About us

The National Technician Development Centre provides organisations with everything they need to support the delivery of high quality and sustainable technical services across all sectors.

Our work includes:

The National Technician Development Centre was established in 2017 by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, (now the Office for Students), to provide expertise and tools to the higher education (HE) and related sectors to create a sustainable future for technical staff and services. In addition, this includes increasing the visibility and recognition of technical staff nationally.

Hosted by the University of Sheffield, the NTDC brings expertise and tools to support the development of formal technical career pathways and embed these strategies within institutions, to develop and modernise individual technical skill sets and identify future skill gaps and provide appropriate training and development opportunities.

The NTDC is a not-for-profit organisation, providing guidance and advice freely. Delivery of specific services are fee based and organisations can benefit from being a Partner Affiliate.  Delivery of specific services are fee based and organisations can benefit from being a Partner Affiliate.

Organisations do not need to be a partner affiliate of the NTDC to be a signatory or supporter of the Technician Commitment.

Organisations do not need to be a signatory or supporter of the Technician Commitment to engage the services of the NTDC.

Why does the sector need the NTDC?

The role of a technician has traditionally been neglected and misunderstood across every sector, and is often overlooked. Technicians of today are experts in their fields and are often highly qualified.

Despite HEFCE data suggesting there are over 65,000 technicians working in English and Scottish universities and research institutions, this lack of recognition often leads to their exclusion from strategic planning.

The technical workforce is often an untapped and under-utilised resource. As a result, the opportunities for technicians to formally develop skills and advance through career pathways are limited. One of the major contributors to this is a lack of consistency in technical roles and terminology, which we are aiming to combat with our Technical Career Pathways Tool.

These factors, along with the complexity and diversity of the technical sector, has also led to poor succession planning within the technical workforce. This has brought about a huge loss of critical skills across the sector.

For example, within England, HEFCE data shows that 40% of all higher education technicians are aged 50 or over. This suggests that succession planning and wider development of institutions’ technical workforces needs to be in place to ensure a highly skilled professional workforce for the future. Our Technician Skills, Roles and Responsibilities Audit enables institutions to capture information about their technical workforce to support a strategic approach to workforce planning.

A recent estimate by the Gatsby Foundation found that “we will need as many as 700,000 more technicians in the next decade to meet demand from employers.”

Whilst there are apprenticeships and traineeships designed to bring on new talent, there is no set framework to support individuals beginning their technical career, which is leading to a lack of consistency and organisation. Our Technician Development Framework supports institutions in the strategic development of their technical workforce.

CPD and professional registration are fundamental in recognising the skills and expertise of employees within technical services. This is why we teamed up with the Institute of Science and Technology to develop CPD Central, an open-access piece of software designed as a platform for the recording and monitoring of CPD for individuals and institutions, inline with the national standard for professional registration.