Apprenticeship Technical Vacancies- Live Now

The University of Manchester Technical Apprenticeship Programme in Engineering Operations and Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities was created in 2013 by Technical managers across FSE to help solve the future demand for skilled technical staff across the University by granting young local people entry to employment via well thought out and structured training positions.

The programme is organised to encourage apprentices to develop their careers over time and become analytical scientist/support staff, senior experimental officers, laboratory technicians, technical service managers or project managers, replacing some of the outgoing staff.

The programme of activities needed to be extensive and beyond a ‘standard’ apprenticeship. We recognise young people won’t necessarily know precisely what they want to do. The structure includes continuous rotation through laboratories and workshop facilities throughout their training period. This ensures our apprentices are aware of the whole University operation and are more able to select and be selected for appropriate vacancies as they arise.

The programme equips the apprentice with a set of transferable skills that will afford the opportunity to develop a rewarding career as either a ‘Specialist Laboratory Support Technician’ or ‘Specialist Engineering Support Technician’ upon successful completion of the apprenticeship. In addition the apprentices are taught essential life skills such as University accounting procedures, interview skills, report writing, people and project management skills. Apprentices are encouraged to network across the Faculties, providing a chance for them to grow their personal networks and maintain contacts throughout their lifetime. Regular ‘get-togethers’ across all the cohorts for peer support and networking are organized centrally to facilitate networking, team building and communication.

Since the Technical Apprenticeship Programme began in 2013, 9 apprentices have secured permanent positions within the University indicating the success of the programmed activities and the quality of education and training received. It is anticipated that all apprentices will secure employment. We understand that on completion of their apprenticeship, some may choose to seek employment elsewhere using their University of Manchester Technical Apprenticeship as a lever. Since we have a massive variety of roles at all levels, we actively endeavor to place our learners within the organization at a point that is acceptable to both apprentice and management.

The University is ambitious, raising its expectations and current targets year on year. These goals cannot be achieved without a significant investment in professionalism and training of our technical staff. The apprenticeship programme seeks to filter staff in from the base, continue to educate and train continuously and allow these highly motivated individuals to permeate the entire technical structure, carrying and spreading their enthusiasm as they go. One of the greatest challenges is keeping all our young learners motivated and on-message as they pursue their careers throughout the University.

Great thanks go to all our technical staff connected to the Technical Apprenticeship Programme. Their dedication, enthusiasm and ability to pass on technical knowledge are key to the future success of the programme.

Recruitment for a September 2017 start is underway, see following link:

FBMH Tea Party


On Thursday 20th July FBMH hosted a tea party for all Technical staff. The event was well attended with over 100 technical staff attending and it was a great way to celebrate all the hard work and contributions made by staff in the faculty.

There was a crepe stall providing hot desserts, cake and refreshments the day also consisted of some fun out door games including, Play your cards right, Giant chess, Giant Jenga and Quoits, all of which provided good entertainment.

There was also an element of competition with a Technician’s Bake Off. Elaine Jones and Lindsey Loughtman from the University of Manchester Busy Bees Women’s Institute were the judges, they did a fantastic job of assessing and tasting each entry.

Bake Off Entries

The winners:

Best Biscuit – winner: Lisa Jameson with rose water and ginger biscuits.  The prize (donated by Eppendorf) was an Oscar the Octopus.

Best Cake – winner: Lisa Jameson with a chocolate orange cake. The prize was an afternoon tea for two from a choice of 250 locations in the UK.

Best Cake – runner up: Peter Yates with a gluten free chocolate torte. The prize (donated by Eppendorf) was a Lab Wars game.

A total of £23 in donation was contributed by technical staff for the WI’s nominated charities: The Pankhurst Trust and We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.

Manchester Signs up to the Technician Commitment

The University of Manchester has become a founding member of the ‘Technician Commitment’ – a national initiative launched by the Science Council to raise the profile of Technicians and their contribution to the UK’s higher education sector.

As a highly skilled workforce within Higher Education Institutions and Research Institutes, Technicians bring a diverse range of expertise and knowledge to their role providing essential support to research and teaching activities. The University of Manchester currently employs over 700 Technicians across its three Faculties.

Universities are under increasing pressure to improve quality of teaching and research outcomes which impacts on all staff including Technical Staff. Yet Technical Staff have not always received the professional recognition or structured career development opportunities they deserve.

Within the UK as a whole more Technicians are retiring each year than are entering the profession. The resulting shortfall will have a negative impact on our future research and teaching if action is not taken to encourage sustainability within the profession.

Launched on 31 May 2017, the Technician Commitment builds on previous work carried out by the Science Council, supported by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, towards gaining professional recognition for Technicians. Signatories are asked to commit to taking action across five key areas:


Visibility – ensure that all Technicians within an organisation are identifiable and that the contribution of Technicians is visible within and beyond the institution.

Recognition – support Technicians to gain recognition through professional registration

Career Development – enable career development opportunities for Technicians through the provision of clear, documented career pathways

Sustainability – ensure the future sustainability of technical skills across the organisation and that technical expertise is fully utilised

Evaluating Impact – regularly assess the impact of actions taken in support of the commitment to ensure their effectiveness


A Steering Group led by the Science Council will monitor progress and institutions signed up to the Commitment will assess their own progress using a specially developed toolkit of resources.

The University of Manchester signatory to the commitment is Karen Heaton, Director of Human Resources, and our Institutional Leads are Peter Crowe, Faculty Head of Technical Services [FBMH] and Colin Baines, Faculty Head of Technical Services [FSE].

This is an Important opportunity for the University of Manchester and all its Technical Staff to engage with a national initiative to improve the recognition of Technical Staff and their significant contribution to research and teaching. The expertise held by the Technical Staff, which is considerable in its range and depth, is highly specialised and often unique. Providing development opportunities for these expert staff will be critical in adapting their support to new emerging technologies and innovations.

In addition, clear support by Karen Heaton, our HR Partners, Jonathan Winter (Head of Staff learning & Development) and our Training Partners, demonstrates wider University commitment that will assist us greatly in our future aims.

In many ways we are fortunate that the aims of our own Technical Excellence at Manchester [TEaM] mirror many of the aims of the national Technical Commitment. However, TEaM aims to tailor the initiatives to our local needs and preferences, whilst still achieving or exceeding the national goals. TEaM is currently shaping the way forward through consultation with as many Technical Staff as possible over the coming months to ensure that the ‘tailoring’ is appropriately placed for you and your colleagues. Please do engage with the workshop consultations.

Further information is available from:

Peter Crowe                                                      Colin Baines