HE Technical Career Pathways

What are these tools and what do they do?

The Higher Education Technical Taxonomy (HETT) and Competency Framework support the development of a coherent and incremental technical role architecture enabling career planning and progression.

Why have we developed the HE Technical Taxonomy and Competency Framework?

The HE Technician role is frequently described as being misunderstood and complex with limited career progression pathways. Role titles, duties and levels of seniority differ significantly internally and externally causing confusion for both existing and prospective technicians.

In-depth cross-sector role description analysis lead the project to define a simple, incremental architecture of distinct university role levels. The ‘HE Technical Taxonomy’ provides clarity by illustrating career pathways from entry to leadership level. Collaboration with HEaTED led to the identification and inclusion of relevant in-role development opportunities to support training and progression.

The ‘HE Technical Competency Framework’ supports the Taxonomy by providing the capability requirements for each role level. The Framework has been mapped against the Higher Education Role Analysis (HERA) and Hay frameworks in addition to other nationally-recognised standards, e.g. the Science Council’s professional registrations, the Higher Education Academy UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) and the Competency Assessment Toolkit for Technical Staff (CATTS).

Both tools are complemented by a set of role profiles illustrating the capabilities in the form of role-specific demonstrating how the Taxonomy and Framework can be used to generate consistent role profiles. Together the three tools deliver a unified technical role package.

Owing to disparity across the sector, the Project has not sought to define an exact correlation to individual universities’ pay structures. While commonality exists via the national pay scale, how universities mapped their roles to this varies widely. Universities will need to take a view as to how they could adopt the Taxonomy; considerations may include understanding the remit of Technical Services within their institution and pay and reward factors linked to scope, scale, local market factors and internal HR processes.

Key underpinning principles

The following key principles have been identified to guide effective role structure development:

• A multi-skilled workforce with the ability to adapt to accommodate future needs
• Work schedules that allow time for development
• An ability to focus on management, research or teaching reflecting the sector’s move towards the provision of distinctive facilities (e.g. centralised teaching)
• A role structure encompassing:

o A range of viable entry points
o Defined and consistent levels and aligned roles
o Inbuilt, visible and attainable career pathways