A rewarding career choice

Getting quality information to support your child in finding a career that is right for them is not always easy. Information about technician careers, which are ideal for people who are inquisitive, practical, and great problem-solvers, is even harder to find. We’ve pulled together stories of real-life technicians from across different industries to inspire both you and your child. Find out more below about earning potential, opportunities for progression and the breadth of opportunities out there.

High demand
Technicians are in huge demand across industries. Time and again, it is technicians that business leaders are crying out for. With a career as a technician, your child can develop skills key to thrive in some of the most cutting-edge industries.

Earning potential
Take a look at some of our real-life technicians and you will see that many earn well above the average salary. Technical paths like apprenticeships are often the best route to becoming a technician – meaning that your child could earn while they learn.

Career progression
Technician careers are often exciting and come with endless possibilities to upskill. Many of the key skills that make a great technician are transferable across industries and businesses, so being a technician could really open up a world of opportunities for your child.

Future Focused
Technicians are not only solving the problems of today but are key to overcoming the challenges of tomorrow – from updating our transport infrastructure, to researching ways to tackle climate change. Your child can have their passion ignited with a career as a technician.

Our real-life stories of technicians show just how broad and interesting their jobs are. From working on ground-breaking treatments for cancer, developing robots headed for space, or working backstage on best-selling shows; be inspired by reading about how technicians make things happen.

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Useful information

Average Salary of a Research Laboratory Technician £30,680
Average Salary of a Network Engineer £37,960
Average Salary of a Mechanical Fitter £36,400
Average salary of a job in the UK* £26,260

Data powered by LMI for all
*according to ONS

Got a question?

What is a technician?

Different reports suggest that there is anything between 1.5 and 2.2 million people working in the UK whose jobs fit the criteria of technician. Only some of them will have the word technician in their job title, and they are found across a wide variety of sectors and industries; but they do have a few keys things in common. They will have specific scientific, technological or engineering knowledge (this will depend on where they work) that they combine with a set of skills and attributes that are common to most technicians, regardless of the industry they are in. You can read more about these skills and attributes in our Prospectus.

Not everyone would make a great technician, but for those that have a natural flair for most of the typical technician skills and attributes, it could be the perfect career path.

Where do technicians work?

There is no such thing as a typical technician employer. In fact, from the smallest SMEs, to some of the biggest brands in the country, technicians are the linchpins of the economy, driving innovation, productivity and generally keeping things running smoothly for businesses up and down the land. Take a look at some of our real-life technicians to get a flavour of the huge variety of technician roles and their often surprising places of work.

What is the Technicians Make it Happen campaign?

Technicians Make it Happen is geared towards inspiring young people and explaining to the adults in their lives, such as parents and teachers, that the career of a technician can have boundless opportunities. Our aim is to reveal how technicians work in virtually every sector and industry in the country – and if you are naturally analytical, practical and a real problem-solver, it’s very likely that a technician career could be ideal.

The campaign is driven by the Gatsby Foundation’s Education Team. Gatsby has long championed technical education and skills in this country. We recognise that not only are these technician roles vital to our economy and growth, they offer a career pathway with autonomy, practicality and plenty of opportunity for growth for those that thrive best following a technical rather than an academic route post-GCSEs.

What grades/qualifications/subjects would my child need to become a technician?

Depending on the particular technician role; technical education pathways like apprenticeships or T-levels would be the best route to becoming a technician. However, going through our real-life technician stories, you will quickly see that people have taken varied paths to their technician role.

As a general rule, most people who are doing a technician role (and everyone featured on this site) will have formal qualifications at least at Level 3 as a minimum. To give you a sense of what that means, Level 3 qualifications that you may have heard of include; A-levels, Advanced Apprenticeships, Level 3 NVQ, Tech Level, or the International Baccalaureate Diploma.

A large number of technicians have qualifications much beyond this (from degrees right up to PhDs). However, it’s rarely the case that they must have this level of qualification to be able do their job – they simply may have enjoyed studying their subject or wanted to develop their area of expertise.

Like almost all jobs advertised in this country, most technicians will be expected to have passed Maths and English GCSEs (or their equivalent).

We would really encourage you to take as many opportunities as you can from your child’s school or college to take any career guidance on offer. All schools and colleges are now asked by government to publish what their career guidance plan is and how it is fit-for-purpose for each-and-every student. Make the most of that offer and ask for information if it is not easy to find.

If you or your child have found a technician role that sounds interesting, visit the National Careers Service where you will find typical entry requirements for that particular role.

If an apprenticeship is an ideal route to a technician job, where can I find one?

Apprenticeships are offered by a wide range of employers and are advertised in many places. The Government’s Apprenticeships website is a great place to start and includes many nationally available apprenticeships, information on the different levels of apprenticeships, and tips on how to apply for them.

However, many employers, colleges, and training providers advertise apprenticeships on their websites and do not always use the Government’s site.

Finding an apprenticeship can be a bit like finding a job – you and your child will want to do some searching online or even contacting local colleges and employers directly to get some more information about what is available.

If you have an idea of the types of apprenticeship your child is interested in, have a search of employers in that sector to get a sense of whether they are likely to offer an apprenticeship.

I have heard of something called T-levels – are they a good option for my child if they want to be a technician of some sort?

T-levels are currently being developed and rolled out in stages across the country. They have been designed to be an ideal route to many great technician roles. They are an option available after GCSEs and are two-year programmes designed with employers. They combine classroom learning with a three-month industry placement. Their purpose is to give young people the technical skills, knowledge and experience to commence a career in an area that they are particularly interested in or passionate about.

T-levels are being rolled out in phases; with the first set already being offered in some schools and colleges since September 2020. It’s hoped that the full range of options will be offered across the country from September 2023. There's lots more information about them on the T-levels website.

Where is a good place to find information about specific technician roles?

If your child knows what kind of technician role they would like, the National Careers Service provides tailored information on the education and skills needed to get into the profession, what their typical working day would look like and relevant training or apprenticeships.

If your child likes the idea of being a technician but isn’t sure of what sector or industry would be right for them, encourage them to read some of the stories of the real-life technicians featured on our website for inspiration.

Is it important for my child to have relevant work experience if they want to be a technician someday?

First-hand experiences of the workplace, including work experience, are always useful – even if it helps to find out where your child definitely doesn’t want to work! A combination of multiple encounters with employers, together with first-hand experience of workplaces, is the best way to build a rich picture of the world of work. If your child is still at school, don’t worry too much about getting a perfect fit for a work experience environment and what they might want to do career-wise. A few opportunities which are very different from one another is likely more valuable than one longer experience.

Work experience opportunities can be hard to find. It’s not something that employers usually advertise. Encourage your child to take some initiative. You might want to help them draft an email to a local employer that they are interested in. Be brave! The worst that someone can say is no. It might need to take a few tries before your child finds somewhere, but don’t be disheartened, being turned-down is usually more to do with the employer’s capacity rather than your child’s ability. Basically, it's not the end of the world to not have much (if any) relevant work experience, but if possible, it's likely to be helpful. 

Do technicians tend to work alone or in teams? My child has high aspirations and wants to have a career where they can be a part of a team that makes a real difference.

Working and collaborating in teams is a very common part of the role of a technician. Most of the technicians that we meet (and each one that you can read about on our website) say that one of the things they enjoy most about their job is working with others to solve problems. You will also see from our real-life stories that technicians tend to feel like they have a clear sense of purpose. Whether they are working on prosthetic limbs for Paralympians or the development of the latest technology in sustainable energy, technicians can be found working on projects that are making huge differences to people’s lives.

Does the Technicians Make it Happen campaign offer things like work experience opportunities or apprenticeships?

Technicians Make it Happen gets many requests regarding work experience and apprenticeships. Unfortunately, we have very limited capacity to offer work experience and it would be within a communications and marketing setting, with no technician experience offered. We do not offer technician apprenticeships, but many of the employers that we feature do.

The Government’s Apprenticeships website is a great place to start and includes many nationally available apprenticeships, information on the different levels of apprenticeships, and tips on how to apply for them.

My child has special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) – would any technician roles be suitable for them?

If your child has special educational needs or a disability, it’s particularly important to get high-quality careers advice and information. This is something you should expect from whatever type of education setting that you child attends.

As you read our real-life technician stories you will see that we don’t always mention if they are someone with SEND, unless they have asked us for that to be included as part of their story. However, we know many technicians with a range of SEND – as there are in all professions and walks of life.

What are the progression opportunities of a technician career?

As you will see through our real-life stories, like most professions, technician careers come in all shapes and sizes. Some have started off in an entry level role or as an apprentice technician, and now are in senior management positions heading up huge teams. Some are working on ground-breaking projects around the world, while others ensure that the broadband service is up to scratch in their local community.

The career progression of a technician is influenced by as many factors as most other jobs. However, by going through some of our real-life stories you will see that passion and enthusiasm for what they do is a common trait for those who have enjoyed technician careers which offered plenty of progression opportunities.

My child has no idea what sort of career they would like – should they become a technician?

It’s OK if your child doesn’t know what they would like to do – many adults remain uncertain!

Use this site as a source of inspiration for some jobs and career paths that they may not have heard of. By reading some of the real-life stories and going through the list of the typical skills and attributes of a technician in our Prospectus, they may find something that chimes with them. If not, well at least it’s a few more options crossed-off the list!

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