I work as a Project Assistant with my current employer, covering a basic set of tasks such as field excavation, completing watching briefs, desk-based assessments and so forth. I have identified four key elements to develop my CPD: Lithics, Palaeolithic, Norfolk Archaeology and Photography. With my current employer you are not bound to your job title; therefore if you can already undertake a role/or would like to learn more about another role, they can be quite accommodating. As such, they recognised that I am interested in developing my photography skills, and so I was sent, with a colleague, to gather the data for photo rectification on the Burnham Norton Friary precinct walls and helped to produce the report. This was a great experience because it went beyond the standard ‘point, autofocus, capture’ method of photography I am used to. I have also reached out to a local photographer for additional one-to-one sessions, to further my development.
For anyone starting out in Archaeology, there are simple things that would help land that elusive first contract, which would benefit both your CV, job prospects and of course your CPD. Basic First Aid training is an absolute must in our workplace environment, as many accidents can occur in the construction industry. It’s an odd one because it’s absolutely essential training that you hope to never need to use! I managed to find an independent training program from Groupon, which my employer later reimbursed.
A few years ago I completed a Business Management course, but to really benefit from it, I believe a ‘top up’ is necessary. Therefore my next project I am starting is a four week Management and Leadership course, whilst it is not directed at archaeologists, it will unquestionably provide a better understanding when my career progresses slowly up the greasy ladder of archaeology.
Also conferences are a great way to develop your CPD, as you can attend these with two aims: firstly to learn about current specialised research projects, and secondly to network. Networking is absolutely key in self-development, as ultimately it is about building relationships, trust and seeing how you are able to help others. I have attended two conferences this year; one hosted by CAHO at the University of Southampton, and more recently one hosted by the Lithic Studies Society in Oxford. Myself and a colleague are also currently in discussion with the possibility of holding a session at next year’s CIfA Conference focusing on the issues and forthcoming effects of Brexit. Fingers crossed it goes well...