Have you ever wondered what skills are needed to work in an archive service? If you’ve visited The National Archives you may have said hello to our security staff, asked a question in the reading room from a specialist or ordered a coffee from staff in the café. You may have seen one of the education officers with a group of school children, spotted one of the marketing and communications team with a TV personality and a camera crew or the business support unit welcoming delegates from other government departments for a training day. If you’ve ever waited in the coffee queue you’ve probably stood behind a conservation assistant, a document service delivery operator, a finance officer or an IT specialist (it’s a long list and I can’t cover everyone). You may even have seen an archivist.
In short, it takes a team and lots of different skills to make sure that our users get the best possible service and our collections get the best possible care now and in the future. The National Archives is committed to improving the skills of its own staff and through the Transforming Archives programme we are supporting the development of specialist skills across archive services in England.
Transforming Archives is a collaborative project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund through its Skills for the Future programme, The National Archives, the Archives and Records Association, the Centre for Archive and Information Services at the University of Dundee and 13 host archive services across the country. We are currently recruiting for the second cohort of trainees and through the programme we are hoping to:
- diversify the archives workforce
- address gaps in the skills available in the archives workforce
- provide new routes into working in the sector
Each year-long traineeship is unique, each host is looking for a different skill-set and is able to offer specialist training and work opportunities in one or more of our specialisms – digital preservation, digitisation, outreach and engagement, collection development or traditional skills (languages and palaeography). Our first three traineeships are being advertised today and a further ten traineeships will be available over the next few weeks.
We’re looking for trainees with the potential to develop a new career in the archive sector – whether you’re looking for a change in direction or are just starting out in your career. If you can answer yes to one of the questions below then a Transforming Archives traineeship could be for you:
- do you have the technical expertise to help us meet the challenges of digital preservation?
- do you have the eye for detail to deliver great digitisation projects?
- could you put an aptitude for languages and enjoyment of solving puzzles together to help decipher medieval documents?
- do you enjoy inspiring others and bringing archives to life for groups of all ages and can you spot the potential in a document to inspire, educate or inform?
We want to build on your practical skills and experience in technology, languages or education and outreach work and show you the great opportunities that archives and their collections can offer.
You can find out more about the traineeships and hear first-hand from the first cohort of trainees through a series of blog posts over the next few weeks. Hannah Rice, Transforming Archives trainee at Hull History Centre, has shared her thoughts about what she’s learned working and training within the sector in the first blog post of the series.