Yesterday I attended a meeting in London for people interested in becoming archivists or who have a position as an archive trainee or volunteer. I was surprised that over twenty-five people attended, the majority of whom had a formal traineeship or work experience placement.
Many of those at the meeting had applied or were just about to apply for one of the university courses in archives and records management. They were interested in finding out more about the courses, about the interview process, and how much and what kind of experience they needed to acquire before starting one of the programmes. Both myself and Elizabeth Shepherd from University College London spoke about our own courses and the broader context of archival education in the United Kingdom. Elizabeth spoke about FARMER (the Forum for Archives and Records Management Education and Research) and its activities. I talked about ARA's Professional Development Committee and some of the recent initiatives aimed at diversifying entrance points into the archival profession. The meeting concluded with some of the Archive Trainees speaking about their experiences.
As well as being an opportunity for potential archive students to ask questions of programme leaders and tutors it was a really useful meeting and a chance to discuss some of the issues that are important to us and to our profession.