Frequently Asked Questions


Q.       What is the Technical Academy?

The Technical Academy was launched in 2017 and is the dedicated platform for all our technical staff, designed to deliver the skills and career development essential to supporting those in technical roles both today and in the future.  It provides a tailored programme of events and training specifically designed to enhance skills and professional development.

Q.       What are the aims and objectives of the Technical Academy?

  • Supporting the skills, professional and career development of all technical staff
  • To recognise and value the contribution that the technical staff make to the achievements of the University
  • Ensure that the University of Birmingham fulfils its obligations as a signatory to the Science Council’s ‘Technician Commitment’
  • Ensuring that the technical workforce has the skills, capacity and behaviours required to meet the challenges of teaching and research in a leading global university

Q.       Who is it for?

The Technical Academy is open to all staff who have a technical dimension within their role and responsibilities.

Q.       What will be its format/structure?

It is vital technical staff take an active part in the development and delivery of Technical Academy activity. 

The Technical Academy Operations Group includes a range of technical staff from across the University and is responsible for the co-ordination and delivery of the operational aspects. It reports to the Technical Academy Steering Committee to ensure the stated aims and objectives are achieved. 

Q.       Who is leading the Technical Academy?

Professor Heather Widdows, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer, is the University sponsor of the Technical Academy and will have strategic oversight of the Academy. 

The Technical Academy Steering Group is co-chaired by Professor Mark Sterling, dPVC for staffing and Dr Kate Bishop, Director of Operations, Medical and Dental Sciences.

Q.       How will this benefit me in my role?

The Technical Academy provides a range of opportunities to enhance your career development from facilitating professional accreditation and relevant training to networking with peers across the University and the sector.

Q.       Is this a sector-wide initiative?

Yes. There is recognition across the sector of both the contribution technical staff make to Higher Education and some of the challenges facing this workforce, in particular lack of career progression, recognition, and the need for a highly skilled technical workforce to meet the needs of world-class universities.  The Technical Academy firmly supports the national agenda and actively engages with a number of nationwide initiatives: the Technical Development and Modernisation Project led by the University of Sheffield, the Science Council's 'Technician Commitment' of which Birmingham is a founding signatory and the Midlands Innovation Talent programme.

Q.       How do I get involved?

There are many ways that you can be involved.

  • Let us have your ideas on what you want to hear about and what you want to do: 
  • Take part and feedback on events and activities
  • Talk to your line manager about joining the Operations Group or volunteering to support individual events or activities.
  • Speak to your line manager and use your PDR to discuss training opportunities and how you can access the support of the Technical Academy

Q.   How do I access funding for training?

Speak to your line manager about training opportunities.