B.3 Staff training and continuing professional development#

Continuing professional development (CPD) has been defined (after the Engineering Council) as:

'The systematic maintenance and improvement of knowledge, skills and competence throughout a professional’s working life and the process by which a professional person maintains the quality and relevance of the professional services they provide during their working life'.

Training is something that contributes to CPD; it refers to the design, provision or organization of events which provide a structured learning experience which can form a part of an individual’s CPD programme.

As a principle, CPD refers to the need of all historic environment professionals to keep up to date and to extend our knowledge and expertise. This is essential to the development of the academic disciplines and practical methodologies of historic environment professional practice, to enhancing society’s understanding of its past and to maintaining our standards in the use and care of a vulnerable, valuable resource.

As a process, CPD describes a structure through which each of us can identify the underpinning knowledge and skills necessary to maintain or develop our expertise and further our careers, within existing roles or in seeking or taking on new responsibilities. The structure enables us to select the ways by which we acquire that knowledge and those skills, and to commit to this learning. Further, it provides us with a means of articulating to others our learning needs in order to seek, and obtain, the support we may need in our commitment.

It is relevant to all practitioners, in all sectors of the historic environment professional community, no matter what their seniority or specialization may be.

The utility and success of CPD is largely dependent upon the depth of our individual commitment to learning and the degree of responsibility to ourselves and the profession that we are each willing to accept.

B.3.1 The principles behind continuing professional development#

Continuing professional development (CPD) and life-long learning are concepts central to modern professional practice.

The principles of CPD are supported by government, employers and professional bodies and as a result increasing attention is being given to staff development, with the aim of creating a climate of continuous improvement in service delivery. An organization’s performance is improved by linking training and development to planned, well-communicated service objectives. Everyone is encouraged and developed to make the best possible contribution to achieving the organization’s goals.

The objectives of individual members of staff should be integrated into a training strategy for the service as a whole. A starting point for this strategy would be an assessment of the skills and knowledge required for the service to fulfill its objectives, and also those needed by specific members of staff. This assessment can then be used to help 'benchmark' the current level of expertise and to prepare a strategy for developing staff, and also consider methods of obtaining training through internal or external courses and workshops.

A methodology, with supporting case study, for undertaking a skills audit within a historic environment organization has been published by the Cultural Heritage National Training Organisation (now part of Creative and Cultural Skills).

B.3.2 Undertaking continuing professional development#

CPD is structured upon the use of two career development tools, the Personal Development Plan and the CPD Log.

The Personal Development Plan (PDP) is a key part of quality assurance in the training process. This should document targeted career objectives which are 'SMART' - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound, and identify the training required to support this career development. This document belongs to the individual, but its preparation should be discussed and ideally agreed with the individual’s line manager to ensure that the individual’s professional development meshes with the skills needs of the organization. The actual document may be a short or long term plan, depending on what is most useful.

The personal development plan is supported by a second document, the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Log. It is important to track closely the achievement of learning goals, in order to record and reflect on learning. The CPD Log is an on-going record of achieved training or career objectives. It provides an ordered documentary record of steps undertaken to achieve personal development goals, the time investment, the means, the achieved progress, and any follow up.

These two documents, the PDP and CPD log are directly linked. Working together they produce a dynamic process: CPD achievements refer back to the aims in the PDP, the PDP evolves as existing objectives are accomplished and new ones added. The format is not rigid, retrospective changes may be applied to the PDP in the light of unexpected learning opportunities. These documents allow and promote a pro-active approach to personal development on the part of the practitioner. They encourage and enable the formalization and articulation of learning goals, objectives and progress towards them. They offer a portable record of personal investment in development.

The PDP and the CPD log belong to the individual practitioner, their mentor or manager may use them to identify and evaluate training needs, but ownership stays with the individual. This sense of ownership is important, as it helps to motivate the individual in setting personal goals which contribute to the overall development of the organization’s skills base.

B.3.3 Training in archaeology#

A number of bodies are engaged in the active promotion of training across the professions and specialisms working with the historic environment.

The Archaeology Training Forum#

Since 1998, the Archaeology Training Forum (ATF) and its member organisations have taken forward a co-ordinated programme to develop training and a framework for professional qualification in archaeology. The ATF is a delegate body which represents all those organisations which have an interest in the issues of training and career development in archaeology. It was constituted in 1998 to review the present provision of training in archaeology and to co-ordinate future strategies to meet the profession's training needs. The ATF exists to:
  • keep current training provision by member bodies and others under review
  • seek to ensure that funding for training from whatever source is distributed according to need within a framework of priorities
  • work towards the alignment of existing and proposed training sessions and units, sponsored or run by bodies represented, into a series of related programmes accessible to all members of the profession and to interested amateurs
  • work towards agreement on the validation of training units and their integration within a widely accepted professional career structure.

The ATF is concerned to promote solutions to current training issues in the profession and to engender action to ensure that future needs are met. To do so it works with academic and professional partners to promote a range of training to meet the needs of the profession and to co-ordinate strategies to fill any perceived gaps.

The bodies presently making up the ATF are:

  • The Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers
  • The Council for British Archaeology
  • Historic England
  • The Society of Museum Archaeologists
  • The Standing Committee of Archaeological Unit Managers
  • The Subject Committee for Archaeology
  • Prospect
  • Creative and Cultural Skills
  • Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Archaeology
  • The Institute of Historic Building Conservation

One of the ATF's earliest pieces of work was the commissioning of the development of a suite of National Occupational Standards in Archaeological Practice (see below). These benchmarks of vocational competence are now being used as the underpinning architecture for the ATF’s profession-wide initiatives. The ATF’s forward plan for the period to 2006 sets out a route map of training priorities for the profession, which includes further promoting personal investment in training and best practice through wider use of PDPs and CPD logs and producing guidance for employers in archaeology on effective strategies for training in business.

National Occupational Standards (NOS)#

National Occupational Standards (NOS) form the basis of the government's strategy for vocational qualifications and training. These are a simple, yet powerful and comprehensive tool which can support the efficient achievement of individual and organisational goals.

Put simply, they describe what competent people in a particular occupation should be able to achieve. They provide a framework for progression beyond degree level, for vocational training and for professional development and career planning.

A suite of National Occupational Standards in Archaeological Practice has been developed in conjunction with ATF members and after extensive consultation with the sector. Reference to these means that creating personal development plans, establishing training programmes and bringing clarity and focus to performance appraisal can be achieved more efficiently.

B.3.4 The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA)#

The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists is the professional organisation for all archaeologists and others involved in protecting and understanding the historic environment. It acts in support of its members, works to improve pay and conditions, represents the interests of archaeology and archaeologists to government, policy makers and industry, keeps members up to date on developments in archaeological practice, sets standards and issues guidelines, promotes and organises training, improves individual career prospects, provides a wide range of membership services, and through its Registered Organisation (RO) scheme improves employment practices and raises standards of work.

There are presently around 3,000 members of the CIfA. Membership is open to practising archaeologists in all fields, whether professional or amateur. Archaeologists are admitted to corporate membership after rigorous peer review of their experience and qualifications. They may identify themselves as corporate members by using the designation CPIfA, CAIfA and CMIfA depending on membership grade. There are non-corporate membership grades of Student and Affiliate. Members agree to abide by the Institute's Code of Conduct, for all archaeologists have a duty to adhere to the highest professional and ethical standards.

The CIfA plays an active role in supporting and developing the skills base of individual members, of CIfA Registered Organisations and the profession as a whole.

Throughout the CIfA Code of conduct there runs a requirement for practitioners to maintain and be aware of their levels of knowledge and skill. Without such maintenance and awareness, archaeologists cannot hope to uphold the principles and adhere to the rules laid down in the Code. The CIfA sees Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as a principal means of sustaining and developing archaeologists, the profession of archaeology and standards, and so CIfA is committed to CPD as a means of securing good practice and high standards amongst its members. Both new applicants for membership and existing members are expected to undertake at least 50 hours CPD in any two-year period and CPD is madatory for corporate members. The CPD pages of the CIfA web site can be found at: http://www.archaeologists.net/development/cpd

B.3.5 Training in building conservation#

Since April 2004 it has been a condition of English Heritage (and now Historic England) and Historic Scotland grant funded building repair projects that the lead professionals should be accredited in conservation. This requirement follows concerns at Historic Scotland in relation to the quality of grant-aided works, which led first to a commitment in the 1998 Historic Buildings Council for Scotland’s Annual Report that “within 3 to 5 years” lead professionals should be accredited. English Heritage then gave a parallel commitment to accreditation at the IHBC 2001 Annual School in London.

A number of the professional bodies have administered accreditation systems for some time. These schemes allow pre-qualified and appropriately experienced professionals to seek accreditation as individuals, normally by way of submission of detailed evidence of experience. (Eydmann and Preston 2004).

B.3.6 The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC)#

The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) is the professional institute which represents conservation professionals in the public and private sectors in the United Kingdom and Ireland. IHBC exists to establish the highest standards of conservation practice to support the effective protection and enhancement of the historic environment.

The Institute recognises the value to be gained by members, clients, our heritage and the public at large in having a positive approach to the continuing training and development of its members. IHBC has developed a CPD scheme for members that requires a recorded form of members’ learning to ensure that it is effective, reflective of considered needs and that it gets recognition. The form of the record is not as important as the content and that it links back to the individual member’s Personal Development Assessment and the IHBC's Areas of Professional Competence (Philosophy; Legislation/Policy; Technology; History; Finance/Economics; Research/Recording/Analysis; Design/Presentation; Practice). The IHBC requires members to log 50 hours of CPD over a rolling two year period.

The IHBC will, at short notice, call in the CPD Records of a percentage of members each year for assessment. These members will be selected at random but the system will be attenuated to ensure, over time, that all members will, at some point, be called in. Any member who fails to submit their CPD Records or submits unacceptable and/or unverified CPD records will be subject to disciplinary action by the Institute including expulsion. Any member whose CPD Records need further explanation will be required to respond in writing to questions from the Institute and/or attend an interview. Should the outcome of this process be unsatisfactory the Institute will instigate appropriate disciplinary action including expulsion.(Preston and Brown 2005)

B.3.7 Other relevant organisations#

These include Creative and Cultural Skills. This body is the Sector Skills Council for archaeology, the historic environment and all other areas of the UK workforce in the cultural and creative sector. It is recognised by the UK Government as the strategic training organization for the museums, galleries and heritage sector in the UK, providing advice about training and professional development.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is responsible for funding and planning education and training for over 16-year-olds in England. It provides countrywide information on training plans and workplace training. The LSC functions through a network of local offices, and can sometimes offer financial support for learners and employers.

The organisation representing information professionals is CILIP which has a CPD program and two levels of qualification Certification and Chartered Member (MCILIP).

B.3.8 Training and CPD in HERs#

It is recognised that, alongside the general lack of development within the historic environment professions overall, training provision for HER staff is also considered to be weak.

Given the wide range of roles and functions that HER staff have to fulfill, their skills and development needs are broad. As the requirements placed on these individuals are increasingly demanding, the need for the maintenance of their CPD and for opportunities for learning are increasingly being recognised.

Forms of CPD#

CPD can be accessed through both formal and informal learning, which can take place on or off the job.
  • On-the-job, or in-house, formal training would involve learning in a traditional, ‘classroom’ setting, provided by in-house trainers or imported experts.
  • Off-the-job formal training would involve the individual professional attending a training course that is being run away from their usual place of work.
  • Informal learning, taking place on–the-job might take the form of being coached by a more experienced colleague.
  • Off-the-job informal learning can take place through means such as conference attendance or through structured, focused reading.

Whatever form the CPD experience takes, the important thing is what is learned, not how or where it is learned. Learning should be valued in terms of the outcomes of what is delivered (the learning), not the input (that is the time spent on the learning experience). If the outcomes of a learning experience match a learning objective that an individual has placed in their Personal Development Plan, then that learning has contributed and counts towards their CPD and should be recorded in the CPD log.

Training providers#

Historic England facilitates an annual programme of short courses in partnership with higher education institutions, including the University of Leicester, for historic environment practitioners and postgraduate students. The Courses are designed by Historic England in association with the Archaeology Training Forum (ATF), the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA).

Training is also offered by a wide range of bodies and organisations, including:

  • university continuing education departments
  • university postgraduate courses in Cultural Resource Management and other relevant subjects
  • Historic Environment Local Management (HELM) provides information and training to help local authority decision making in the historic environment.
  • Historic England's Data Standards Unit, which has developed training in data standards, documentation and recording practices for curators of monument inventories.
  • the Archaeology Data Service, which offers seminars on digital data management.
  • the Museums Association, which represents the people and institutions constituting Britain's museums and galleries, offers several professional development schemes.
  • exeGesIS Spatial Data Management (SDM) Ltd offer training in exeGesIS SDM Ltd's HER data management software.
  • local authorities may provide in-house training in ICT applications including the use of GIS.

Useful websites#

Archaeological Data Service: http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/

The Archaeology Training Forum: http://archaeologytraining.org.uk/

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists CPD Page:http://www.archaeologists.net/development/cpd

Three case studies using NOS are available via CIFA website http://www.archaeologists.net/development/nos

Council for British Archaeology Briefing: training courses, etc: http://www.britarch.ac.uk/briefing/briefing.html

Creative and Cultural Skills: http://www.ccskills.org.uk/

Data Standards Unit: http://www.historicengland.org.uk/advice/technical-advice/information-management/data-standards-terminology/

exeGesIS SDM Ltd: https://www.esdm.co.uk/training

HELM: http://www.historicengland.org.uk/advice/planning/local-heritage/helm-redirect/

Institute for Historic Building Conservation CPD Page:http://www.ihbc.org.uk/join/ed_train/cpd/cpd.html

Investors in People: http://www.investorsinpeople.co.uk/Pages/Home.aspx

Learning and Skills Council: http://www.lsc.gov.uk

Museums Association: http://www.museumsassociation.org/home

National Occupational Standards in Archaeological Practice:http://www.archaeologists.net/development/nos

Professional Training in the Historic Environment: http://www.historicengland.org.uk/services-skills/training-skills/helmtraining/

Skills Funding Agency: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/skills-funding-agency

Training in Professional Archaeology: http://www.britarch.ac.uk/training/survey.html

TUC Learning Services: http://www.unionlearn.org.uk/

Union Learning Fund: http://www.unionlearningfund.org.uk/

University of Leicester Heritage Practice Training: http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/history/heritage

University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education: https://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/courses/index.php

Archaeology Labour Market Intelligence: http://www.archaeologists.net/profession/profiling