One hundred technicians working in a range of sectors and campaigning to raise their profession’s profile and skills shortages have been honoured en masse for their efforts with young audiences.
Their venture, Technicians: We Make the Difference offers 11-16 year olds a chance to see the variety of jobs on offer with interactive displays at the Science Museum’s free David Sainsbury Gallery and as part of the Gatsby Charitable Foundation’s nationwide campaign.
The participants’ work has now been honoured with The Royal Society Hauksbee Award, “for their tireless efforts in tackling the critical technician skills shortage and their invaluable contributions to various industries” going to all 100 participants.
The Hauksbee Award is given for outstanding achievements in science by an individual or team whose contribution may not have a high public profile or normally be recognised.
David Sainsbury, the philanthropist who enabled the creation of the Science Museum interactive gallery that bears his name, remarked:
“On reading and hearing the stories and achievements of each of the many technicians involved, I could happily argue for each to be considered separately for the Hauksbee Award, but they have not individually sought the spotlight, and it is their collective voice which has been critical to addressing the nation’s huge technical skills shortage.”
He added that an NAO report in 2018 calculated that there were 800,000 vacancies for apprentices and technicians then, saying the situation could only have got worse.
“The introduction of the new system of T-levels provides the country for the first time with an effective system of technical education, and the voice and enthusiasm of the young technicians who have supported our two projects has played an important role in focussing people’s attention on the new scheme.”
The Technicians: We Make the Differencewebsite showcases 100 different technician roles, from architectural and digital imaging technicians to space engineering technician, as well as the stories of the real-life examples of people in those roles as they talk about their day-to-day and what routes they took to get to where they are today.
Since opening last November, the Technicians Gallery has had an estimated 500,000 visitors showcasing sectors such as advanced manufacturing, creative industries, health science and renewables. Partners include the NHS, Marvel Studios and National Grid.
Recipient Tyler Terry-Wallace, Simulation Technician at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital said: “I am honoured to receive an award from such a prestigious organisation. Technicians tend to be working behind the scenes to make things happen and so it’s been great to have a video explaining my work featured in the gallery, along with the chance to create a workshop which I deliver to young people twice a month.
“My hope is that the recognition from this award will help what we’re already trying to do and inspire others to explore a technician role.”