Changes in work practices have led to a decline in the opportunities for anaesthetic trainees to learn technical procedures in supervised practice. Efforts to mitigate medical error and other changes have coincided with the development of alternative training methods so that it is increasingly difficult to justify the traditional model of teaching technical procedures. The range of simulators available for training in technical procedures in anaesthesia continues to expand. While simulation has been widely adopted in anaesthesia for crisis management training, there is little documented evidence of its use for technical skills training. The theoretical basis for the use of simulation to aid the acquisition of psychomotor skills and the development of expertise is now well established. In addition, practical frameworks that allow this theory to be applied in a systematic fashion have been developed and successfully used in other specialties. Using the available simulation equipment and educational tools, trainees can be prepared to begin supervised practice having demonstrated adequate procedural knowledge and expertise in simulation. With the use of simulated patients there is also the opportunity to integrate non-technical skills as well where appropriate. This review summarises the justification for the use of simulation in technical skills training in anaesthesia and the educational theory that supports its use, and outlines one of the available frameworks that can be used to aid its application.