Last year a group of employers and organisations was successful in securing Trailblazer status under a Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) scheme to establish apprenticeships in Historic Environment Practice.

The proposal is to establish an overarching qualification - "Historic Environment Practitioner" -which will provide the basis for a number of defined specialist pathways:

  • Historic Environment Practitioner (Advice) – provides advice on all aspects of the historic environment from conservation areas to archaeological sites and collections.
  • Historic Environment Practitioner (Investigation) – undertakes investigation, analysis and interpretation of historic environment assets from historic buildings through historic landscapes to the excavation of archaeological sites and collections.
  • Historic Environment Practitioner (Management) –undertakes the management of historic environment assets, whether historic buildings, historic landscapes or archaeological sites and collections, ensuring that their use is sustainable and consistent with their conservation needs.

The Steering Group for the project has representatives from Arup, Atkins, Mott MacDonald, AB Heritage Wessex Archaeology, Cambridgeshire County Council, Cotswold Archaeology, Oxford Archaeology, The Council for British Archaeology, MOLA, York Archaeological Trust, National Parks UK, the National Trust and Archaeology South East. Educational providers involved include Oxford Brookes University, Winchester University, UCL and Universities Archaeology UK. Among professional institutes both the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) and the Institute of Conservation (Icon) are members.

The Historic Environment Practitioner is intended to offer apprenticeships covering levels 3 to 7, which equate to academic qualifications from A–level to Postgraduate level, providing career pathways along an accredited, non-academic route to qualifications in the sector. It will proactively address the issue of expanding career opportunities in the sector and will help address diversity issues. It has the potential to provide structured career pathways which equip apprentices with the skills that are critical to the sector. It has been designed to address employment and skills issues of existing career pathways in archaeology. The standards for Historic Environment Practitioner (Investigation) are currently being assessed with a view to awarding apprenticeships by mid 2017.

See below for links to both levels together with supporting documents which show how these relate to work functions and a short Q&A document setting out some more detail about apprenticeships overall.

Apprenticeship Standard for Historic Environment Practitioners L3
Apprenticeship Standard for Historic Environment Practitioners L5
Explanatory Levels Table v3
Historic Environment Practice Trailblazer Apprenticeships FAQs
Standards Overview Diagram

If you have any comments please send them to Bob Hook bob.hook [at] or contact him directly on 07831 523363. Alternatively write to:

Bob Hook
Intelligence Analyst: Professional Infrastructure and Skills,
Strategic Planning and Management Department,
Research Group,
Historic England, The Engine House, Fire Fly Avenue, Swindon, SN2 2EH

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
Miller Building, University of Reading
Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AB

0118 378 6446
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