The Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers had their annual AGM and Forum on 16th and 17th June in two wonderful old buildings in York, Barley Hall and the Merchant Taylors Hall, thanks to York Archaeological Trust.
Over two warm summer days representatives from roughly 70 of the main commercial archaeology employers in the UK shared views about the sector. The discussions were future-focused and concentrated on ways to professionalise and improve the provision of commercial archaeology.
As a HR professional it’s no surprise that the session I enjoyed most was ‘Valuing and investing in training and professional development’, delivered by Amy Atkins, Head of Continuous Improvement at MOLA. Amy told us about the three successful new training programmes that she had designed and delivered with her colleagues at MOLA; a Trainee Archaeologist Programme for people with no prior experience or expertise, a Graduate Programme for archaeology graduates with no field-work experience, and a Trainee Supervisor Programme for field workers looking to take the next step in their career.
These programmes allow MOLA to reach untapped talent and to broaden diversity and inclusion in a rather un-diverse sector. The programmes were well designed to give participants the skills they need to start their archaeology careers (or to progress in the case of the Trainee Supervisor Programme), including by teaching why, not just how, using a range of assessment methods, putting learning into practice straightaway, and drawing on the expertise of MOLA’s existing staff.
Two other themes at the FAME Forum that stood out to me were around the use of technology to make better use of data from digs and the value of archaeology to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals and to deliver Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) outcomes for construction firms and developers. I also learnt about the desperate need for more and better designed facilities for storing archaeology archives.