Accessibility statement

Abigail Mortimer

Scientific Glassblowing Technician

University Scientific Glassblowing Technician Abigail Mortimer at work

I became involved with the Technican Commitment initially through the Technicians Make it Happen campaign. While reading through the Institute of Science and Technology newsletter, I spotted they were looking for volunteers to attend events and tell young people all about being a Technician. "That sounds fun" I thought, so off I went to the Big Bang Fair, ready to talk about being a scientific glassblower and inspire a future generation of technicians.

Unbeknown to me, two months later the Technician Commitment was due to be launched at the Higher Education Technicians Summit, and having been at the Big Bang Fair I was invited to sit on the panel discussion at the launch. Now to say this took me out of my comfort zone is an understatement, but there was such a positive vibe from the launch of the Technician Commitment, I wondered why I was so nervous and left feeling excited about what was to come.

Since then I have remained involved in the Technician Commitment project at York, currently sitting on three steering groups. Every job I've ever done has been quite practical, with little need for administrative tasks or meetings, so that side of the Technician Commitment was a little new to me. I have to say though, I am really enjoying being involved in helping shape the changes that will increase the visibility, recognition, career and development opportunities for Technicians at The University of York. However for me, it's not just about the long term goals. I feel it's very easy to become complacent to the skills we have as technicians, and I think we often forget just how valuable our skills are, and if the Technician Commitment serves as a platform to remind not only others but ourselves of the skills we possess, then that is equally, if not more, valuable to the technical community.

Career timeline

July 2008 – Started at the University of York as a Trainee Scientific Glassblower
August 2010 – Elementary glassblowing exam - passed with Distinction
February 2011 - Handburner glassworking exam – passed with Distinction
February 2012 – Glassblowing stage one exam - passed with Credit
December 2012 – Standard of Competence exam – passed with Distinction
March 2014 – Brian Smith retired as Chief scientific glassblower and I took over full running of the workshop
November 2014 - Professionally registered as RSciTech
March 2017 to present day – Volunteered at the Big Bang fair which began my involvement in the Technician Commitment.