In September last year I as the Regional Careers Officer decided to look into what work experience was being provided in Scotland for those who wanted to find out about a career in record keeping and archive conservation. It has taken awhile but I have finally got round to compiling and reporting on the results of a questionnaire I sent round to 56 services across the country. The results were much as I expected, with lots of ‘ad-hocery’ going on, a lack of conservation and records management opportunities and the dominance of university record keeping services in providing what opportunities were available. However some of the responses for the last question on what the Society could do to improve work experience opportunities in Scotland were surprising. Only two respondents said they saw no further role for the Society (I expected more) whilst a number saw it acting as clearing house for volunteers, linking them to work experience providers and even providing them with a basic level of training, or a general induction day. These were ideas I have never thought possible considering the way the Society is run. Yet it is obvious from the questionnaire’s results that record keeping services could do with some level of support in providing work experience. In the report I have suggested the less demanding ‘training the trainer’ path, which will have a clear test case at this year’s AGM in Dundee (8 March), but I would be interested in hearing from more people about what they think is feasible or appropriate for the Society to do, and whether other bodies should be helping out too?
The other project I have finally managed to finish was the region’s very own careers leaflets. I have deliberately gone for a combined record keeping approach to ensure that career choosers realise right from the start that archives and records management are intrinsically linked. It is a departure from the established leaflets but one that I think is justified in getting across how we view our domain as opposed to how others pigeon hole what we do into either cultural heritage or information management.
Finally I should point out that my first post here as Regional Careers Officer will be my last, as I stand down at the AGM but I am sure my successor will be adding content here soon enough. The post is the only one of its kind in the Society at the moment and I have found it rewarding and valid work that I believe should be replicated across all the regions – that is if they can find people to volunteer…
Henry Sullivan, SOAS Regional Careers Officer