Technicians Make it Happen was launched last year by the Gatsby Foundation in an attempt to expose the breadth of these crucial roles that go unfilled across the UK. In its first year, the campaign reached hundreds of thousands of people with commanding stories, photography and statistics. Since April 2016, more than 30 leading organisations have pledged their support, including the BBC, Microsoft, Siemens and Toyota.
Recruiting adequate technicians poses a huge threat to the success of the new Industrial Strategy, given that 25% of employers working in science, technology and engineering report difficulty in finding skilled workers. Technicians Make it Happen seeks to address this by challenging stereotypes and showcasing the integral roles of technicians to modern society. Technicians working in space flight, motor sports, botany and theatre are amongst those who have fronted the campaign to inspire future generations.
By 2020, the government will plug more than £500M a year into new “T-Levels” to reform the technical education system. Currently, there are around 13,000 separate technical qualifications. In plumbing alone a young person has the choice of 33 different courses. The government hopes that the new simplified system will have wide-reaching benefits for the economy by boosting the productivity of UK businesses.
The second phase of the campaign aims to support the take up of “T-Levels” and high-quality apprenticeships as alternatives to more well-trodden education routes, by featuring many real-life technicians who have forged successful careers by undertaking non-academic further and higher education.
Lord Sainsbury said: “If young people are to benefit from the opportunities that the reform of our country’s technical education system will bring, we must showcase the breadth of technician careers in the UK. There are thousands of vacancies open across industries right now, and the high-growth areas identified in the government’s Industrial Strategy will depend on a talented and skilled technician workforce, but if young people don’t know about these careers, why would they make a choice to train for them?
“An increased awareness of technical careers, through campaigns such as Technicians Make It Happen, coupled with the overhaul and simplification of our technical education system, will have an immeasurable impact on the lives of many young people, their families, and our economy as a whole.”
Technicians Make it Happen has successfully brought technicians into the spotlight and has increased awareness amongst the public through a national photo competition launched last year. The winner who will receive career mentorship from industry experts will be announced later this month.
To find out more, visit www.technicians.org.uk.