Celebrating Prospect's new RegTech advisors

New Prospect RegTech advisors in Diamond Light Source ©Private
New Prospect RegTech advisors in Diamond Light Source ©Private

Congratulations, RegTech advisors! Celebrating success is essential as well as good fun. It makes us stop and acknowledge that trade unions are involved in exciting and remarkable development work in workplaces.

One of these celebratory occasions took place in mid-October when I was invited to an event where the first ever Prospect RegTech advisors received their certificates.

Prospect has done some groundbreaking work in building awareness of technician registration and their status in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). A great step forward in their RegTech project has been signing up and training of the six new Advisors in Diamond Light Source on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.

The brand new advisors have been trained to help and support technician workforce to apply for professional registration. This is a voluntary role and obviously Prospect is looking to train many more. The advisors assist, share information and mentor apprentices and existing technical workforce.

Lloyd Collier wears a number of union hats, but, three days a week, he is the Prospect RegTech Project Leader. He said:

"It was fantastic to see our first six RegTech Advisors receive their training certificates from Diamond CEO, Professor Andrew Harrison.

"We were really pleased that Andrew took time out of his busy schedule, not only to present the certificates to our newly-trained RegTech Advisors, but to spend time talking about the importance of the role they will have in supporting Diamond technicians to achieve professional registration."

The union and employer partnership deserves applauds as well. On the course of the unionlearn Technician Registration project, I have noticed that some employers do pay professional institution and registration fees on behalf of their higher graded staff, such as engineers, but not for the technician workforce.

Diamond Light, however, has agreed to pay the membership and registration fees of the relevant professional bodies for technicians too. With RegTech advisors’ help there excitement in the air and hope that a lot more technicians will take up the opportunity to get recognition for their skills, letters after their name (EngTech or RSciTech) and find opportunities for further professional and personal development.

To support their advisors Prospect’s Careersmart website offers the training materials the union has used as well as a very useful list of professional bodies offering technician registration. This is the first time I have come across with a comprehensive look at who offers what.

With financial support from the Gatsby Foundation Prospect has been able to build resources that are not only useful for Prospect union learning reps (ULRs), but other unions benefit from these handy building blocks of understanding registration.

On top of Careersmart, there is other practical help for unions too. Unionlearn has produced the Technician Registration Toolkit and Employers supporting the technician workforce and working with unions guide amongst other things.

And if you are interested in what Adrian Johnson, one of the new advisors does for living as a technician in Diamond Light, read his excellent article on the Institute of Physics website.

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Kirsi Kekki

Kirsi Kekki is a unionlearn policy officer working in the Strategy team. She has worked in a number of trade unions in the UK and Finland with a variety of roles from tutoring to organising and project management.

Kirsi is currently looking after English and maths, adult learning and apprentice policy and support to unions.