Claire Hutton, Research Technical Lead, Newcastle University, was a delegate at the HEaTED workshop on the NTDC Partner event, held online on 21 st October 2021. She noted: “Absolutely agree that [HEaTED] courses promote confidence and motivation!”
Claire also highlighted the following thought:
“I think some technicians would like to do more CPD courses, including HEaTED, but often they don’t know where the funding will come from.”
The good news is that there is always funding available for technical staff learning and development, in all universities. However, the issue is that there may be insufficient funding, as perceived by some people. Accessing the allocated staff development funds, by way of financial approval, can be challenging, but one that is manageable.
The first thing you need to know is that technical staff development funding resides at the functional level of the department/School. The second thing you need to do is convince and or make a case to your line manager/department/school to approve funding for your attendance. This can be challenging given budgetary constraints and operational needs.
Here are my top 3 suggestions in making a solid case for CPD approval and it starts by asking yourself a question:
1. Does the CPD activity match closely to what has been identified and agreed in your appraisal plan for the year? If so, you have a strong case for financial approval, as it will align with your role, technical services, departmental and school plans. It is highly likely that your chosen course will be approved. However, if you’ve not completed a current appraisal/personal development review, consider getting it done and identifying the CPD needs with your line manager, and recommending the course you’ve found at HEaTED.
2. Does the CPD activity address a specific gap in your knowledge and skills portfolio that will directly impact your day-to-day and or immediate future activities? If so, explain to your line manager or head of department, HOW and WHAT outcomes your attendance on the CPD will have. Here, you need to convince them of the immediate impact your attendance on the course will have to the ongoing needs of the operations and technical services to stakeholders (students, researchers, academic staff, collaborators, users of the facility, etc.).
3. Does the CPD activity address any changes or priorities in your services and or department, such as restructuring and staff changes? If so, consider the competencies required to effectively perform during a period of change and or uncertainty. Again, you will need to explain HOW the chosen CPD will enable and empower you. Be prepared to highlight the expected impact of attendance on the chosen CPD that will increase productivity, create efficiency and boost your capability.
Securing CPD funding approval is about making a solid case, where you need to demonstrate the evidence for the need and impact of the training to you, your team and the department.
Suhel Miah is a career technician with 30+ years of experience in providing technical services to academia in Higher Education. He has provided operational and technical strategic management oversight, including the development and delivery of a range of customer–focused high quality technical service functions by leading specialist teams.
Suhel provides expert advice and guidance in the development of professional and soft skills learning. He conducts training, coaching and creating engaging and interactive content with insight and know-how.