Stephen’s job comes with a lot of responsibility, but he sees it as a privilege. He’s the Technical Manager for Human Anatomy and Surgical Skills at the University of Manchester and that means he cares for and preserves the remains of people who donate their bodies to science and medical research.
His daily routine is varied, but typically he’ll be meeting with potential donors and their families, managing a team of laboratory technicians, preparing solutions to preserve bodies, and supporting the teaching of medical and dental students as they learn about human anatomy – all while ensuring that stringent laboratory laws and regulations are adhered to.
Stephen did a degree in Geology, but soon after graduating, he came across the opportunity of a placement with the Co-Operative Funeral Service – a world away from what he had been studying. He had found his calling and quickly worked his way up through the ranks, from qualified Funeral Director, to qualified Embalmer – eventually securing the role as a Trainee Mortuary Technician at the University of Manchester where he was promoted to the Technical Manager a few years later.
The varied backgrounds of his team of technicians reflect his own journey – from people who’ve worked their way up from school to those with an MSc in Anatomical Science. What holds the team together is a shared passion for human anatomy, as well as strong people skills that help them deal sensitively with people’s loved ones and facilitate their final wishes.
“It is always essential that we treat our body donors and their relatives and friends as we would wish for ourselves and our loved ones, do this and we won’t go far wrong.”
Stephen's career pathway
- 1992 Completed a degree in Geology and began a placement with the Co-Operative Funeral Home
- 1993 Began training as a Funeral Director
- 1997 Completed training as a Funeral Director
- 2000 Completed Diploma in Embalming
- 2001 Began Mortuary Technician training at the University of Manchester
- 2007 Promoted to Technical Manager for Human Anatomy and Surgical Skills at the University of Manchester