Dundee, St Andrews and Abertay Dundee universities have begun a joint career development venture that aims to combat the isolation, uncertainty or boredom that non-academic staff can experience.
The universities are expanding their Promoting Partnership Initiative, which has already explored fresh approaches in teaching and research, into career development for junior managers and senior support staff.
The two-year "career bridges" course has attracted almost 30 staff from the three institutions, including a pensions accountant, an IT helpdesk officer, a human resources adviser and a modern languages head secretary.
They will learn and work in cross-university groups to see how their sister institutions tackle issues. A final module will focus on management projects chosen by the universities.
Karen Munro, PPI project officer, said many non-academic staff at the top of a particular area had the ability to progress further but were constrained by institutional structures. She said the course was aimed at staff who wanted "a little bit more challenge and stimulation" and extra experience that could allow them to apply for more senior posts.
"We're not in a position to be able to say, 'We promise that you'll get promotion,' but this would make them a more serious candidate," she said.
One new recruit, Heather Henderson, an administrator in Dundee's Centre for Enterprise Management, said: "Because I work mainly with academics, opportunities to exchange ideas with other support staff are limited. I am looking forward to meeting other administrators, finding out how they organise work and picking up ideas on best practice to make our operation more efficient."