Could I be a technician?

Recently completed or still doing your A-levels? Doing something technical at college? Maybe you’re at or finished uni - or even started a career, but it doesn’t feel right for you. Never fear, whatever path you’ve taken so far, it's never too late to start a technician career if you feel it would suit. Take a look below and see if any of this sounds like you.

Discover more about these attributes in our prospectus.

Analytical

A natural ability to look at a problem logically, to consider all possibilities, before finding the best way forward.

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Attention to detail

The ability to focus, make sound judgements and accurate decisions.

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Communicating complex ideas

Being able to make difficult things easy to understand and communicate them to others.

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Critical thinking

The process of thinking carefully about a subject or idea. Listening carefully, asking the right questions and acting upon what you’ve learnt is key.

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Decisive

To be able to assess the available options and find the correct solution quickly and confidently.

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Instructing others

A knack for teaching others how to do something.

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Practical application

Being able to put what you’ve learnt into practice.

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Precise

Being very careful and accurate, particularly about small details. Real attention to detail gives you the quality control skills needed to pursue a career as a technician.

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Problem-solving

The ability to define or identify a complex problem, arrive at a number of potential solutions and evaluate, choose and implement the best possible solution.

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Technologically-minded

Possessing a knack for using new technology or creating things on a computer.

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Discover more about these skills in our prospectus.

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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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

When we hear the word technician, many of us first think of those technicians based in our school or college’s science or D&T departments. These people play a key role in the education workforce. However, in terms of overall numbers, they are a very small percentage (approximately 1%) of the total number of people in the country who could be defined as technicians.

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 businesses, 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 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.   

What grades/qualifications/subjects would I need to become a technician? What if I don’t have the right qualifications or have studied the wrong thing?

Depending on the particular technician role; technical education pathways like apprenticeships or the upcoming 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. So, please don’t panic! It’s never too late to start something new and you might find that whatever qualifications you have already gained have helped you to develop some key transferable skills that are very relevant to a technician career.

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 need this level of qualification to be able do their job – they simply may have enjoyed their subject or studying 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).

If you come across a technician role that you find interesting, visit the National Careers Service site where you will find typical entry requirements for that role.

If an apprenticeship is an ideal route to a technician job, where can I get more information about finding 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 own websites and do not always use the Government’s site.

Finding an apprenticeship can be a bit like finding a job – your first step should be to do some searching online to see what’s out there. Don’t be afraid to email or call local colleges or employers directly to get some more information about what is available.

I have heard of a little about the new T-levels – are they a good option if I am interested in a technician role?

T-levels are currently being designed and are hoped to be an ideal route to many great technician roles. They are set at Level 3 (one T-level is equivalent to 3 A-levels) and so will be an option available after GCSEs. 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 being offered in some schools and colleges from September 2020. It’s hoped that the full range of options will be offered across the country from September 2023.

If you have already completed your GCSEs, there are currently no T-levels available to undertake just yet. Don’t worry however, there are other technical qualifications still available for you to do. The National Careers Service provides tailored information on the education and skills needed to get into particular jobs and is a great place to start to find out what your current options are.

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

If there is a particular technician role that you like the sound of, the National Careers Service provides tailored information on the education and skills needed to get into the profession, what your typical working day would look like and relevant training or  apprenticeships.

If the idea of being a technician appeals to you, but you aren’t sure of what sector or industry would be right, why not use some of the stories of the real-life technicians featured on our website for inspiration.

How do I know if I have what it takes to become a technician some day?

Going through our real-life stories of technicians, you will see people who have come from all walks of life. However, many of them do have quite a few things in common. If you take a look at our Prospectus; you will see that it lists out some of the most important things you need to make it as a technician. If some of them sound like you, there’s every chance that you could make it as a great technician!

When I think of technicians, I think of the people working in the science or D&T departments at school – or maybe someone doing manual work on cars. Are these the people that you are talking about?

When we hear the word technician, many of us first think of those technicians based in our school or college’s science or D&T departments. These people play a key role in the education workforce. However, in terms of overall numbers, they are a very small percentage (less than 1%) of the total number of people in the country who could be defined as technicians.

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; they could be working on anything from cancer cures in medical labs, to designing the lighting for a concert at the O2.

Whatever their job title, 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. Go through some of our real-life technician stories and read our Prospectus to get a fuller picture of the wide range of technician careers available.

Do technicians tend to work alone or in teams? I want to have a career where I 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.

I have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) – would any technician roles be suitable for me?

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.

If you have any SEND, you are as entitled as any other student to receive high-quality careers advice and information from your school or college. Do not be afraid to ask a teacher or a careers advisor for guidance and support.

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 careers with plenty of progression.

I’ve no idea what I want to do. Should I become a technician? Help!

It’s OK if you don’t know what you would like to do – many of us at various points in our education and career remain uncertain!

Use this site as a source of inspiration and information about some jobs and career paths that you 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, you may find something you like the look of and want to find out more. If not, well at least it’s a few more options crossed-off the list!

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Useful Information

Average Salary of a Research Laboratory Technician£30,680
Average Salary of a Network Engineer£34,320
Average Salary of a Mechanical Fitter£35,360
Average salary of a job in the UK*£26,260

Data powered by LMI for all
*according to ONS

The facts

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