Daniella Forde is a science technician at Mary Immaculate High School in Cardiff. She received funding from the Chemistry Teaching Empowerment Fund in March 2022 to help establish a science technician support network across South Wales. She talked to us about the project, passing on her tips for anyone considering applying for the Fund.

What made you decide to apply for the Chemistry Teaching Empowerment Fund?

Teachers networking and chatting around a table

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I decided to apply for the Fund as I was my school’s lone secondary science technician and new to the role. I found accessing information and a local network in the South Wales area challenging. Realising that there was a gap in this sector for technicians I went about setting up a technicians network. South Wales Technicians Network (SWTN) was created using Facebook as a platform and currently has over 30 members and is still growing.

What was it that you wanted teachers to get out of your project?

Meeting other technicians from the Cardiff, Newport and Swansea areas through the group has been really positive. Through the network I have helped organise two training sessions – using the funding from the Empowerment Fund to supply refreshments (all techs love a cuppa). Technicians have been able to network at in-person training sessions and gain valuable skills. The South Wales Technician (SWTN) platform is used to ask questions, share information about conferences and events, and even share equipment.

How did you go about planning your project?

To set up the network, I read the CLEAPSS guide published by the National Science Learning Centre and looked online for other helpful hints and tips. I had originally set up the network through Hwb (a Welsh government platform). This didn’t prove to be a great platform as not everyone had a Hwb account, while others like myself didn’t access it regularly.

To get other technicians interested in the idea of the network, I used training days and conferences as an opportunity to ask technicians to sign up. I have built relationships with members of the RSC and the IOP and have made plans for future training sessions for the network group members. The training sessions are open to all group members and technicians have the opportunity to host events at their school.

What did you get out of running the project?

Setting up the network has given me the confidence to ask for support from technicians in my locality. I have had the opportunity to network with professionals, learn new skills and build relationships with technicians.

Do you have any advice for teachers who are considering applying for the Fund and running their own event or project?

Applying for the grant was the push I needed to create the technicians network. I will always be thankful to the RSC for the funding and recommend both teachers and technicians apply.

Want to run your own event like Daniella’s?

Find out more about how to apply for the Chemistry Teaching Empowerment Fund today.