NTDC Technician Development Fund Winners Announced!

13 March 2024

The NTDC are thrilled to announce the successful applicants of this year's Technician Development Fund: Sarah Kirby, University of Exeter and Rick Varnham, Coventry University. The NTDC Technician Development Fund (TDF)  is one of many member benefits for Partner Affiliates. The TDF provides technical staff with an opportunity to access funding to support innovative technical initiatives. Find out more about the projects below:

Sarah Kirby, University of Exeter

This activity involves hosting a local GirlGuide unit aged 10-18 for an outreach event focused on crime scene investigation, aligning with their Investigator badge. The event will include activities such as simulating DNA separation via gel electrophoresis, finding "blood" with UV torches, and lifting fingerprints. The girls will also meet lab technicians to discuss careers in technical services. It aims to encourage STEM careers, particularly in technical services, among girls, especially those from backgrounds more likely to experience poverty. The event could potentially become an official GirlGuiding badge, expanding its reach nationally or even internationally. 

The technical team will reflect on the event to identify strengths and areas for improvement, enhancing their own skills and potentially leading to further funding opportunities. Overall, the event aims to inspire girls towards STEM careers and improve the reputation of technical services roles.

Sarah credits the original concept for the outreach activity to R.N. Trigiano, B.H. Ownley, A.N. Trigiano, J. Coley, K.D. Gwinn, and J.K. Moulton in this paper

Rick Varnam, Coventry University

Coventry University, in collaboration with the Coventry City Council’s Careers Service, aims to engage school children in technical careers through various activities. Initially, they will participate in school career events, followed by a Technical Careers Open Day on campus. All technicians will contribute to this event, offering insights into technical careers spanning arts, science, engineering, and healthcare. The open day format aligns with the Gatsby Benchmarks, allowing for concurrent sessions for secondary-age children from different schools. Hourly-paid hosts will guide groups between sessions, funded by the NTDC grant. The initiative targets 10 secondary schools in Coventry and Warwickshire initially, with potential expansion to include more schools and outreach to primary schools. Special emphasis is placed on reaching disadvantaged children and encouraging girls to participate.

This project aims to benefit technicians and teams in several ways:

Surveys will measure the impact of the event on both participating children and technicians to assess its effectiveness in addressing these objectives.

Congratulations to Sarah and Rick for being successful in the 2024 Technician Development Fund applications. We look forward to seeing the projects come to life!