technician and ending as the Technical Manager for Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology. During this time, she was recruited to the TDM Project by Terry as Co-Project Manager. Natalie is now the Technical Services Development Manager at Manchester Metropolitan University. She works closely with the Head of Technical Services and in partnership with PVCs and other senior members of staff to develop a Technical Services Organisational and Development Strategy that integrates and aligns with the strategic business goals of the University.

She is a Chartered Scientist and a Fellow of the Institute of Science and Technology, where she has an active involvement as Secretary and Public Relations Officer. She is also an assessor for professional registration for the IST and the Science Council. Her passion for the promotion of technicians as highly skilled experts lead her to co-found TechNet, a national technical networking group.

Natalie became the Deputy Director of the NTDC in January 2019 and was appointed the title of Director in August 2019 when Terry undertook his new role of Founding Director.

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Mel Leitch

Deputy Director

Mel has been a technician at Newcastle University since 1984. He was appointed to a full-time technical post in the Department of Physiological Sciences after beginning as a trainee technician. He later moved to the Department of Psychiatry, working within a Research Unit tasked with investigating the biological mechanisms of depression.

Whilst working as a Research Technician he graduated from the Open University with a first class degree in Chemistry and Life Science. He then studied part time for an MPhil, which investigated the impact of stress hormones on the function of a particular receptor in the brain shown to be blunted in depression. The project had a great outcome and led to various publications and presentations at international conferences. He then spent thirteen years as a Technical Manager at Newcastle University before he became the Deputy Head of Infrastructure in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Newcastle University.

Mel became involved with promoting professional registration at Newcastle University and gained the status of Chartered Scientist through the IST in 2014. He was recognised for his successes and was given the Employer Champion Award in 2016. In establishing an internal technicians networking group, NU TechNet, he also paved the way for Newcastle University to become a founding signatory of the Technician Commitment in 2017.

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Dr Sara
Bacon

Centre Manager

After graduating from the University of Sheffield with a BSc(Hon) in Chemistry, Sara completed a PhD in Bioinorganic Chemistry. She then moved into industry working for Croda Chemicals as a research chemist, and then as a product development manager in the research and development of personal care products.

She then became a data manager, where she managed a team on the implementation of new systems to increase efficiency and improve productivity within the company. She has also worked in a consultancy firm developing surveys and in recruitment assessment for the police. More recently, Sara has worked in teaching, recruitment and liaison roles across the secondary education and higher education sector.

Sara joined the NTDC as Centre Manager in May 2019: “Having worked with technicians in industry, teaching, outreach and recruitment I appreciate the huge impact that technicians have on income generation and in enhancing the student experience by providing high quality research and teaching support.”

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Jared Carnie

Operations Manager
and Skills Audit Officer

Coming from an administrative background, Jared joined the Technical Development and Modernisation project in October 2014. He worked as a data analyst, developing and piloting the Technician Skills, Roles and Responsibilities Audit that made up an integral part of the TDM toolkit. This continued to evolve into the Technician Survey in the NTDC Toolkit available now.

As part of the National Technician Development Centre, Jared has a dual role. He continues to oversee the development and implementation of the Technician Survey, whilst also working as Operations Manager for the office-based NTDC team.

“The main thing I've learned from my time in the team is how important technicians are to the running of a university. Previously, I had a sense of what technicians did, but I didn't fully grasp the extent to which their fingerprints are on nearly every corner of a university. I feel fortunate to be a part of a team that contains so much experience and passion for their work.”

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Jake Green

Research and Survey
Officer

Jake joined the Centre in December 2018, after graduating from The University of Sheffield with a degree in International Relations and Politics. He possesses a background in data analytics and administration, having previously worked in Alumni Engagement and Security Analyst roles at the University of Sheffield and IBM respectively.

Jake’s role as Survey Officer involves data capture and analysis to support the continued development and roll-out of the survey. As part of the Survey Team Jake guides institutions throughout the survey process, creating bespoke surveys to suit their needs.

“Having not come from an academic discipline where technical staff are prevalent, I never fully appreciated the contribution they make to the HE sector. I feel privileged to work in a team that has so much knowledge and experience geared towards bettering the working lives of such a large and vital part of the Higher Education community”

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Liam Barr

Administration Officer

Liam brings a wealth of skills from his sales, recruitment, project, administrative and change management background. He is dedicated in providing a professional and truly consultative service, resulting in positive outcomes and strategic partnerships across multiple sectors. Now supporting the NTDC across various projects, his previous experience brings a specific blend of applicable skills and support to the team.
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Kirsty Parkin

Marketing,
Communications &
Administration Officer

Kirsty has volunteered for the Institute of Science and Technology as an Executive Support Officer and Assistant Editor of the Journal since 2018. She has brought this knowledge of the technical community to the National Technician Development Centre alongside a range of skills and experience from previous marketing roles. She is currently undertaking a BA(Hons) with the Open University in Business Management, Accounting and Marketing.

Kirsty manages the NTDC’s website and social media channels, and leads on the production of marketing and communication materials.

Whilst there are apprenticeships and traineeships designed to bring on new talent, there is no set framework to support individuals beginning their technical career, which is leading to a lack of consistency and organisation. Our Technician Development Framework supports institutions in the strategic development of their technical workforce.

CPD and professional registration are fundamental in recognising the skills and expertise of employees within technical services. This is why we teamed up with the Institute of Science and Technology to develop CPD Central, an open-access piece of software designed as a platform for the recording and monitoring of CPD for individuals and institutions, inline with the national standard for professional registration.

NTDC Specialist Advisors

Matt Levi

Matt Levi

Ian Tidmarsh

Ian Tidmarsh

Karen Bailey-Smith

Karen Bailey-Smith

Chris Turgoose

Chris Turgoose

John-Paul Ashton

John-Paul Ashton

Lucy Hudson

Arthur Nicholas

Arthur Nicholas

Ben Scott

Caleb Wright

Keith Hill

Jonny Woolsey

Denise McLean

Abid Quayum

James Davoll

Martin Farley

Linda Robinson

NTDC Governance Board Members:

Chair: Professor Sir Keith Burnett, CBE, FRS, President of the Science Council and Trustee of the Nuffield Foundation

Professor Jonathan Seville, CEng, FIChemE, FREng, Academic Director of the Collaborative Teaching Laboratory and Professor of Chemical Engineering, The University of Birmingham

Dr Karen Henderson, PhD, CSci, Director of Technical Services, The University of Reading

Dr Tony Strike, University Secretary, Director of Strategy and Governance, The University of Sheffield

Joan Ward, FIScT, Deputy Chair Institute of Science and Technology and Trustee of the Science Council

Dr Claire Hutton, Senior Research Technician, Northern Institute for Cancer Research, The University of Newcastle

Professor Andy Gibson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Manchester Metropolitan University

Plus co-opted members as required