Why choose an apprenticeship?
There are many benefits to being an apprentice. You can earn while you learn, get real work experience and achieve a high-profile qualification at the end. Apprentices do much more than study subject knowledge (although this is a key part of the programme). They have to prove that they can also apply skills and behaviours to succeed in the job – and that’s very attractive to future employers. It also means that apprentices can gain credit for not just what they do, but how they do it. If you complete an apprenticeship successfully you will have the practical skills needed to apply for a job within the historic environment sector and the confidence that you can succeed.
What will an apprenticeship be like?
Apprenticeship programmes vary in length, usually depending on the qualification level, and are real jobs working alongside skilled and knowledgeable colleagues. You will spend around 80 per cent of your time learning on the job in the workplace and 20 per cent doing off-the-job training, which is usually provided by a college. To find out first hand what an apprenticeship can be like read this first hand account of Jackie Ann Judge's experience of an Archaeological Technician apprenticeship with Historic England.
How will I be assessed?
At the end of the apprenticeship you will go through a process known as end-point assessment, to evaluate your workplace knowledge, skills and behaviours at the end of your programme. This is similar to taking exams at school; you study for a period of time and then take an exam at the end. End-point assessment takes this idea and applies it to traditional workplace assessment, to some extent mixing the two. There could be a combination of observation of your work, assessment of a completed project, an exam, and a discussion with you.
Where can I find out about apprenticeships?
There are different types of apprenticeship available across the UK so use the links below to see what’s available where you are.
Historic Environment Trailblazer apprenticeships. Heritage apprenticeships have been designed by leading employers in archaeology and conservation to ensure they deliver the professional skills employers need. This means that anyone who holds a heritage apprenticeship qualification has proved that they can do the job, consistently, to those high industry standards.
There are apprenticeships available in archaeology and across the historic environment sector from Level 3 Archaeological technician to Level 7 Archaeological specialist, from conservator to heritage construction.
Apprenticeships are advertised like a job, and you can see if any are available by creating an account and searching on the gov.uk website.
If you’d like to read more about what it’s like being an historic environment apprentice in England, head over to Historic England’s site to hear from the recent cohort of Historic Environment Advice Assistant apprentices:
Read more about becoming an apprentice in England:
Are apprenticeships available in other parts of the UK?
There are currently no apprenticeships in archaeology in Northern Ireland, but there are two AIM apprenticeships in cultural heritage which are eligible for ApprenticeshipsNI funding.
- Level 2 – https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/cultural-heritage-level-2-apprenticeship-framework
- Level 3 – https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/cultural-heritage-level-3-apprenticeship-framework
A Modern Apprenticeship framework is in development in Scotland but is not yet available. There are a range of apprenticeships in heritage crafts and construction:
There are currently no apprenticeships in archaeology in Wales but there is a general information web resource about apprenticeships and a list of apprenticeships, including cultural heritage management, project management and surveying.