British

Archaeology

The voice of archaeology in Britain and beyond

Cover of British Archaeology 108

Issue 108

Sept / Oct 2009

Contents

news

Major slipware kiln site found near Leeds

Roman graves rescued: but cemetery doomed?

Isle of Man house is one of Britain's first

In the press

In Brief & Phase 2

features

THE BIG DIG: Fetternear
Penelope Dransart reports on the topical issue of MPs claims expenese, at Kettlethorpe Hall

London: the mud of ages
Lorna Richardson reports on the discoveries made by the Thames Discovery Programme community initiative and Nick Booth describes his Foreshore Group training

For the sake of the worms
As we celebrate Charles Darwin, Matthew Law considers one of his less well-known interests that led him to excavate at ancient sites

on the web

Recommended websites
Caroline Wickham-Jones reviews How to get active with archaeology, and John Schofield looks at Flash methods to view the evolution of graffiti

letters

your views and responses, with further Beneath the Sea coverage

book review

We review a new publication about the Vindolanda Roman Fort

CBA Correspondent

Mike Heyworth welcomes new HLF money for training, and highlights the CBA's role

 

ISSN 1357-4442

Editor Mike Pitts

CBA Correspondent

Campaigns, comment and communications from the CBA

Mike Heyworth welcomes new HLF money for training, and highlights the CBA's role.

In 2004 the Heritage Lottery Fund set up a training bursary scheme to support traditional or specialist skills – including archaeology – needed to safeguard our heritage. Having put £7m into such training, on 16 July it announced plans to invest a further £7.3m. This will create up to 1,000 paid opportunities for people seeking a career in heritage, and to acquire skills ranging from horticulture to conservation and web design.

There are two elements to the HLF's investment programme. The HLF's current training programme will get a further £2.3m (having already been extended once due to the huge demand). The existing programme includes £730,000 awarded to the Institute for Archaeologists (IfA), which has offered 32 placements across the UK in different aspects of archaeology. One bursary holder is currently employed by the CBA, and is developing his skills in communicating archaeology under the tutelage of various CBA staff and the editor of British Archaeology. It is hoped that the IfA scheme will be extended with the availability of further HLF investment.

In addition, the HLF will use £5m to launch a new programme towards the end of the year, called skills for the future. This will offer new work-based training in the skills that are needed to look after our buildings, landscapes, habitats, plants and animals and museum collections. This could include training for education and outreach officers, volunteer managers and people who need new technology skills to help the public learn about our heritage and play an active part in its future.

The emphasis on training is particularly appropriate during a recession in which building development has been badly hit, causing significant numbers of professional archaeologists to lose their posts, and others to feel vulnerable: the loss of skills as experienced archaeologists seek employment elsewhere is one of the key present threats to the profession (see feature, Mar/Apr 2009).

Employed archaeologists need to maintain and enhance their skills in line with good practice for continuing professional development (CPD). This will be particularly important from later in the year, when IfA members will vote at their AGM on the proposal to make CPD mandatory for corporate members.

The HLF investment will also encourage young people considering entering the profession. The Archaeology Training Forum and the sector skills council for creative and cultural skills are discussing a formal apprenticeship in archaeology. The opportunity to get recognition for skills via the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) in archaeological practice is also increasingly available.

Training is just as important for the voluntary sector, whose needs are often very similar to those of members of the profession. With financial support from the Headley Trust, the CBA has been undertaking a survey of the needs of community archaeology groups: training has been high on their list. The CBA's work on the decline of continuing education in UK universities (see feature, page 13) shows that there is still significant demand for better public understanding of the UK's heritage. People increasingly want to take an active part in discovering more about their local history and archaeology.

YAC Leaders

Young Archaeologists' Club branch leaders are invited to annual meetings to discuss relevant issues, and hear about activities taking place in other branches which may be of interest.

The CBA already runs a whole series of training courses, and also provides online support for volunteers working with the Young Archaeologists' Club branches and those assisting in listed building casework across England and Wales. The YAC training takes a variety of forms, and includes basic first aid for volunteers, and access to a postal correspondence course in child protection run by the NSPCC. YAC branch leaders are invited to annual meetings to discuss relevant issues, and hear about activities taking place in other branches which may be of interest. Special training is also provided for the volunteers who run the YAC activity holidays each year.

Listed building caseworkers are invited to periodic training sessions where they can receive updates on legislation and other changes, such as the introduction of e-planning, as well as meeting other caseworkers and the staff in the CBA secretariat who deal with the casework responses. This year the CBA has also been collaborating with the Association for Industrial Archaeology (AIA), which has run a whole series of seminars across England on different aspects of industrial archaeology, familiarising volunteer caseworkers with the significance of industrial features in the historic environment. More seminars are planned.

The CBA has also received funding for a series of "capacity building" seminars aimed at the active members of the CBA's regional group network across England and Wales. The support from English Heritage and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has allowed a series of topics to be covered at different venues in the north and south of England, to allow as many regional group volunteers to attend as possible. Seminars have covered topics such as better governance (including dealing with the Charity Commission, insurance, and financial planning), communication and engaging with the planning system. Further workshops are planned over the next year, linked to topics suggested by the groups where they feel in need of further training and support.

CBA/AIA Training

An Association for Industrial Archaeology/CBA training day in Ipswich.

Many of the seminars and other events are followed up and supplemented online through email discussion lists specifically set up for CBA volunteer groups. The volunteers can use the lists to communicate with each other, ask for ideas, promote suggestions for things which have worked well for them and exchange news. The CBA has recently applied to a government transformation fund to establish an online hub for archaeological learning (HubAL), which will allow enhanced peer-to-peer learning, as well as linking to the wide range of content provided by others which people can access from their homes or workplaces at no cost. This will link in with and build on the CBA's online Community Archaeology Forum, which encourages local community groups to add their own content and promote their projects. This has recently been augmented with material from a training workshop held in Castleford, West Yorkshire, which promotes ideas for how local groups can engage with members and encourage them to get more involved in passing on their memories and understanding of their local area.

The CBA is keen to work with other local training providers across the UK to meet the growing demand for practical support from volunteer groups, and from professional archaeologists, to develop and enhance their skills. As the universities show less interest in informal learning, others need to step up to meet the demand. We are currently exploring ways in which we can work with other groups, including local societies, to promote opportunities for local informal training. This will help to raise standards amongst professionals and volunteers, and will encourage more people to get involved in archaeology – thereby continuing to promote the CBA's aim of "archaeology for all".

If you have any suggestions for training needs in archaeology, or ideas on how the CBA can help to meet these demands, then please do get in contact with the CBA's secretariat.

Mike Heyworth is Director of the CBA, chair of the Archaeology Training Forum and a member of the HLF's Yorkshire & Humber regional committee.

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