The Royal Society award has been given in recognition of the important contribution these technicians have made to numerous industries and their tireless efforts to address the critical technician skills shortage, including by generously supporting and contributing to Technicians: The David Sainsbury Gallery at the Science Museum and the Gatsby Foundation’s Technicians: We Make the Difference campaign.
Stories from each of the award-winning technicians, which include technicians working at the museum, have been published online as part of the campaign, helping young people discover more about these varied roles.
Visitors to the museum’s Technicians Gallery can discover inspirational stories from winning technicians working in the advanced manufacturing, creative industries, health science and renewable energy sectors through large-screen videos and interactive exhibits.
Some of the technicians also host interactive workshops for school groups, enabling young people to meet a real technician in the gallery and experience what it is like to do their job.
One of the 100 Technicians recognised by the Royal Society is Tyler Terry-Wallace, a Simulation Technician at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital, who has led some of the interactive workshops for schools.
Tyler said: ‘I am honoured to receive an award from such a prestigious organisation. Technicians tend to be working behind the scenes to make things happen and so it’s been great to have a video explaining my work featured in the gallery, along with the chance to create a workshop which I deliver to young people twice a month. My hope is that the recognition from this award will help what we’re already trying to do and inspire others to explore a technician role.’
Although an estimated 1.5 million technicians work in the UK—from archaeological technicians to veterinary nurses— few young people know about technicians and the pathways to these technical roles. Demand for these skilled roles continues to increase, with 800,000 technicians and apprentices desperately needed across the STEM sector.
The gallery and campaign that the technicians have contributed to both aim to celebrate the vital but unseen role of technicians, change perceptions of technical careers and inspire tomorrow’s technicians.
In the gallery, visitors can try out essential tasks that technicians perform and discover their remarkable stories, stepping into Shuri’s Lab from Marvel Studios’ Black Panther to control the film set lighting, making lifesaving drugs as an NHS pharmacy technician, solving problems as a wind turbine technician and testing their precision welding skills.
The gallery invites young people to explore 100 varied technician roles, with illustrations of these roles on the gallery’s walls and the Technicians Role Finder interactive exhibit (also available via technicians.org.uk) showcasing the extraordinary breadth of technical careers on offer.
The Royal Society Hauksbee Award highlights the scientific achievements of individuals or teams working behind the scenes who might otherwise not be recognised.
It is named after Francis Hauksbee, who was Isaac Newton’s laboratory assistant at the Royal Society and later appointed curator and instrument maker. Hauksbee became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1705.