Knowledge exchange placements unlock learning opportunities for technicians

Jan 24, 2024

UK technical staff who want to expand their skills and knowledge in a specialist area through a placement can now apply to the Technical Skills Knowledge Exchange Placement Programme.

Launched by the UK Institute for Technical Skills and Strategy, this new programme funds the cost of a knowledge exchange placement for technical professionals in higher education and research.

Placements can take place at universities or research institutes within the UK, or internationally, and the scheme is open to all technicians and RTPs (Research Professional Technicians) based in the UK.

It is the first time technical staff from the UK have had access to a dedicated fund for international placement opportunities, allowing individuals to learn from world-class research centres and technical experts from across the globe.

Ed Bowerman, Technical Skills and Knowledge Exchange Lead for the UK Institute for Technical Skills and Strategy said: “Knowledge exchange programmes bring significant benefits to individuals and organisations in academia, research and innovation. Our Technical Skills Knowledge Exchange Placement Programme ensures that technical professionals – who are critical to these activities – are given the opportunity to enhance their specialist skills.

“Technical professionals are experts in their own right and many have niche roles that can limit opportunities for professional development and learning. Our knowledge exchange placement programme bridges this gap and facilities opportunities to share best practice and improve ways of working at a technician’s own place of work,” Ed added.

The initiative builds on the success of the Midlands Innovation TALENT Placement Programme which saw 27 Midlands-based technicians benefit from placements across higher education and industry, as part of a regional pilot.

Ed explained: “Given the success of the pilot placement programme run by the MI TALENT Programme, we are confident that this model will strengthen technical networks within specific disciplines whilst providing rewarding learning experiences and career development opportunities for technicians.

“Applications are encouraged from technicians in all disciplines who could benefit from visiting a specialist facility to see how it has been set up, or is currently managed, how equipment works, or shadowing a technical expert within a similar discipline, for example.”

Find out more about Technical Skills Knowledge Exchange and apply for the funds here.

Applications remain open throughout the year, with review panels taking place in March, June, October. Line manager approval is required and supporting information must be supplied. The review panel consists of members from the Institute’s Technical Council. Applicants are required to complete a short form with supporting information and line manager approval.

Funding for Technical Skills Knowledge Exchange Placement Programme runs for three years, concluding in 2026.