Technical report writing courses

Atherton Training Consultants

Email: Tony Atherton

Phone: 07976-390960

In-house courses - at your premises
Editing Technical Reports
Business Report Writing
Home The Trainer Clients Articles Tips


Now in its 18th year

One-day. In-house. Groups only. Up to 12 delegates.

Technical reports can be very different from business reports. This is a technical report writing course, presented at your premises by a former Chartered Engineer (CEng) who is a professional trainer and a published writer. Most report writing courses are about business reports (click here for our version). This is one of the longest running technical report writing courses in the UK and is now in its 18th year. Clients include the Health and Safety Executive, Raytheon and Southern Water for example.

COURSE AIM - Technical Report Writing Course

To help delegates to write shorter and better technical reports and to write them faster. It should also make it easier and faster for line managers to check and approve reports.

COURSE CONTENT - Technical Report Writing Course

Writing for the reader is the 'Golden Rule' in any writing. Many readers of technical reports, such as senior managers or some clients, may not understand the technical jargon, acronyms or even many of the illustrations in your report. You may have to put across complex arguments in a clear way to people who do not have a technical background, so they need your technical writing to be as understandable as possible. They may also need far less detail than you have available. Above all, they need to get what they want from your report as quickly, easily and accurately as possible.

  • Differences between good and poor technical reports.
  • Triple goals: to do it better, do it faster and make it shorter.
  • How to write a technical report - a process approach.
  • Planning technical reports - agreeing the purpose or terms of reference.
  • Your readers - how much detail, how much jargon?
  • Formatting or structuring a technical report, section by section.
  • Structuring complex arguments and complicated information.
  • Dealing with non-essential information.
  • Planning down to paragraph level when necessary.
  • Using plain English in technical report writing.
  • When jargon is appropriate and when it isn't.
  • Controlling paragraph and sentence lengths.
  • Pronouns, technical data, numbers with SI units, tables, illustrations, bullet points, numbering systems, citations and references, etc.
  • You the editor - making your technical report all clear, concise and correct.
  • Active and passive verbs in technical reports.
  • 'Smothered verbs' in technical reports.
  • Some troublesome points of grammar and style.
  • Using the Microsoft grammar and style checkers.
  • Using the Microsoft readability statistics.
  • Using illustrations, writing captions for figures and tables.
  • Punctuation problems - reference list.

WHO IS IT FOR? - Technical Report Writing Course

The course is for anyone who needs to write technical reports, mainly engineers and technicians.

IS THERE A TRACK RECORD? - Technical Report Writing Course

Yes!. Tony presented the course for the first time on 7 Feb 2001 for a group of optical engineers. Whilst writing good technical reports can be difficult, this technical report writing course has made the task easier for around 2000 engineers. It's made checking and approving reports quicker and easier for their managers, and made reading them easier for their clients.

In its 18th year, the course is constantly updated. Clients have included: HSE, Health and Safety Laboratory, TES Aviation, SIRA, Synthomer, Pilkington Glass, PTS Consultants,  Peter Brett Associates, Southern Water, Wardell Armstrong, Ultra Electronics, Mouchel and many, many others.


Please email or phone for a quotation. Email direct to Tony Atherton or phone 07976-390960.


  • One of the most enjoyable courses I have attended.
  • The Managing Partner stopped me to say, "well done on the technical report writing course." That is high praise indeed so thank you for doing such a great job.
  • The feedback was all very positive and all the guys have taken something from the course. Two of the engineers even went back and looked back at their reports with a view to rewriting them.

COURSE DETAILS - Technical Report Writing Course


  • Technical reports - their importance and problems.
  • The difference between good and poor technical reports.
  • How to write a technical report: a methodical process approach: Planning, Drafting, Editing.


  • Your specification or terms of reference. Getting agreement.
  • How much detail will be needed to achieve your objectives?
  • Your readers, their technical understanding. What do they need? What do you want them to know, feel and do as a result of reading your report?
  • Your readers, who will read what?
  • Your information: how much do you have and how much do they need, how can it be presented best?
  • Your structure, needing and getting a logical flow to complex information.
  • Your format - conventional formats for technical reports, sections and subsections, what goes where.
  • Your paragraphs, planning detail down to paragraph level. Discarding non-essentials.
  • The importance of illustrations and appendices in technical reports.
  • Your plan or blueprint for a perfect technical report.


  • Going from the plan to the draft.
  • Which sections to write first and last.
  • Determining style.
  • Paragraph and sentence lengths. Why they are important.
  • Verb tenses for different parts of the report.
  • Writing numbers and units.
  • Using appropriate words and dealing with jargon; plain English.
  • Using pronouns, bullet points, numbering systems, references.
  • Using illustrations, making them meaningful for readers to follow. Writing meaningful captions.
  • Using appendices.


  • Going from the draft to the finished report.
  • Editing to make it clear, concise and correct.
  • The Microsoft grammar and style checkers.
  • Using readability statistics.
  • Active and passive verbs - how active can you be in a technical report?
  • Controlling 'hidden' or 'smothered' verbs.
  • Eliminating waffle. Improving clarity.
  • Some troublesome points of English grammar.
  • Punctuation: main pitfalls, reference list.
  • Making it look good.


The training style uses a mixture of talks, discussions, group work and individual work in a mix that is as appropriate as possible to the delegates. The actual course may differ slightly from the fine details above as the training is adjusted to match as accurately as possible the needs of the delegates. For this reason, we will discuss your priorities with you and build them into the day as best as possible.

Full course notes are provided which also serve as reference books for later. The normal maximum number of delegates is 12.


Tony's engineering background has been crucial in ensuring the success of this course. He is also a published writer with four books and around 90 articles to his name.

He has trained thousands of delegates from blue-chip organisations - both independently and on behalf of large training companies including the former Institute of Management, Reed Learning, Fielden-Cegos and Right-Coutts. He has also inspected government-funded training on behalf of the Training Standards Council and the Adult Learning Inspectorate (now part of Ofsted).


  • The course was very useful and enjoyable. Very informative, good notes to take away.
  • You'll be pleased to know we are regularly benefitting from the (technical report writing) training you provided (six months ago).
  • Excellent all round - Thanks!
  • We are still seeing a good payback from the Technical Report writing training you delivered across the business - reports continue to be generated and the formatting, design and presentation of the reports is of an excellent standard.
  • Thank you very much for the technical report writing course. All the feedback I've had so far has been very positive and there was genuine enthusiasm from most of them which is quite unusual as they can be quite a cynical bunch!
  • His [a graduate placement] reports immediately took on a completely different look and feel. Although some report writing training was given as part of his Uni course, he in particular benefited from the training - and while he was with us, generated some very good pieces of work.
  • Very useful and relevant to the way we write reports on the computer.
  • Informative, very useful and will give me confidence in technical report writing.
  • Interactive - everyone's ideas made it more enjoyable.
  • The course was well received and very quickly assimilated by all of us - a lot of the tips and tools are now second nature.
  • The trainer came across very well, I thought, and the material he provided was very good. It has made me realise that there is more to report writing than it looks.
  • Learnt a lot, will help when writing a technical report - definitely.
  • Very useful on all aspects of report writing.
  • I'm actually using quite a bit of the information and tips we gained from Mr Atherton. I am now more aware of the layout of my reports when I put them together and the affect this can have on the reader. More than anything though I think I am planning more! Something that Mr Atherton put across as being very important. This planning has saved me time in the long run and has meant that I now feel more confident when handing over my reports to QA for final approval.


Please note that the Health and Safety Laboratory has obtained Continuing Professional Development Certification for the "Technical Report Writing" course from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). This certification is not yet available to other organisations.

A selection of our clients for various courses

  • Aircelle
  • Alpharma/Actavis
  • Amey
  • BP
  • Bunzl
  • Clean Air Technology
  • Clyde Union Pumps
  • Controlled Therapeutics
  • Daresbury Labs
  • Doosan Babcock
  • DRS
  • Eaton Aerospace
  • Eclipse Petroleum
  • EDF Energy
  • Energy Saving Trust
  • E.ON
  • ESR Technology
  • Europol
  • First GB Railfreight
  • Flowmaster
  • Financial Services Commission Gibraltar
  • GeoPressure
  • GKN
  • Great Western Hospital
  • Habasit Rossi
  • Health & Safety Laboratory
  • Hochtieff
  • HSE
  • Imerys
  • Ineos Silicas
  • Insolvency Service
  • IntecSea
  • Intertek
  • Invensys Rail
  • Judges Studies Board
  • Life Cycle Pharma
  • Martin Baker Aircraft
  • Mercury Health
  • MOD
  • Monarch Airlines
  • Mouchel
  • MSE Consultants
  • NDS
  • Northumbrian Water
  • NTL
  • Ofsted
  • Omicron
  • Open University
  • Peter Brett Associates
  • Pfizer
  • Pilkington Glass
  • Port of Tyne
  • PTS Consulting
  • Raytheon
  • Royal College of Music
  • Royal Free Hospital
  • Royal Navy
  • Royal Veterinary College
  • Rutherford Appleton Laboratories
  • Scotland TranServe
  • Scottish Power
  • SIRA
  • Smarter Grid Solutions
  • Souther Water
  • STC Defence
  • STS Switchgear
  • Sula Systems
  • Synthomer
  • Technip
  • Terberg Matek
  • TES Aviation
  • TGA Building Consultants
  • Thales
  • Transport for London
  • Ultra Electronics
  • Vectura
  • Viridor
  • Wardell Armstrong
  • Wiltshire NHS/PCT
  • Wind Prospects

  • Click here for:



    E-mail direct to Tony Atherton

    Phone 07976-390960

    Covers: United Kingdom

    Technical Report Writing course details: Last updated 9 Mar 2018