Tag Archives: Staff Networks

 NU TechNet

 NU TechNet is a staff network run by Technicians, for Technicians, to give them a voice and help them to feel valued at work.

If you’re interested in getting involved, TechNet’s first meeting of the year is on 10th October, 1 – 3.15pm, in the Lindisfarne Room in the Hadrian Building.

To find out more about TechNet and why you should come along, we spoke to Roy Lamb, an Analytical Technician in the School of Natural and Environmental Science and a member of TechNet.

Can you tell us a bit about what the network does?

NU TechNet has a number of functions and is a major part of identifying and driving some of the Technician Commitment initiatives. Launched by the Science Council in May 2017, the Technician Commitment is a university and research institution initiative. It is led by a steering group of sector bodies, with support from the Science Council and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation’s ‘Technicians Make It Happen’ campaign.

As of September 2017, 61 institutes of higher education have joined the Technician commitment. Newcastle University is a founder signatory and joined in March 2017 with the approval of Prof. Chris Day.

In short, NU TechNet allow us as technicians to increase visibility, evaluate impact, gain recognition, develop our careers, ensure the future stability of technical skill across the organisation and allow that skill to be fully utilised.

How has TechNet helped you personally?

NU TechNet has allowed me to showcase my skills as a member of the technical work force, build confidence through presenting my work at NU TechNet events and really helped get my name out there as an individual. Being an individual is often difficult as a technician as we are extremely team orientated, however we each have our own set of skills and abilities which isn’t frequently seen by others outside of those teams.

What has been the best thing about being part of TechNet?

The Network has been extremely useful in bringing forth and drawing from the years of experience of our technicians. Reducing equipment downtime and repair costs, whilst allowing for knowledge transfer and process tutoring. This not only increases the skill base of the technical workforce, but ensures that those techniques are passed onto the next generation of technicians.

It is also extremely interesting to hear about all the different projects and tasks other technician have completed or have in progress.

Where do you hope to see the network going in the future?

In keeping with the universities vision, we have targets we’d like to meet in the future. Here are a few of those we’d like to accomplish within the next 5 years, using NU TechNet as a driving force:

  • Examine impact cases submitted to the forthcoming REF submission to identify exemplars where Technical Staff input has been vital to their success.
  • Where appropriate, key decision making Committees/Boards to have Technical Staff representation/expertise.
  • Introduction of apprenticeships up to and including Level 7 that existing and new Technical Staff can access, as a development opportunity.
  • Establish a Technical Skills Academy to deliver technical CPD to others across the HE and commercial sectors.

To find out more about NU TechNet, or how to get involved, please click here. You can also follow them on Twitter @NU_TechNet.


Rainbow@ncl is a newly-established staff and PGR network, which aims to challenge heteronormativity, support LGBT+ staff and students, and promote inclusion of people of diverse genders, sexualities, and relationships.

Today (28th September) 12-2pm, they are having a celebratory launch event in the Reception Rooms of the Armstrong Building. If you would like to come along, please register here.

To find out a little bit more about Rainbow@ncl ahead of their launch event, I spoke to Dr Gareth Longstaff, a lecturer in Media and Culture Studies and the Chair of Rainbow@ncl.

Why did you decide to start the network?

Before the inception of Rainbow@ncl, there had been an informal, socially-focused LGBT+ staff network called Mosaic. About a year ago, Kate Chedgzoy (EDI lead in HaSS) and I met with the hope of forming something new that was still a support network, but was also able to feed into broader issues across the University and within Higher Education.

The first scoping event happened the week after Induction Week in 2017, and since then we’ve made a huge amount of progress in forming a steering group and setting up the network.

What do you think the network means to its members?

I believe Rainbow@ncl means a great deal to its members. It provides staff with a strong support network at work, and, for many, it provides the first opportunity they’ve had to meet with likeminded people in an open, inclusive space to discuss the issues they’re facing. It lets people know that their thoughts and feelings are valid, and that they are understood by others.

The network is intended to be inclusive to all staff who identify as LGBT+, regardless of their background or position within the University. Everything we do is decided collectively, even down to small details such as the timings and locations of events. We hope to make the network even more diverse than it already is, and to focus on intersectionality and work with other EDI networks across the University.

Where you might see the network going in the future?

We feel as though we’ve never had as much institutional support as we do at the moment, so it’s really important for us to keep up this momentum and make ourselves a visible, sustainable and embedded presence within the University.

We are working to increase our prominence, through initiatives such as the distribution of over 2000 lanyards, raising the LGBT+ flag at key points of the year, developing a front facing webpage for the Network, as well as by working with other networks, such as NU Women and BAME, to promote intersectionality. We want everyone in the University to have a sense of what we do, by embedding ourselves into the culture, politics and policy of the University, whilst still retaining our autonomy as a network.

We also hope to work as a critical ally to senior management groups, to affect policy development, such as Trans policy and gender neutrality in documentation. We also want to ensure policy is consistently reviewed to make it as transparent and inclusive as possible.

If you’d like to find out more about Rainbow@ncl and how to get involved, come along to their launch event 12-2pm today (28th September). Alternatively, click here to read more about them.