Four years ago, the Archaeology Training Forum expressed its concern at an ongoing level of disconnect between the expectations of archaeological employers, employees, training providers and students of archaeology in terms of the objectives of training and its outcomes.
This day conference looked at how training can be used to deliver what individuals and organisations need to develop new skills and knowledge, to keep capabilities up to date and to bridge that disconnect between training demand and supply.
Photo: Dr Phil Marter demonstrating geophysics techniques to undergraduate students.
The keynote address, delivered by Joe Flatman, set the tone for the day, giving a critical but fair appraisal of the limited nature of archaeological pedagogic studies over the years " and a reminder that archaeologists are some way behind colleagues in comparable disciplines. Papers discussed issues confronted and overcome, explaining how innovative approaches to training can best be developed, evaluated and employed. A wide range of issues was addressed: the appropriateness of HE 'training'; NVQs; structured placements; online and blended learning tools and curriculum development; the use of tablet computers in a training environment; the application of National Occupational Standards in designing training frameworks and formal and informal CPD and mentoring in a commercial environment.
The speakers were drawn from a wide geographic area, including the universities of UCL, Bradford, Manchester and as far afield as Poznan, and the commercial arm of the University of Salford and York Archaeological Trust, in addition to speakers from the Universities of Winchester and Southampton, and Wessex Archaeology.
The conference was organised into three sessions, which focussed on different stages of the learning journey (undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing professional development). The underlying philosophical strands were fieldwork skills and the development and application of e-learning, with the aims of promoting employability for students and CPD for professionals, both in the UK and internationally.
Niall Finneran (University of Winchester), Introduction
Joe Flatman (UCL and Surrey County Council), Keynote address
Session one: Initial Training: Employability and Fieldwork Skills
Chair: Kenneth Aitchison
Paul Everill (University of Winchester)
Kayt Marter-Brown (Wessex Archaeology)
Alex Gibson (Bradford University)
Karina Croucher (University of Manchester)
Andrew Fitzpatrick (Wessex Archaeology)
Session two: New technologies and e-Learning
Chair: Niall Finneran
Arek Marciniak (Adam Mickiewicz University Poznan)
Kenneth Aitchison Aitchison (Landward Research Ltd)
Tom Frankland (University of Southampton)
Session three: On the job training: CPD
Chair: Paul Everill
Kate Geary (IfA)
Chiz Harward (Diggers Forum)
Adam Thompson (University of Salford)
Peter Connelly (York Archaeological Trust)
Conveners: Dr Niall Finneran and Dr Paul Everill, in collaboration with Landward Research