Lisa Alford is a senior chemistry technician and science coordinator at Tonbridge School. She received funding from the Chemistry Teaching Empowerment Fund to help with the organisation of a science technician convention in March 2023. We spoke to Lisa about the event and her tips for anyone considering applying for the Fund.
What made you decide to apply for the fund?
I received an email about the available funding, which prompted me to consider applying. I knew securing extra funding would let me invite more technicians to hear about best practice and network with their peers.
What was it that you wanted teachers to get out of attending your event?
I wanted to establish a network of technicians, across a large area who could share ideas and support each other, enhancing their professional development. This would equip technicians with the enhanced skills and knowledge that empowers them to support teachers more effectively.
Our event also aimed to boost recognition for technician’s skills by providing a platform for them to demonstrate their expertise and accomplishments. Additionally, the event presented an invaluable opportunity for technicians to expand their access to essential resources.
How did you go about planning your event?
I surveyed potential attendees to find out what they’d most value in a networking event. I then designed and structured the event based on their requests.
What did you get out of running the event?
Organising the event allowed me to boost my profile and expand my network, establish connections with a diverse group of technicians, educators, exhibitors, and suppliers. These connections could prove invaluable for future collaborations, partnerships, and access to resources within the educational field.
Additionally, through the planning and execution of the event, I have acquired valuable event management and organisational skills.
Do you have any advice for teachers who are considering applying for the fund and running their own event?
Certainly! Here are some key pieces of advice for technicians who are considering applying for funding and running their own event:
- Clearly define your objectives – this will guide your planning process and help you stay focused on your goals
- Develop a detailed event proposal – including timeline, budget breakdown, plans for execution and anticipated benefits for attendees
- Seek partnerships – relevant organisations, institutions, or stakeholders may be able to provide additional resources, expertise, and support for your event
- Promote effectively – use a mix of channels (social media, email, industry publications, and local networks) to reach your audience
- Evaluate and adapt – gather feedback at every opportunity and make necessary adjustments to help you deliver a more impactful experience
- Be flexible – if unexpected challenges occur, being able to adjust your plans is crucial
- Enjoy the journey – Organising an event is an exciting opportunity to make a positive impact and contribution to your professional community.
Want to run your own event like Lisa’s?
Find out more about how to apply for the Chemistry Teaching Empowerment Fund today.