Technician Commitment: Skills, Roles and Responsibilities FAQs


National Technician Development Centre: Skills, Roles and Responsibilities Survey (2019 Version)

The Technician Skills, Roles and Responsibilities Survey is one of the National Technician Development Centre’s research projects. Before taking part in the survey, it is important you understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the following information carefully.   


What is the National Technician Development Centre

The National Technician Development Centre (NTDC), funded by HEFCE and the University of Sheffield, was launched in 2017. The Centre aims to enhance the excellence and efficiency of the technical workforce in Higher Education (HE) and address the growing skills gap which threatens our future success in high priority subject areas.   

The Centre aims to help HEIs address the skills gap in a number of ways, including the use of the Technician Skills, Roles and Responsibilities survey, which includes this survey.    

What is the Technician Skills, Roles and Responsibilities Survey?

The Technician Skills, Roles and Responsibilities Survey is a comprehensive workforce-planning research tool, designed to help HEIs capture relevant information needed to support workforce planning. It is designed to enable each HEI (such as Royal Holloway) to capture intelligence to understand their technical workforce, and for the NTDC to understand the sector technical workforce on a wider scale.    

The survey process involves carrying out this Technician Skills, Roles and Responsibilities Survey, capturing information related to technician roles across an institution. Royal Holloway has worked closely with NTDC staff to develop this version of the survey.The findings of this survey, and resulting feedback, will be used to inform future versions of the tool. Everyone who takes part in the survey will receive a copy of their responses to aid their future development

Why is Royal Holloway running the Technician Skills, Roles and Responsibilities Survey?

As a service, supporting highly specialised and diverse disciplines, we hold a vast array of technical skills. Whilst we have a good understanding of the skills that we currently use to deliver support to teaching and research at the University, it would take us some time to document and demonstrate such an extensive repertoire of capabilities. In addition, many of us have additional skills that we have acquired, sometimes from working elsewhere, or in working in different roles at the University. These skills may not currently be in use and therefore may not be apparent, but are just as important when considering the extensive skills sets that we hold. This survey will enable us to collect, document and understand the full skills profile of Technical Staff. The survey also collects information on those skills that we as technicians would like to acquire. Having such information will be extremely useful when we are considering training and development, succession planning and when developing new opportunities for current staff members.

Who should complete the survey?

We are inviting all department-based technical staff at the University to complete the survey.     

What will I be asked?

The survey will ask questions related to your role as a technician, your areas of responsibility, and the technical skills and techniques you commonly use in your job.    

What will happen with my responses?

Your responses to the survey will be held confidentially and securely, aligned with data protection guidelines and new GDPR legislation, by the NTDC team. The data will be analysed to evaluate this version of the survey. All project reporting by the NTDC will be done using anonymised data. This will allow us to further understand the technical sector skills gaps at a national level.     

Your data will also be stored by the Technical Managers Working Group at Royal Holloway.     

The survey and all responses will be housed on Qualtrics, a well-respected online survey platform. To read about Qualtrics and their data storage policies please visit this link .    

Once the survey has closed you will receive a Personal Report - a copy of your responses which we recommend you keep to be used as part of your professional development. Departmental Reports of your personal skills profiles will be made available to your Technical Manager and the Technical Managers Working Group.    

A University-wide anonymous report will also be available to demonstrate the in-house skills that are available. This will inform discussions around identifying skills gaps, training and development opportunities, succession planning, and discussions when researchers are considering buying out technician time from Technical Services for grant applications and contracts.   

What are the benefits of taking part?

As stated above, you will have the chance to spend time recording your skills and reflecting on your role. You will then receive a copy of your responses which you may find useful for your own personal career development. The goal of this work is to have a positive impact on the career development and progression of all technical staff in higher education. Your feedback will help us ensure that this is achieved.   

How long will it take?

The survey should take approximately 40-60 minutes of your time. Once you have started the survey you can return to it at any time using your original link. This will allow you to complete the survey in more than one sitting. 

Will there be a progress bar?

Due to the structure of the survey, there will not be a progress bar demonstrating how far you are through the survey. A progress bar showing you the percentage of questions you have completed would be inaccurate due to the fact that, due to the selections you make during the survey, you will not go through every question.

Can the survey be accessed off-site?

Yes. The survey is accessed through Qualtrics, which is available online anywhere.

How long will the survey be open for?

The survey is opened from Monday, 16th December 2019 until Friday, 24th January 2020.

Has ethics approval been given for this project?

This survey constitutes a service evaluation for Technical Services at Royal Holloway. Any data used outside of Technical Services will be anonymised and Research Ethics Committee review, either at Department or University level, is not required.     

Please see ‘What will happen with my responses?’ above for an outline of what will happen with the data collected in this survey.    

Will the information gained from the Skills survey be used to restructure the Technical profession in the future?

There is no intention to use the information gained from the skills survey for any other reason than to raise the profile of the profession and work towards meeting some of the needs.

We believe that the survey is a good opportunity for the Technical Operation Managers to gain information on their teams enabling them to develop appropriate interventions that will raise visibility, give recognition, succession planning, and identify training needs. For years some staff have felt undervalued and their work unrecognised.  This is an opportunity to change this.  

Many HEIs are involved in the Technicians Commitment for example the universities of Exeter, Nottingham, Edinburgh, ICL, Reading, Surrey, Birmingham, St Andrews and Manchester to name a few and some have taken part in the Skills Survey that is facilitated by the National Technician Development Centre (NTDC), based at the University of Sheffield. It is a nationwide initiative run by and for technicians.

Each technician, who completes the survey, will receive a personal report on their skills set that can be used in discussions with your line manager during your PDR meeting, if you wish.

Further information

If you require any further information or wish to ask any questions regarding this study or the storage of the captured data please contact  

For more information on the National Technician Development Centre, please visit

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey. Your responses are invaluable and greatly appreciated.