Nicole Schoute successfully applied for PCIfA

I first became involved with maritime archaeology in the UK in 2017 by volunteering on the #Rooswijk1740 project. The project is a partnership between the Dutch government (Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands) and Historic England involving the excavation of a Dutch East Indiaman (VOC ship). Whilst the excavation is now complete the project is now in the post-excavation phase. As a Dutch maritime archaeologist this was a great opportunity for me. During the project I was asked by Mark James, the owner of MSDS Marine and UK Project Manager for the #Rooswijk1740 project, if I wanted to return to work for them after my two weeks of volunteering. MSDS Marine pride themselves on working with early career professionals and providing training to help career development. He didn’t have to ask me twice, and after making the move from the Netherlands, I began work full time on the post-excavation phase of the Rooswijk.

In June 2018 I moved to Portsmouth to work at Fort Cumberland, where Historic England is based, to continue working on the Rooswijk project. This is when I first heard and learnt about CIfA, CPD logs, and PDR’s. In the Netherlands there is a different system for professional accreditation, so this was all completely new to me. Alison James, my line manager at MSDS Marine, explained all these new terms to me and together we have been looking over many things that would benefit me and help me gain more experience within maritime archaeology in the UK. As an MSDS Marine employee working alongside Historic England staff I am lucky enough to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of HE specialists which allows me to develop my interests.

MSDS Marine have been a great help to me. They have supported my attendance at conferences, provided training in new skills such as the processing of geophysical data and assisted me in becoming a tutor for the Nautical Archaeology Society. A huge bonus of working for MSDS Marine, and I consider it to be fairly unique, is that they allow employees to take an optional extra two weeks paid leave each year that can be used to volunteer on other projects within archaeology. Colleagues have used this to work alongside Licensees on protected wreck sites to help support their work. I plan to use this to work on diving projects to gain more diving experience here in the UK and support work on (historic) wreck sites.
MSDS Marine pride themselves on their public outreach. This has allowed my colleagues and I to gain more experience and opportunities to engage with the public and help raise the profile of maritime archaeology with new audiences. All these activities are relevant for my CPD log, so it is really easy to reach those required 50 hours of CPD-activities per two years to maintain my accreditation.

During my employment I have learned so many new things, and I am still learning new things, which can go into my CPD log. It is therefore really important for me to keep the CPD log up to date, because if I have to fill it in at the end of each year, that will take me a very long time!