National conference adds magical networking touch


Date: 03/07/2002

The University of Western Sydney will host TechTrain 2002, a national conference for technical and information technology professionals, on July 4, 5 and 6, 2002 at Parramatta campus.

The UWS Chancellor, Mr John Phillips, AM, will officially open the unique conference which will be attended by over 150 delegates from major Australian universities including Queensland University of Technology, Griffith University, Flinders University, University of South Australia, Edith Cowan University, University of Technology, University of New South Wales and the University of Western Sydney.

The conference theme 'Making a TechWork Network' will include special interest groups to connect participants with similar interests and will cover topics on information technology, nursing, occupational health & safety and innovation & laboratory practice.

TechTrain will also feature colourful and visual 'creativity displays'. The displays will showcase many original ideas and creations developed by technical staff, such as a deer-weighing display, a horticulture display, posters, a first aid display and an engineering display featuring a power switching unit for use in electromagnetic laboratories.

According to the conference patron and Dean of the College of Science, Technology and the Environment, Professor Mick Wilson, "TechTrain has an important role in allowing staff to develop best practice amongst Universities".

'I have a special affinity with technicians since I started out as a technician in Essex, England, analysing antibiotics. My wage was 11 pounds and sixpence a week," Professor Wilson says.

"It was a very different world and one in which technical staff were distinguished clearly from degree chemists, administrative personnel and management. All that has now changed and the role of the technician is quite different and ranges from people managers to highly skilled instrumental officers, many of whom publish in scientific journals.

"One thing I believe distinguishes modern technicians from all the rest however is the talent for practical and useful matters.

"As in the book 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy', if the Earth was about to end and you had to fill the spaceship with 20 useful people to recolonise a new planet, one place would be filled with a pilot, one with a navigator, four with farmers, two medics and two builders. But technicians would fill the other ten places. That's how important they are."

The conference will also host a trade display with numerous scientific and educational suppliers displaying their products and equipment.

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For more information or requests for interviews please contact: Suzie Vlaming, Media Officer, (02) 9678 7429, 0414 308 701, email s.vlaming@uws.edu.au

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