More about Technical Services
A quick guide to what we do, how we are structured, our Employer Champion status and how to join us.
More about us
Technical Services encompasses a team of predominantly technical staff who are based around specialist areas such as laboratories, classrooms, workshops, controlled environments (e.g. glasshouses), theatres and studios. The activities that take place in these areas are associated with teaching, research and outreach support.
Many of our technical staff hold PhDs and degrees often in a field associated with the Schools in which they work, a number are Fellows and Associate Fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), and we are currently developing our professional accreditation status as Registered Science Technicians (RSciTech), Registered Scientists (RSci) and Chartered Scientists (CSci).
In addition we have a small team of Health and Safety Co-ordinators (HSCs) who provide advice and guidance on the Health and Safety aspects associated with the 'higher risk' Schools. The role of the Health and Safety Co-ordinators is to provide high quality, proactive and comprehensive support and advice to Heads of Schools on all aspects of health and safety associated with staff, students and facilities. A number of our HSCs have degrees and PhDs and all are NEBOSH qualified.
The University of Reading was a founding signatory of the Technician Commitment in May 2017. This scheme was launched by the Science Council and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and it has been developed to address the key issues affecting the technical community.
- Career Development
- Evaluating Impact
Further information can be found in the Technician Commitment Booklet.
In 2017 the University of Reading became a Science Council Employer Champion. An impressive number of technical staff in Technical Services at the University of Reading have become professionally registered as Registered Science Technicians, Registered Scientists and Chartered Scientists. In acknowledgement of these efforts, the Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell was presented with an Employer Champion plaque by Belinda Phipps, Chief Executive Officer of the Science Council at a celebratory event. Employer Champion status recognises a shared commitment to investing in the development of staff and supporting them to become professionally registered. It recognises the importance of raising the visibility of technical staff and of safeguarding and investing in their skills and expertise to ensure sustainability of our technical workforce.
The University of Reading joins seven other universities in achieving Employer Champion status (Manchester, King's College, Nottingham, Newcastle, Sheffield, Strathclyde and the Open University).
Diversity and Inclusion
The leadership team for Technical Services are committed to creating a working environment where all staff have the chance to fulfil their full potential. As a Function, we support a wide range of activities, spanning the whole University, and as a group of people, we come from diverse backgrounds, with diverse skillsets, interests and lives.
We are committed to ensuring equality and inclusivity for all people with protected characteristics under the Equality Act (race, disability, age, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, sex, sexual orientation, religion/belief, pregnancy and maternity), as well as unprotected characteristics (e.g. socio-economic class, obesity).
Our commitment to equality and diversity is based partly on a strong sense of fairness and a belief that people do best when they bring all of themselves to work. But it is also based on the knowledge that diverse institutions are more successful because they draw on the best from a wider range of people. It is therefore important that the culture within Technical Services is such that every member can operate in the knowledge that they are respected for who they are. This is key to fostering good physical and mental well-being.
Faces of Reading
Several members of Technical Services were featured in the recent 'Faces of Reading' campaign, which highlighted the University's commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive environment.
MARK MCCLEMONT, SENIOR TECHNICIAN
I have been at Reading since 1987; I started out as a Lab Technician and in the early '90s I got the opportunity to become a glassblower.
I'm the only glassblower on campus. I design, make, modify and repair scientific laboratory glassware for both teaching and research for the School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy and other University departments, as well as outside companies.
It's particularly satisfying to make a custom piece of glassware for researchers and get involved in the design process, which can involve multiple iterations to achieve a successful result.
I've got a very friendly working environment. Diversity and inclusion is something the University wholeheartedly embraces, which is great.
I'm asexual and have been involved in visibility work for AVEN (the Asexual Visibility and Education Network), of which I'm a member. This has involved TV and radio appearances, and contributing to newspaper and magazine articles.
When the University was applying to become a Stonewall Diversity Champion, I went to meetings to raise awareness of the asexual community. This resulted in the Staff and RUSU LGBT Plus organisations holding an Asexual Awareness Week, to which I was happy to contribute.
Asexual people are thought to make up about 1% of the population, which means there could be somewhere between 30 and 40 asexual people working at the University, even more in the student population.
I think it's important there's visibility for asexual people, and those who think they may be asexual, in particular, to have someone to talk to who is asexual.
JESSICA DEL RIO, TECHNICAL MANAGER
In my current role of Technical Manager, I have a small team and together we run all the undergraduate classes for food microbiology and support research in the Harry Nursten building.
I've been at Reading since I graduated in 2001. I worked in heart disease research for four years and then I moved to microbiology in 2005.
For me, work is always about those you're alongside. A difficult task is made more do-able if the people around you are kind and supportive; a sense of humour helps too.
I am part of Technical Services. It's been great being linked up with technicians from all across campus through meetings, training and social events such as charity cake mornings!
Currently, I'm working as a job share, an arrangement which works really well, and which I feel the Uni are keen to promote. My managers have been really supportive over the years; if I've needed to change my hours around or reduce my hours, it's always been fine. The University is very flexible in this way and I think an employer giving you that kind of freedom means you invest more in your work, and give a higher level of loyalty.
I've kept growing in my skill set and was promoted in 2016, while working part time. There's a lot of investment in training, both centrally and through Technical Services. I've had some great management training and feel that I am pushed and supported to fulfil my potential.
I have a four-year-old daughter. I don't feel working part time and being a parent means I'm any less valued - many of my colleagues are doing the same! No opportunities are held back from me. Everyone has been really supportive of parenting alongside working.
PAUL BAKER, SENIOR TECHNICIAN
I first joined the University in 2012 as a trainee technician in the School of Biological Sciences. Now a Senior Technician, I provide teaching support as well as indirect research support. There's a huge variety of work: prepping equipment and solutions, showing students how to use equipment and demonstrating techniques during term time, and assisting with the maintenance of research labs throughout the year.
I like the variety within the School of Biological Sciences, as well as the people I work with. If you're part of a good team - and I certainly am - it means you've got a great place to work.
One of the things I really enjoy about Reading is the flexibility. For example, over the summer months I take advantage of flexible working hours - called compressed hours - so I work from 8:00 until 6:00, four days a week during the summer, and that's something I really appreciate.
I'm also supported in continuing my professional development, and recently I received a Science Council CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Award because of my training and development achievements. I think if there's something you're interested in doing - and it's relevant to your role - you should flag it, because there's no harm in asking.
Secondment to the Disability Office
One of our Technical Managers, Kevin Flint, has completed a three month secondment to the University's Disability Office to work on a project looking at how we can better support and facilitate staff and students with disabilities.
Shared Parental Leave
SPL enables eligible parents to choose how to share the care of their child during the first year of birth or adoption. Its purpose is to give parents more flexibility in considering how to best care for and bond with their child.
My Time on Shared Parental Leave, by Mr Wayne Knight
"I am a senior technician in Technical Services supporting the School of Biological Sciences. I started my shared parental leave in March 2018 and was excited for some time at home and with high hopes of finding lots of activities to do. However I quickly discovered when it started that I did not know quite what to do with myself and what to do with my new daughter, Holly. For the first week I stayed at home, doing some small walks, feeling on edge and waiting for my wife to come home just to help and have someone to talk to, as a 6 month old baby does not have much to say! I spoke to a friend at work and she gives me a 5 step plan to make sure I got out and about. Soon I was going to baby sensory club and baby soft-play which give me the opportunity to talk to people who are in the same situation as myself. Despite the adjustment period, I soon settled into my new role. I did notice there were very few dads taking up shared parental leave, which seemed strange to me as it is an opportunity for fathers to spend valuable quality time with their children. I would highly recommend more dads to take advantage of SPL because the time I had off with Holly was so special to me and I will remember it for the rest of my life.
All I can say is don't knock it until you try it."
How we are structured
Specialist technicians delivering teaching and research support are physically located within Schools with management provided on a cluster of Schools basis. Four clusters are in place: Cluster 1 which includes SBS, SCFP and SPCLS, Cluster 2 which includes SAGES, SAPD (not technical staff based at CEDAR) and SMPCS, Cluster 3 which includes IoE, SBE and SACD and the Operations Cluster. Each Cluster is subdivided into Divisions as shown.
Technical Services encompasses a team of predominantly technical staff who are based around specialist areas such as laboratories, classrooms, workshops, controlled environments (e.g. glasshouses), theatres and studios. The activities that take place in these areas are associated with teaching, research and outreach support. Specialist technicians delivering teaching and research support are physically located within Schools with management provided on a cluster of Schools basis. Three such clusters are organised under Cluster 1 which includes SBS, SCFP and SPCLS, Cluster 2 which includes SAGES, SAPD (not technical staff based at CEDAR) and SPCLS and Cluster 3 which includes IoE, SBE and SACD. Our teaching, research and outreach support activities are underpinned by a fourth Cluster, the Operations Cluster.
Many of our technical staff hold PhDs and degrees often in a field associated with the Schools in which they work, a number are Fellows and Associate Fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), and we are currently developing our professional accreditation status as Registered Science Technicians (RSciTech), Registered Arts Technicians (RATech), Registered Scientists (RSci) and Registered Engineers (EngTech) and Chartered Scientists (CSci).
In addition we have a small team of Health and Safety Co-ordinators (HSCs) who provide advice and guidance on the Health and Safety aspects associated with the 'higher risk' Schools:
- SAPD (excluding farms)/SPCLS
Their role is to provide high quality, proactive and comprehensive support and advice to Heads of Schools on all aspects of health and safety associated with staff, students and facilities and to work with staff and students to engender a positive culture towards policies, practices and procedures relating to Health and Safety. All of our HSCs are NEBOSH trained.