To get started with your career in record keeping or gain new skills youmay want to try out some voluntary work. We have lots of experience,tips and advice to share as well as up to date lists of the placementsavailable
Carrying out work experience gives you valuable insight into a career in Archives, Records Management or Archive Conservation as well as demonstrating commitment to your chosen career path.
Organisations offering Placements
Please download the ARA list of organisations in the UK and Ireland that offer voluntary or paid placements to graduates seeking work experience prior to the Diploma/MA in Archives and/or Records Management that is at the bottom of this page.
It is also worth contacting organisations close to you. You can find the contact details for your local archive and records management services via the ARCHON Directory.
On occasion, employers approach the Association looking for volunteers. If you are interested in submitting your details to us to keep on our Candidates list then please use our online form.
Work Experience Advice
Be clear on the type of experience you're looking for and where you're happy to work.
Read the descriptions of opportunities offered carefully, and apply only for those which offer the type of experience you are seeking in locations where you would be prepared to work. Feedback from employers suggests that they view such applications much more favourably than those from people who have sent generic speculative emails to every organisation on the two lists. This is especially true with the providers of paid work experience placements, who will often not accept speculative CVs outside of the time period allotted for recruitment to the post they are looking to fill.
Some additional advice.
Two guideline documents for the applicant and the organisation offering the placement has been produced (download below) by the Forum for Archive and Records Management Education and Research, and offers advice on getting the most out of your work experience placement.
Remember the quality of the experience is more important than the quantity: a couple of months volunteer work where you experience a range of different tasks and gain exposure to different areas of the work will serve as better preparation for the course than a year in a very routine role. Furthermore, competition for paid work experience placements can be strong so any previous and relevant voluntary experience can make a difference in an application for such employment.
Finding a placement
In addition to the list held at the ARA, Archive assistant/temporary posts are also advertised in local newspapers and via the archives-nra listserve, The archives-nra list homepage allows users to view and search past messages sent to the list and includes instructions on joining and leaving the list. A similar list for Records Management is the RECORDS-MANAGEMENT-UK listserve.
The Information and Records Management Society posts job advertisements for records managers at all levels in the UK on their website. Whilst their job section does not separate advertisements into levels of experience required, there are often a number of assistant or junior roles on the site that can act as traineeships or entry-level posts.
Work experience placements in conservation departments is possible for those who would like to find out more about the career and especially for those currently enrolled on courses. Contact either national or local organisations directly to find out if they have an in-house conservation service and if they offer placements for specified periods.
The Association itself offers training in book and archive conservation - the Certificate in Archive Conservation. More details on this can be found at Careers in Archive Conservation.
The Institute of Conservation formed in 2005, is the principal body representing conservators in the UK and Ireland. It covers many conservation disciplines and between them the 'Photographic Materials' and 'Book and Paper' groups encompass most types of archives.
The Institute can provide advice on many aspects of conservation as a career and organises a series of annual internships to encourage career entry. For more details please click here.
Need to know more?
If you would like to find out more about work experience placements then please Contact Us.
Download our Work & Voluntary Experience Placements list - Placements List