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I came across an advert regarding the recruitment of site technicians for the Museum of London:
http://powered.jobsgopublic.com/museumof...-field50-1

This advert was placed during a period of review and comment upon the Southport Consultation.

Under the thread: Southport-support or betrayal, BAJR asked for clarification through some of his questions. I've only posted the response, if you wish to review the entire post, please see #77.

The reply:

Your query regarding the Southport report has come through to me as I am managing the responses to the consultation. I am not a member of the Southport Group but manage the Southport project for IfA.

The Southport vision is about increased public participation in planning led investigation and understanding of the historic environment. This might include more opportunities for members of the public to participate in that investigation on site, where appropriate, alongside a whole range of other potential opportunities for involvement. The key point is that identifying the potential for public involvement should become the norm. There is no intention that this should replace or reduce the numbers of paid historic environment practitioners and the report goes on to make reference to the IfA policy statement on the use of volunteers which has not changed,
http://www.archaeologists.net/sites/...statements.pdf.

The report also makes reference to various perceived weaknesses in the current application of self regulation and envisages a future where professional self regulation involves a better balance of quality management by person (through membership of an appropriate professional body), process and product.


I hope that answers your questions. I would encourage all BAJR subscribers to respond to the consultation (which closes on the 3 June) and make their contribution to the final report.


Kind regards


Kate

Kate Geary BA MIfA
Standards Development Manager, Institute for Archaeologists
The advert referred to here has been noted in an additional thread "Site Tech Role".

Simply thinking out loud while trying to digest any implications:
Does this undermine the role of the digger? In the context of the advert what value is placed on fieldwork? Doesn't this artificially keep wages low, even for experienced field staff? Though not a "training" dig, are we really to believe that untrained individuals are to be let loose on an archaeological site? So..., one assumes there will be suitably qualified staff on site...to do....? Doesn't this approach really chip away at remuneration, better terms and conditions? Using the advert as an example is this an indirect condition/response to the southport consultation?

As I said, just thinking out loud.

*apologies for the misspelling in the headers, the result of an overused and underworked brain....*
Well considering when I sent my comment into the IFA using the Southport Groups own email I had an auto reply from Kate Geary's personnal email ..... now is it me or is it just very odd that the IFA Standards Development Manager should reply, especially as she is not a SG member?

Consultation? I think not it would already appear to be being drafted as IfA standards .........
I am still away in Wales just now, with patchy internet. however. now it is outthe bag (so to speak) I am shocked at

The key point is that identifying the potential for public involvement should become the norm. There is no intention that this should replace or reduce the numbers of paid historic environment practitioners and the report goes on to make reference to the IfA policy statement on the use of volunteers which has not changed

also seems to allow for untrained individuals with no experience be allwoed to excavate without training on commercial sites. They are paid and so one would guess the client will be charged for having untrained staff carrying out commercial projects. How does this square up?

Very very worrying :face-rain:
Relictor Wrote:Well considering when I sent my comment into the IFA using the Southport Groups own email I had an auto reply from Kate Geary's personnal email ..... now is it me or is it just very odd that the IFA Standards Development Manager should reply, especially as she is not a SG member?

Consultation? I think not it would already appear to be being drafted as IfA standards .........

[FONT=&quot]There may be a reasonable explanation as the SG is a sub group of the IFA. Regarding the consultation, perhaps someone or an organisation simply jumped the gun a bit. After all, I keep banging on about communication between parties, or more to the point, the lack thereof. In this particular situation the lack of communication gives the appearance of short changing the consultation which is not helpful. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the SG purpose, it does not help serving up a situation to focus criticism upon. What would be helpful is an explanation, rather than having to speculate. [/FONT]
BAJR Wrote:I am still away in Wales just now, with patchy internet. however. now it is outthe bag (so to speak) I am shocked at

The key point is that identifying the potential for public involvement should become the norm. There is no intention that this should replace or reduce the numbers of paid historic environment practitioners and the report goes on to make reference to the IfA policy statement on the use of volunteers which has not changed

also seems to allow for untrained individuals with no experience be allwoed to excavate without training on commercial sites. They are paid and so one would guess the client will be charged for having untrained staff carrying out commercial projects. How does this square up?

Very very worrying :face-rain:
This situation the advert creates certainly isn’t going to solicit support. The advert reads as a very poor attempt at a disclaimer for not being a training dig. It may not be a training dig, yet who is going to provide the training for these “students of archaeology”? I note the advert is not one for recruiting archaeological students. It’s these word twists that seem to be a prevalent method for providing the most broad range definition to avoid being held down to a specific, understandable and straightforward explanation. It gives the appearance of politicising the situation.

One of many of my concerns is the wage structure for the advertised position. How will this go down with other more experienced “digger” staff? Again, it may not be a training dig, but we know from experience that it will put upon other diggers to support these students of archaeology. This can only mean less attention paid to their site work. I can only see this as divisive. If this were to become the “norm not the exception”; what about the welfare of senior staff and the stress and workload that will be put upon them?

It doesn’t appear that this aspect of the advert and the SG consultation has been very well thought through. While supporting the public involvement in archaeology, there is a time and a place for it. Where the SG consultation is leading is an overstatement of public involvement and may be well meaning in spirit, but as practical application it needs rethinking.
BAJR Wrote:also seems to allow for untrained individuals with no experience be allwoed to excavate without training on commercial sites. They are paid and so one would guess the client will be charged for having untrained staff carrying out commercial projects. How does this square up?

It's possible that if this became the norm, there would be an increase in the number of professional staff required on commercial sites, as people would need to be employed to provide a suitable ratio of professionals to volunteers, to allow time for some level of training or to ensure that work is done to a suitable standard. This could be achieved either by having a subset of staff on site dealing solely with training, or by all the professional archaeologists taking turns monitoring volunteers - I'd tend to favour the latter approach, as it would reduce divisiveness and give all staff experience of interacting with the public.

Whether the developer, who'd likely be expected to pay for this, would be happy to fork across additional money for extra staff to cover public involvement or suffer the delays that may result from the need to train volunteers during the course of the project is a separate issue.
...and what then happens once these people have reached a level that makes them 'skilled'? Are they then promoted and receive increase in wages or do they stay at the same salary level - and thus give the management of the units even cheaper skilled labour. Or are they turfed out at the end of a fixed contract and a new intake is recruited. This is, to me, a method to drive down staff costs. salary levels etc even further. Not surprised that MoLA are taking this step if they are venturing into the private sector later this year.
I think we may be talking about two different things. The MoLA advert is for site technicians, who would be employed by the company, albeit on a 'training' wage, the Southport thing seems to be about public access and allowing local people the opportunity to work on professional sites alongside commercial contractors. In the site tech situation, I don't know what would happen after they've been there for a while and gained a reasonable set of skills, though I'd like to think that having demonstrated that they can do the job, they'd be promoted to the usual diggers salary and not chucked out to bring in another batch of trainees! (hollow laugh).

In terms of the Southport vision of more access for volunteers to work on commercial site, I'd expect this to operate in a different way. The volunteers aren't actually working for the company, they're simply taking part in archaeology that's going on in their area by getting involved in a voluntary basis. I don't think the contractor would be paying them to be there, as then they wouldn't be volunteers, they'd be employees. I also don't think most would be undertaking this type of voluntary work with the expectation of securing a job at the end of it. Rather, I think most would come along for a day or two, or a couple of hours a week, to learn what they can about a subject that they're interested in. I'd expect any project design including the use of volunteers to also include the provision for a suitable ratio of professionals on site, both to instruct and monitor the volunteers, and to ensure that the actual excavation progresses. The volunteers would therefore not be on site instead of professional archaeologists, but in addition to them. There'd need to be a sufficient number professional staff there to ensure that they had time to help the volunteers and weren't expected to run about madly doing both excavation and education.(hollow laugh again).

I don't think either of these ideas are bad in and of themselves, but I can see that both have the potential to be damaging to professional wages and employment prospects if commercial contractors were minded to implement them in a way designed to lower staff levels or costs. Given the realities of commercial competition, it's likely that someone would seek to gain advantage by doing this, and once one company does it, others are almost certain to follow.
Quote:The MoLA advert is for site technicians, who would be employed by the company, albeit on a 'training' wage, the Southport thing seems to be about public access and allowing local people the opportunity to work on professional sites alongside commercial contractors.
the advert (

Indeed you are right... however the advert - not carried by BAJR - makes it clear that no training is given.

Public working with professionals is fine by me. I welcome - however, it is exactly the case outlines above that more staff would be needed to actually deal with that, which would be good if it did. More bodies in the trench does not equal faster work. :face-thinks:
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