THES is reporting that we are on the brink of an 'age time bomb' that will see a dramatic shortage of laboratory technicians. According to their trade union, Amicus Unite the average technician is over 40 and almost a third are over 50 years of age.
A combination of, lack of opportunity for job development and low wages has seen many leave the academic field, favouring a move into industry or the National Health Service.
In a move towards a solution HEFCE has proferred £75,000 of start-up funding to be used in the formation of a professional/membership organisation (called The Heated project) with the remit of rectifying the skills gap between older experienced technicians and those new to the job. It is hoped that this project in conjunction with Universities continuing to take on trainees will generate a sustainable cohort of technicians.