Technical Staff Profile: Anthony Steel

Technical Manager for Stopford Undergraduate Teaching
Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

Describe your work area and its importance.

As a University we have a huge obligation to ensure our Undergraduate students are amongst the best trained in the country. With over 1000 students in each year we have a lot of work to do! There are no second chances in teaching as the time table is set from the start of the semester. Classes must be out on time, reagents must be perfect first time, and equipment must be working first time. The student experience is first and foremost in everyone’s mind.

On a typical day, what do you spend most of your time on?

There is no typical day! We cover so many different disciplines, all of which require different techniques, equipment that every day must be different as a default. We cover medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, pharmacology and microbiology to name but a few, if it’s a Life Science we cover it. Every year technology and techniques move on, which keeps things exciting, this year we have run a CRISPR class which is still a pretty new technique and I think it’s wonderful that our undergraduates are already on a path to mastering cutting edge science.

Describe your career path to date, including highs and lows.

I started as a part time Technical Assistant in 1997 and I knew within the first two weeks that I would like to stay and work here for as long as possible. The atmosphere was fantastic and I had never seen labs so big and well equipped. A few years later we bought a 16 computers (a huge amount for the time) to run our electro-physiology classes, I always had an aptitude for working on computers but decided it was time to attend night school to train as an I.T. technician to carve myself a niche looking after this new kit. It was after this that I became a full time technician and if I ever had a low in my career it was saying good bye to the 15 weeks off in summer I used to have! On the flip side I had a full time job, which was great. My next move was to start a HNC in applied Biology so that I could develop a deeper understanding of my area as a whole; biology has always been my favourite subject so it wasn’t a difficult choice to make.

The next logical step was to attend management courses (ILM, interview techniques etc.) and H&S courses. I had now been working at the University for 10+ years and became the Deputy to the Senior Technician (today’s equivalent of a Technical Manager).

I am currently working as a Technical Manager but still feel I have a lot to learn, thankfully I have a job where learning is essential to the role.



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