As a CIfA Registered Organisation, GUARD Archaeology maintains in-house training for core staff in accordance with CIfA standards and guidelines. We also provide opportunities for student placements and work experience for early career archaeologists. Since 2011 when GUARD Archaeology Limited was formed, we have provided university student placements for 9 individuals from two institutions. Several of our fieldwork staff have progressed through undergraduate volunteering in our community projects and/or post-graduate student placements into employment with GUARD Archaeology.
University placement students receive training in core skills in archaeological fieldwork and post-excavation works. This involves each of the students participating in project set up, health and safety awareness, assisting archaeological evaluations, watching briefs, excavations, finds processing, cataloguing, artefact handling, site drawing illustration and digitization, research and archiving. Students are provided with structured training over a 6-9 week period with the assistance and guidance from a GUARD Archaeology mentor, usually one of our Project Managers with further assistance and guidance from senior staff and specialists provided throughout, where appropriate.
In addition to providing student placements training opportunities, we have also provided work experience for High School students when opportunities have allowed this to happen. In these cases, a bespoke training plan is prepared for each student and their mentor records the training they completed and to what standard. Each student is also provided with a copy of their training plan and record, as well as a Skills Passport for them to continue using in pursuing a career in archaeology. Learning Goals for the High School students included learning how to operate safely and follow Health and Safety and security procedures in the workplace; responding to emergencies and assist in the security of the workplace; assisting excavations; and Interpretation, discussion and recommendations.
GUARD Archaeology continues to provide opportunities for early career archaeologists to receive CIfA standard training. We regularly attend the annual University of Edinburgh Archaeology Jobs Fair to advise and engage with undergraduate and postgraduate students. We also often provide opportunities for student training opportunities in community projects such as Brora, Sutherland where we also train local volunteers in a range of archaeological fieldwork techniques. Such opportunities are advertised in our news section.
In addition to providing training for volunteers, students and school pupils we also encourage all our staff through Annual Reviews, Continuous Professional Development logs and Personal Development Plans to improve their skill and qualifications. We support the attendance of our staff at a variety of Archaeology Conferences and Training Workshops throughout each year. Since forming in 2011, we have also provided an annual training seminar for all of our archaeology staff at the end of each year, with a variety of external specialists covering topics such as Soil Micromorphology, Later Prehistoric and Roman metalwork at the National Museums Scotland, OASIS, Bayesian Analysis of Radiocarbon Dating and most recently the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework.
At the heart of GUARD Archaeology’s training policy is a recognition that our staff members and the next generation of archaeologists are central to our success and therefore that success is directly related to the level of investment we make in their futures. The importance of training at all levels has recently been highlighted by the Scottish Government in their ‘Our Place in Time – Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy’ and our training policy adheres to the following aims of this strategy in particular:
4. Encouraging Greater Engagement (maximising the role archaeology can play in learning for people of all ages, benefiting from everyone’s contribution towards valuing, understanding and promoting our past), and5. Innovation and Skills (to develop and promote the supply of training and learning resources and opportunities at all levels to equip current and future generations).