University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you.

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings.

Natalie Franklin's story

Natalie Franklin

I'm a studio support technician in Technical Services and I support the Institute of Education. I've been at the University since the end of 2017, and I am very proud of my achievements since then. I have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and chronic pain issues and, whilst getting a job is often not a problem for me, it can be hard to remain in employment. 

Prior to working at the university, I had a number of roles in retail and hospitality. I graduated from Plymouth College of Art in 2015 with a BA(Hons) in Contemporary Craft, specialising in kiln cast glass. I am still a practicing artist, something that is very much encouraged within the department.  Working as a technician supporting the Institute of Education is great. I work alongside lecturers in a very collegiate way to inspire, support and guide the students with their artwork. Seeing the end exhibitions is one of my favourite part of the job- they never fail to impress me with their professional and skilled work. Despite having worked in a popular DIY chain for a few years, I have learned more practical DIY skills helping students to set up exhibitions than I did in said shop! 

The facilities are great, and I’ve managed to up-skill myself in several areas such as printmaking and darkroom photography.  The support I have received from my line manager and the policies surrounding disabled staff at the university have made it possible for me to stay working in a job I love- and this is now the longest I have been employed at one place! Feeling comfortable sharing medical details and knowing that I won’t be judged or penalised for my disabilities is really empowering. 

I feel that working at the university has encouraged me to grow and eventually seek further education in an MA- all of which has been supported by colleagues and my manager.  I’ve had the opportunity to undertake many training courses, including, but not limited to the Springboard Women’s Development Program, several programs of Teaching Skills for Technicians and many programs to support students with mental health issues or disabilities at the university. I have also achieved two types of professional registration, one with the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) and one with the Higher Education Academy (HEA). Both of these show my dedication to my role and were really good reflective tools to help me recognise my skills and were funded and supported by the university.  

All my friends tell me this is the perfect job for me, and I definitely feel I am on a solid career path where I can use my degree and life experiences to help others pursue their dream career as an art teacher- and pursue a few of my own dreams at the same time!