Unfortunately I am now nearing the end of my summer post here. It was here that I first became interested in a career in archives. I held this post about five years ago and enjoyed it so much that I returned this summer, while completing my training to become an archivist.
This summer numerous visitors have told me how lucky I am to work here, so I thought that for my final blog post I would say a little about archives as a career. To receive accreditation from the Society of Archivists (Archives and Records Association) requires a masters. This can be done either by distance learning (while working as an archive assistant) or full time study for one year. I chose the latter option and have just submitted my dissertation.
Prior to starting the course, candidates are encouraged to gain experience of working in archives, through either voluntary work or archive assistant posts. There are several archives that offer a one-year paid placement, which is designed to prepare people for the course (I enjoyed the one at Glasgow University Archive Services). Further details regarding the career can be found at http://www.archives.org.uk/. We already have a number of volunteers who do very valuable work on a variety of projects.
Every archive is different, so while the course prepares you for the career and teaches you skills you need to work in any archive, archive assistants often have indepth knowledge of specific collections which they have gained through experience.
I have indeed been very lucky to work here and hope I am able to find work in another archive which I shall enjoy as much as I have enjoyed this summer.