Driving sector progress – making changes for the better

2018 saw the launch of two sector-wide initiatives aimed at driving progress across the record-keeping sector – the Workforce Development Strategy and the ARA’s Glasgow Manifesto. In this blog we look at the ways in which our Professional Development Programme is helping to achieve some of the objectives set out in these initiatives.

The Workforce Development Strategy was launched by The National Archives (UK) in August 2018 and aims to deliver sustainable, resilient and forward-thinking archive services, as well as promote inclusivity and greater diversity across the archives sector.

The ARA was one of the consultees involved in the development of the strategy and we continue to play our part in helping help foster a skilled, diverse, flexible and confident archives and records management workforce. 

Our Professional Development Programme’s competency framework sets out national standards across the UK and Ireland in archives, conservation and records management. Anyone at any stage of their career can use the framework and its five levels of experience to plan their own development and career progression, as well as those of their teams and volunteers.

Thanks to our three clearly defined ARA professional qualifications – Foundation, Registered, Fellow – volunteers and employees can gain professional recognition from the ARA for the competencies they have developed and, in turn, employers can be confident that these individuals meet our national standards, regardless of their role, experience and university qualification.

By recognising the achievements of all those working and volunteering in the sector, our Professional Development Programme is playing an important role in helping achieve three of the Strategy’s five core objectives:

  • making it easier for the sector to recruit and retain high quality talent
  • opening up career and progression opportunities in the sector through clearer information, better promotion and targeted support, and developing awareness of the ecology of the workforce, allowing the full range of jobs within the sector to be seen and appreciated
  • broadening and deepening workforce skills through effective training and professional development opportunities

One of the most significant outcomes of the Workforce Development Strategy is the formation of a ‘Trailblazer Group’ to develop an apprenticeship scheme for the sector. The National Archives (UK), the ARA, the Forum for Archives and Records Management Education and Research (FARMER) and a number of key employers are represented on the group. The apprenticeship is currently in its development stage and we’ report on its progress in due course. The aim is to create a more diverse route into the sector.

Coinciding with the August 2018 launch of the Workforce Development Strategy, and with very similar objectives at its heart, was the launch of the ARA’s Glasgow Manifesto – #ARAGlasgowManifesto. The manifesto was created to provide guidance and inspiration for ARA members. It summarises the key issues facing the sector and feeds directly into the ARA’s annual business plan. The overarching objectives of the Glasgow Manifesto are:

  • to reach out to marginalised groups to improve their awareness of, and access to, records that may concern them
  • to ensure our policies and procedures are inclusive and reflect more fully the diversity of our communities
  • to recognise and reflect in our code of ethics and wider professional development that the decisions we make in our professional lives have an impact beyond our storerooms and reading rooms

Karl Magee, chair of the ARA, explains the aims of the manifesto: “The Manifesto includes the aim of encouraging an inclusive approach to recruitment, retention and promotion of talent across the record-keeping sector. Our Professional Development Programme, and the planned record-keeping apprenticeships in England and Wales, will provide an alternative routes into the profession. We call on employers to recognise and support these initiatives.”

The ARA will return to and refer to The Glasgow Manifesto’s ambitions regularly over the coming months and years so look out for further updates in the near future.

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