Working towards Registered Membership

Q. Chris, tell us a bit more about your role and responsibilities

My role involves working with businesses, trade and professional associations and trade unions to preserve and promote Scotland’s business history. I work between the Ballast Trust and the University of Glasgow. I carry out surveys of records held by businesses and provide advice on the appropriate management of business archives, arranging transfers to suitable archive repositories when necessary.

Another aspect of my role is in rescuing records that are at risk from businesses going into liquidation. I’m also involved in promoting business archives and business history in general through the Business Archives Council of Scotland and the ARA’s Section for Business Records.

Q. What attracted you to Registered Membership?

I saw it as an opportunity to take stock of the experience and skills I’ve developed in my career so far, but also as a means of identifying areas where I would benefit from additional experience or training.

Q. Candidates enrolling onto the programme should first undertake a self-assessment of their experience using the competency framework. How useful did you find the self-assessment process? 

I was unsure how useful I would find this process and was a little daunted by the number of points on the competency framework, however, having now completed the process I would wholeheartedly recommend it as a way to audit your own skills and experience, and to get a sense of where you are in your professional development .

It also helps demystify the process as you can begin to see how your existing skills fit into the framework and is invaluable in terms of selecting the competencies which you are going to focus on. Personally, I was surprised to find that I had more in the way of demonstrable skills and experience in some areas than I thought I did. On the flip side, when considering how to evidence the competencies, I also found I had less experience than I thought I had in areas which I’d assumed would be straightforward!

Q. What advice would you offer to members thinking of enrolling onto the programme?

I’d advise potential candidates to begin the journey towards Registered Membership sooner rather than later. While the process can seem daunting, it is firmly rooted in your working practice and provides a great opportunity to reflect on your professional progress to date, while thinking about where you want to go in the future.

Finding the right mentor is key; someone who knows your area of work or is willing to learn about it and who will provide plenty of support and encouragement.  The mentor relationship is invaluable and, in my view, the best thing about the scheme. Coming from six years in a local authority where I was the only archivist, it was incredibly useful to have the opportunity to talk with an experienced professional about my career. While I now work alongside other archivists, it’s still really useful to be able to take a step back from day-to-day concerns and spend time talking about longer-term goals and thinking critically about what you’ve achieved so far in your career with someone who has been through the process themselves.

Published in ARC Magazine March 2019. Photo courtesy of The Ballast Trust.

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