STEMNET has announced a nationwide hunt for technicians who can inspire the next generation to fill a skills gap described as critical to the future of the economy.
The Inspirational Technician Award, supported by Lord Sainsbury’s Gatsby Foundation, will recognise the work of technicians who inspire young people to follow technical careers.
According to a statement, the award aims to improve public perceptions of a profession in high demand by employers and is one of five categories within the National STEMNET Awards 2011, sponsored by the Science and Technology Facilities Council.
The other awards will recognise the UK’s most dedicated STEM ambassador, teacher, STEM club and employer and all winners will receive a trip to CERN as part of their prize.
The 2010 National Strategic Skills Audit described technicians as a ‘high priority area of critical importance to the economy’. A 2010 report by Manpower identified technicians as sixth in a list of jobs that UK employers are having difficulty filling.
However, a major problem facing the technician profession is a lack of understanding of the job and the career paths available. An Engineering UK report last year found that perceptions of what technicians do was significantly lower among the UK population than for their colleagues in Europe.
Twenty per cent of men and 30 per cent of women admitted to knowing nothing about what technicians do and understanding of the profession was particularly poor among younger age groups.
The closing date for nominations is Monday 3 October. More information can be found here.
The UK’s first-ever winner of the Inspirational Technician Award will be announced by Lord Sainsbury at an awards ceremony at the House of Lords in December.