HE Technical Career Pathways

What are these tools and what do they do?

The HE Technical Career Pathway Tools support the development of a coherent and incremental technical role architecture enabling career planning and progression.

Why have we developed these tools?

HE Technical roles are frequently described as being misunderstood and complex with limited visible pathways for career development and progression. Role titles, duties and levels of seniority differ significantly within individual HEIs and across the sector causing confusion for both existing and prospective technicians. This has been described as a significant barrier within the profession.

In-depth research of existing organisational structures, competency requirements and role descriptions from across over 40 HEIs enabled the project to define a new, accessible and incremental architecture of distinct technical roles.

This tool consists of three units which combine to deliver an integrated solution.

HE Technical Taxonomy

The Taxonomy provides clarity by illustrating career pathways from entry to leadership level. Roles are arranged against incremental ‘bands’ with potential progression opportunities.

HE Technical Competency Framework

The Framework supports the Taxonomy by providing capability requirements for each band. A significant benefit of the Framework is that it focuses on technical skills and abilities ensuring relevance and alignment to the work of technicians.

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).

HE Technical Role Outlines

A complete set of Role Outlines translate capability requirements in to role-specific duties. These are typically considered to be more accessible to technician managers and technicians given their task focused nature.

Key underpinning principles 

The following key principles have been identified to guide the creation of effective career pathways:

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 a range of viable entry points, defined and consistent bands and inbuilt, visible and attainable career pathways.