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ASE pilots new technicians' register

20 October 2011

THE vital role of lab technicians is being recognised by a new professional register launched by the Minister for Universities and Science David Willets.

The Registered Science Technician (RSciTech) award, introduced by the Science Council and being piloted by the Association for Science Education, was launched as part of the first London Science Festival yesterday (Wednesday 19 October).

Annette Smith, the association’s Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to be one of the pilot bodies for the new professional registers. 

 “Already, the ASE’s Laboratory Technicians Committee is working with our headquarters staff to trial the application procedure, which will run alongside the prestigious Chartered Science Teacher award.”

For several years, the ASE has been instrumental in calling for better recognition for the work technicians do.

Michelle McGaughey, Chair of ASE’s Technicians Committee, said: “The launch of the register is a giant step forward for technicians, I hope many colleagues will take this opportunity to promote their skills and talents. 

“It’s wonderful to see the unsung heroes of Science Education getting the recognition they deserve.”

During the launch at the Science Council’s Gareth Roberts Memorial Lecture, the Government minister said: “Technicians play an invaluable role both in laboratories and wider industry.

“These professional registers will ensure their expertise is properly recognised by employers and the scientific community.”

He added that the register would provide technicians with “a springboard towards further qualifications and professional development”.

According to research conducted for the Science Council, the public perception of a scientist is mostly of someone working in research or academia. But in reality, the science workforce is made up of roughly equal proportions of workers with non-graduate, graduate and postgraduate qualifications. This reflects the 21st century economy’s needs for people working with science skills in a variety of ways and at many levels. 

Diana Garnham, CEO of the Science Council said:  “Until now technicians have been undervalued and unrecognised. 

 “The Science Council believes there is a strong case for raising the profile of technicians in the science workforce by providing for professional registration alongside graduates and postgraduates. 

“We hope that this will help motivate and retain those already in these roles, as well as encourage more young people to see this as a great potential career in science that does not require going to university.”

Anyone interested in being involved in the early trials of The Registered Science Technician award should email CSciTeach@ase.org.uk