‘Life-changing’ technical leadership programme celebrates successes

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

More than 170 technicians have completed a pioneering national leadership programme which has been developed to tackle the workforce imbalance and equality gap within the UK’s technical community.

technical leadership programme

The Herschel Programme for Women in Technical Leadership, named after Caroline Herschel - a pioneer in the discovery of comets and an early ‘technician’ - concluded its six-month pilot with a celebration event in London.

53 higher education and research institutions from across the UK were represented on the unique programme designed and delivered by the University of Nottingham and the Research England funded Midlands Innovation TALENT programme.

Co-created with technical and organisational development experts to address topics specifically relevant to women in technical roles, the programme set out to elevate and advance career opportunities for current and aspiring leaders who identify as women.

Technicians reflected on the changes they had experienced as a result of completing the programme, with many having successfully applied for new jobs and development opportunities.

Sarah Jane Goodwin, MAM Administrator at the University of Salford said: “The Herschel Programme has been the best thing that has ever happened to me and has changed my life for the better. It has helped me to find the confidence to recently apply for a secondment within a higher technical role that I got with the help of the course. I used the knowledge that was passed down to me from these inspiring women and will be forever grateful. I am very excited for the future and what's to come.”

In an inspiring keynote talk from Professor Carole Mundell, President of the Science Council said: “Diversity is critical within teams and experienced leaders help scientists answer fundamental questions. Technicians enrich and influence teams which enable discoveries and developments.” She shared person career highlights and encouraged the group of leaders to be curious, say yes to new opportunities and experiences to become frontiers of knowledge.

The celebration event featured a special talk from Kelley Swain, author of Double the Stars, a book inspired by Caroline Herschel’s incredible story of endurance and adaptability. Kelley’s book and its themes have been central to the programme and all delegates were gifted their own copy of a dedicated Herschel Programme edition book on course completion.

Kelley Swain said: “Caroline Herschel was the first woman in England to earn salary for her scientific work. She was a tenacious woman and ambitious woman. I hope those on the programme continue in your work as technicians and that you’re inspired by her incredible journey.”

Contributions were also made by Claire Cawthorne, Herschel Programme Director, University of Nottingham, Helen McNamara, Director of Organisational & People Development for the University of Nottingham chaired a panel discussion with Sandy Sparks, Denise McLean, Michelle Jackson, Emma Colley and Lindsay Davies.


The celebration event took place at Church House Westminster on 14 July.

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