Registration Case Study – Ben Palmer

Science CouncilBen Palmer Registered Scientist
Role: Materials Characterisation Research Technician
University of Sheffield
Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Career Background

Ben graduated from the University of Sheffield with a 2:1 in Ecology in the summer of 2002. Ben Palmer - RSciFrom there he went to work as a laboratory technician in a microbiology lab at Pennine Foods for 2 years.  In February 2004 Ben secured a position as a Contract Research Technician in the Department of Animal & Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield.  He spent 6 and a half years in this role and worked on three different research projects, in the field of plant physiology and ecology, all on short-term contracts. In August 2010 Ben secured a permanent position in the department of Materials Science & Engineering as a Stores Technician, primarily thinking about his job security Whilst working as a Stores Technician he spent part of his week assisting in laboratory work.  Since then he has moved on from this role and now works full-time as a Research Technician in a materials characterisation laboratory.  He hopes to continue developing his career as a technician and perhaps move into a more senior role in the future.

Ben tells us about his journey through registration

Why did you choose to go for registration?

I decided to go for professional registration after hearing about the scheme as I believed I had the experience, skills and knowledge necessary to satisfy the requirements. I thought joining the register would be beneficial to my career as it would help me to develop myself in the future and demonstrate my capabilities. Prior to applying for registration I completed the ISTs CPD Award which contributed significantly to my application for registration by helping me meet the requirements of the competencies.

What do you see as the benefits of registration?

I believe the key benefits of joining the register are; accredited recognition of the wide range of skills and experience I have gained, it provides a means to develop myself professionally in the future given the constant need to show ongoing CPD, and improved job security in an increasingly uncertain market. There is also a benefit to the organisation in that the support provided by their technical staff will constantly improve as technicians on the register continue to develop themselves.

What are your key skills and responsibilities?

My current role involves running a materials characterisation laboratory and the primary duties include training students, running samples for others on analytical instruments and general laboratory upkeep. My key skills lie in designing and implementing experiments, running complex analytical instruments, data analysis, organising resources and laboratory management.

What sort of CPD activities you undertake and why?

Recent CPD activity that I have undertaken includes, attending an instrument workshop on FT-IR, completing short-courses (such as First Aid at Work), work shadowing and background reading. I am carrying out these activities so that I can provide greater support in the laboratory in which I work and to the department.