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STEMNET announces search for UK’s most inspirational technician

16 September 2011

Lord Sainsbury has launched the UK’s first Inspirational Technician Award, which is supported by Lord Sainsbury’s Gatsby Foundation. The competition will recognise the excellent work of technicians who inspire young people to follow technical careers, and aims to improve public perceptions of a profession in high demand by employers. It is one of five categories within The National STEMNET Awards 2011, sponsored by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

The other awards will recognise the UK’s Most Dedicated STEM Ambassador, Teacher, STEM Club and Employer and all winners will receive a trip to CERN, courtesy of STFC, as part of their prize.

Technicians are skilled professionals who solve practical problems through the creative use of techniques and procedures. They work across UK industry and academic disciplines supporting and facilitating the work of scientists and engineers - serving as the bridge that connects the two.

There is a serious shortage of technicians today. The 2010 National Strategic Skills Audit described technicians as a “high priority area of critical importance to the economy.” A 2010 report by Manpower identified technicians as sixth in a list of jobs that UK employers are having difficulty filling. There will, therefore, be plenty of opportunities for qualified technicians in the future.

However a major problem facing the technician profession is a lack of understanding of the job and the career paths available. An Engineering UK report last year found that perceptions of what technicians do was significantly lower amongst the UK population than for their colleagues in Europe. 20% of men and 30% of women admitted to knowing nothing about what technicians do and understanding of the profession was particularly poor amongst younger age groups.

The UK’s first ever winner of the Inspirational Technician Award will be announced by Lord Sainsbury at an awards ceremony at the House of Lords in December and sees STEMNET and the Gatsby Foundation joined by partner organisations including The Science and Technology Facilities Council, sponsors of The National STEMNET Awards 2011.
There is no limit to the number of categories you can nominate in and all finalists will be decided by an expert panel. The closing date for nominations is Monday October 3 2011. Click here for more information.

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