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Pioneering Leadership Programme Launches to Tackle Gender Gap

Within higher education and research settings there are only 32% of women in technician management and leadership roles and less than half of those in the technical workforce are women.*

To address this, the Research-England funded TALENT programme has created the UK’s first leadership programme designed for people in technical roles who identify as women.

The Herschel Programme for Women in Technical Leadership is a six-month programme that will empower technicians by developing leadership skills and help lessen this workforce imbalance.

Individuals working in higher education and research settings nationwide are invited to apply for the six-month programme which will commence in January 2022.

Denise McLean, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead for TALENT said: “This unique leadership programme has been designed for current and aspiring women technical leaders.

“The course content has been curated by specialists with technical expertise who understand the sector and the variety of roles within it. Our national programme launches at a time when the latest UK figures show the gender pay gap remains a problem, particularly in science and engineering roles.”

Currently, women make up 41% of the technical workforce and just 32% of technical staff in management or leadership positions are women. The recently published 2020 Gender Pay Gap figures reveal the median pay gap between science, engineering and technology associate professionals is 13.1, highlighting the need for workplace initiatives that boost career opportunities for technicians who identify as women.

Denise added: “I’m passionate about creating opportunities for everyone and I’m confident that this programme will help more women advance their careers, in turn creating a more diverse and sustainable workforce.”

Kelly Vere MBE, Director of Technical Skills and Strategy for the University of Nottingham and Project Lead for TALENT also commented.

“This is the first opportunity of its kind to be offered to women in technical roles and aligns with the vision set out in the R&D People and Culture Strategy to put people at the heart of the UK’s research and innovation ecosystem,” she said.

“The strategy sets out a plan to achieve great leadership at all levels to make the sector fit for the challenges it faces. This programme will play a key role in this by giving people the skills and behaviours needed for leading people and teams.

“The programme has been named after Caroline Herschel one of the earliest ‘technicians’ at the turn of the 19th century. She helped pioneer the discovery of comets and other astronomy work and truly paved the way for the women of the future to play key roles in scientific endeavours.”

Claire Cawthorne, Professional Development Officer from the University of Nottingham was part of the team who developed the programme.

She said: “Modules will cover sessions on self-awareness, leading in a technical environment, negotiation skills and navigating the organisation. Initiatives like this help higher education institutes to develop and retain the best talent whilst boosting confidence and career opportunities for individuals.”

Apply for The Herschel Programme for Women in Technical Leadership here

Applicants are asked to supply a 200-word supporting statement. Deadline for applications is 5 November 2021.