Supporting Oxford’s technical staff

Irene Tracey

I have spent much of my career working alongside talented and committed technicians, who play a vital role in our excellent research and teaching at this University, yet their contribution can sometimes go unrecognised. This is why I am delighted to endorse this new programme of work to better support technicians across Oxford, whether they work in labs, classrooms, museums and libraries, or are part of IT, audio-visual or facilities teams. - Professor Irene Tracey, Vice-Chancellor


A major new programme of work is underway to help ensure greater visibility and recognition for technicians and better support for their career development.

The University became a signatory of the Technician Commitment in May 2017, and in its first action plan (covering the period 2018-20) steps were set out to ensure greater visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for Oxford's technical workforce. This work is now being taken forward by People and Organisational Development (POD).

Working in partnership with technicians across the University, the new, wide-ranging programme of work includes:

  • A large-scale survey of technicians’ skills, roles and responsibilities, launching in September, to help us ensure that Oxford is making the most of the skills current technicians have and can plug future skills gaps.
  • A network of Technician Champions, who will help to promote better communication between local teams and the central University. They will gather feedback from colleagues about the issues that matter to them and feed this back to the central University, whilst also sharing and promoting central initiatives within departments and divisions.
  • More opportunities for technicians to connect with each other – through new communities of practice, a Teams group and regular events – enabling them to share resources and ideas, resolve problems and gain support with career development.
  • Clearer career pathways for technical staff, helping them to make informed decisions about where to go next in their career and how to get there.
  • An action plan, to be developed through close consultation with technicians, outlining what the University will do to recognise, support and sustain technical staff in their careers.

All technical staff are encouraged to get involved in this exciting and valuable work. Find out more about it on the new website for technical staff or by contacting the Technicians Programme Manager, Dr Claire Hann:

There are two immediate areas of action where your help would be appreciated. Firstly, a series of short films are being produced over the summer to help raise the profile of Oxford technicians and to highlight the variety of their work. If you would be happy to talk about your career and what you enjoy about your job on camera please contact Claire Hann. 

Secondly, POD wants to ensure the technicians’ skills survey questionnaire is as relevant and accurate as possible, so the team is looking for technicians to ‘sense check’ lists of skills appropriate to their area of work. It should only take a few minutes of your time. If you can help, again please get in touch with Claire Hann. 

Finally, a Technician Commitment event will take place at the University in September. You will have a chance to hear more about the technicians work programme, including the survey, and ask questions, as well as networking with peers over lunch. Hopefully many of you will be able to come along. Further details will be shared soon.