FIRST Technical Advisor (FTA) Aug. 29 2023| 0 KB

Content Type: FIRST Robotics Competition, Volunteer
Program: FIRST Robotics Competition
Tags: Training, Volunteer

The FIRST Technical Advisor (FTA) is responsible for ensuring FIRST Robotics Competition events run smoothly, safely, and in accordance with FIRST requirements, and ensuring a high-quality experience for all event participants and teams. The FTA collaborates with FIRST staff, event staff, and other event volunteers in many different areas at events. The FTA is the liaison between FIRST HQ and the event for all things related to the field, robots and game, acts as a team advocate for all teams competing at the event, and is a major point of escalation and conflict resolution for the event.

The FTA role is a highly visible role with significant responsibility – the success of an event relies on the leadership, knowledge, and diligence of the FTA.

*Must sign a Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Statement prior to start of service.


  • Ensuring FIRST Robotics Competition events provide exceptional team experience and meet or exceed minimum standards for safety, by implementing guidance and guidelines provided by FIRST HQ and event staff at FIRST Robotics Competition events
  • Coordinating the efforts of numerous event staff and volunteers, and providing expert opinions, input, and troubleshooting when necessary
  • Effectively communicating with FIRST HQ and/or local partners before, during, and after events to identify issues requiring further resolution, to report on successes and failures at events, and to ensure team experience issues are resolved as needed
  • Mediating and de-escalating conflicts that may arise between event participants, volunteers, and/or staff members
  • In collaboration with Event Management, AV Staff, and Venue Staff, ensuring venue and AV setup is safe and in an ideal event-ready state for the event to take place, and providing expert opinions and troubleshooting for venue-related issues that may arise
  • In collaboration with the Field Supervisor and FIRST Technical Advisor Assistant(s) (FTAAs), ensuring successful field build (including practice field), maintenance, troubleshooting, teardown, and loadout, including mechanical, electrical, and FMS-related components
  • In collaboration with the Lead Robot Inspector (LRI), FTAA(s), and Control System Advisors (CSAs), ensuring teams are able to participate to their highest level possible, and are able to effectively and quickly troubleshoot, resolve, and communicate technical challenges faced
  • In collaboration with the Head Referee and Scorekeeper(s), ensuring the event is carried out effectively, fairly, and promptly
  • In collaboration with the Lead Queuer and Field Supervisor, ensuring the queuing and field reset process proceeds smoothly and efficiently
  • Participation in all FTA training and support programs provided by FIRST HQ
  • Providing written and oral feedback to FIRST HQ on event outcomes and issues faced
  • Only individuals who have been issued the FIRST role specific apparel may wear it for both official and non-official FIRST events

Experience and Skills Needed


  • Must be post-high school or equivalent. 
  • Minimum age: 18 (preferred age: 21+)
    • Exceptions may be granted by FIRST HQ
  • Demonstrated exceptional communication, leadership, and conflict resolution skills
  • Excellent time management and coordination skills, and ability to multitask and work under pressure
  • Strong desire to spend long hours providing the best possible experience for all event participants and teams, and desire to be the first volunteer in and last volunteer out at events
  • Demonstrated previous experience with at least one of the following, and willingness to familiarize with and learn about all of the following:
    • FIRST Robotics Competition robot control system
    • FIRST Field Management System (FMS)
    • FIRST Robotics Competition game field mechanical or electrical components
    • FIRST event and volunteer management
    • FIRST Robotics Competition game, event, and safety rules
  • Ability to be active and moving throughout event venues for long periods of time


  • Previous experience in other FIRST event roles, especially in multiple different technical (FTAA, CSA, etc) and/or non-technical (Field Reset, VC, Judge, etc) roles
  • Previous experience as a student or mentor of a FIRST Robotics Competition team

Volunteer Time Commitment

  • Required attendance at FTA training every year, and participation in training and update calls as required
  • Minimum commitment of 2 official “regular season” events per season
    • Exceptions may be considered by FIRST HQ
  • Event Time Commitments
    • FTAs are expected to be present at events whenever the event is open to teams and/or public - typically, this means FTAs are among the first volunteers to arrive and among the last to leave each event day
    • Minimum 3 full day commitment (Districts) - setup + 2 competition days
    • Minimum 4 full day commitment (Regionals and District Championships) - setup + 3 competition days

Note: Event schedules vary. Please check the event schedule and talk to event management for detailed information about the schedule.


Provided by FIRST HQ or designated district FTA training lead(s) prior to the start of competition season. Includes: Live and/or recorded training sessions at FIRST HQ or designated district location, live and/or recorded web conferences, teleconference(s), manual and other support materials, email communications and one-on-one support. Training continues throughout the season via regular calls and updates.

Reporting Relationships and Supervision

FTAs work in partnership with FIRST staff and Program Delivery Partners (PDPs) to deliver a high-quality event experience to teams. FTAs collaborate closely with event staff, the FIRST Technical Advisor Assistant (FTAA), other key volunteers, FIRST staff, and PDPs to ensure a successful event. FTAs may also consult with the Co-Chief FTAs or FIRST staff on aspects related to their role responsibilities.


FIRST Technical Advisors are nominated by current FTAs, Program Delivery Partners, Volunteer Coordinators, or FIRST HQ staff. FIRST HQ approves nominations and extends invitations to FTA nominees based on the needs of the program and candidate readiness as determined by experience and peer feedback in related roles.

In most cases, FTA candidates can expect to be placed in a training and trial role that provides candidates with opportunities to participate in some or all aspects of the FTA role under the supervision of experienced FTAs acting in a training role. FTA candidacy does not guarantee selection into the FTA role.


* Must read and comply with the Volunteer Handbook.