John has an HND in mechatronics and now works as a university teaching laboratory technician...
While I hold an HND (mechatronics), anybody coming into the role now would probably benefit more by having a science or engineering degree. I started work in education on return to the UK, having worked abroad for an engineering company. Initially teaching in an FE college, I then moved to my present post, running the physics and dry forensics teaching labs at the University of Kent.
My role includes a great deal of outreach activity and schools liaison work. I found this position advertised in the local press and chose to make a change in direction due to domestic considerations.
While degree level study may initially seem irrelevant on entering a teaching technician job, in a science lab, a very high level of underpinning knowledge is required, both when things start going wrong, and when developing new experiments to meet the changing needs of courses.
Quite often no training courses are available in a particular area, so you simply have to find information out yourself. In my particular case, I knew nothing about forensic science five years ago. Nobody was offering technician courses in the subject, so it was simply a matter of finding some books and reading. You need the persistence to pin somebody down, and make them explain anything you don't understand and to be self motivated.
Some of the abilities that I would say are crucial to a teaching lab technician are flexibility, ability to cope with change and ability to communicate.
As HE becomes more financially driven, the rate at which things will change, types of courses offered etc. will increase.
Any job will involve aspects that you like, and some that you don't. In my case, I like the dealing with people aspects, and the technical challenges. I find it difficult to get excited about some of the health and safety aspects.
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