Technicians to the rescue

**We are now updating this blog every Friday to bring you the most inspiring stories we've seen over the week**

We’ve been absolutely amazed over the last few weeks by all that technicians across the country are doing to help fight Covid-19. We always knew technicians made things happen everywhere, but never before have technicians’ skills and attributes been so sorely needed. Below are just some of the stories we've seen - we hope you enjoy them!

But before we jump in - the Technician Commitment are looking for the Outstanding HE Technician of the Year with Times Higher Education. If you've gone the extra mile to enhance student experience, advance research or facilitate knowledge transfer they want to hear from you! Applications close on June 10th and you can apply here. Good luck!

There are engineering technicians volunteering to work at field hospitals, pharmacy technicians working overtime, IT technicians keeping all our conference calls going and research technicians sequencing the DNA of the coronavirus to aid vaccine and treatment development.

However we also know that a lot of technicians, particularly in schools and universities, have had their working lives thrown into chaos. Tom from the University of Manchester wrote for us a few weeks ago on how he’s finding being a teaching technician without a lab.

But the can-do attitude of technicians, and the highly skilled nature of their jobs, means that thousands of technicians are stepping up to help the country during its biggest challenge since the second world war. There are far too many examples to give everyone the credit they deserve, but we’ve pulled together a few that we’ve spotted over the last few weeks. We hope it lifts your spirits in the same way it’s lifted ours.

Volunteering their skills to carry out Covid-19 tests

This week we have three interviews with technicians from The Francis Crick Institute who are working hard to process hundreds of covid-19 tests - read them all here:

Thomas Martinez - Cell Services

Laura Cubitt - Advanced Sequencing Facility

Tony Fearns - Tuberculosis research lab

Making protective face shields

A special shout out goes to Nicholas Little, an Orthodontic Dental Technician who has been using his spare time to make face visors for staff in his local NHS trust! Great work Nicholas.

We've seen technicians thinking outside the box for how to create more shields - including reaching out to schools! The University of Reading has been working with technical staff from local schools to produce over 20,000 masks. As Mark, Head of Design & Technology at one of the schools, said: “Not every superhero wears a cape, but they do all wear masks! It’s testament to the team how everyone has done their bit to make it happen. If it was just a one-man-band, like I started with, we would be producing tiny numbers. It’s such a community effort. I think everyone wants to play a part where they can.”

And at the University of Bath technical staff have now made over 45,000 pieces of PPE for the NHS!

Donating PPE to the NHS

There must be absolutely no PPE left in any universities in the UK - lab technicians who have had their research projects paused are using their time to ship gloves, sanitizer and protective glasses to frontline workers. The biggest problem for technicians now is closing the door of the van when you've filled it so full...

Meanwhile at Waltham Forest College, Joanne the Fashion Technician has been making scrubs for the local hospital - keep up the good work Joanne!


Keep up the good work guys and stay safe!


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