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New IFA membership procedure & updated Handbook
Basically, yes you have to go through a centre. I replied as a qualified assessor, and the IFA were pretty enthusiastic at first, but nowt since despite reminders from me. I get the feeling that they're trying to get a couple of centres going to give the NVQ a kick start and then try to build up a wider network of assesors (would happily be corrected), but even so, because the assessments have to be verified ( a two-stage process), you effectively have to assess within a centre- though this could be any organisation willing to employ qualified assessors and give them working time to assess...

I'm not too impressed as I've heard nothing since the initial contact about a year ago, and I said at the time that my currency was running out- so I'm in danger of having to do the assessor's course all over again, and I've not got the time to do the whole thing again, and couldn't outside a centre anyway, as you qualify as an assessor through your portfolio of assessment work... :face-thinks:

As regards the standards, I did see a draft a long time ago, and they seem pretty relevant (e.g. for diggers, can they use a level, fill out a context sheet etc), though I'm not sure what level they extend to. As long as its based on the level of COMPETENCE actually required to do the job, then I don't see that anyone who hasn't done the NVQ at a lower level has anything to worry about other diggers with an 'unfair advantage'.

The other issue is that almost all diggers, probably up to and including supervisor level, I've ever met are actually seriously overqualified and overexperienced for the level of responsibility they have (this is probably the main reason why the pay is rubbish for the level of qualification- in most other professions a new graduate would start on a junior/trainee management grade rather than the lowest technical grade). This is a consequence of the oversupply of qualified archaeologists compared to the number of jobs available. Harsh fact of life, but nothing new. Sure the level of knowledge that you get from the three-or more years of studying is useful, but it's not actually necessary at digger level. I could name tens of 'unqualified' but competent diggers.

At the moment we have a single tier qualified and generally skilled and motivated (??) workforce, but a two-tier employment system. Sorry if this bit is controversial...:face-stir:

In essence, I'm not happy that VC will pass people on the portfolio element on the say so of someone assessing an individual on other criteria. If nothing else, if the work assessed is of a higher standard than that required and is in a submittable format, then it will be in an easy format for VC to assess rapidly. It doesn't have to be 'fast tracked', it will already be by being of the appropriate level and in an easliy accessible format.

There's my 2p.......


I've had a chat with the IFA people following on from my comment above and now have a different take on this. What I hadn't remembered (entirely my fault, I blame work!)is that the validation criteria are changing in order to move from the (useful but, to be honest not as effective as it should be) old system of levels of responsibility and time served at that level to a system of properly assessing technical competence, based on the National occupation Standards (NOS) and so therefore also compatible with the NVQ assessment procedures and criteria.

As I said, I blame brain fugue.....

Quoting the invisible man

"Are we working towards a two tier approach in archaeology, with the career digger as a technician?"

I think it's important to remember two things. One is that we do not have a chartered insitute for archaeology and also that PIFA, AIFA and MIFA are all corporate grades within IFA. There is no restriction as to who can do what and where individuals can serve.

I think the NVQs will allow individuals to demonstrate their competencies (which is especially important if on a short term contract) and easily identify where they might like to develop. I have often said 'it's difficult to know what training to ask for if you don't even know what you can do now and what you might be able to learn to do'.
Which does suggest (as has been discussed) that the IFA should or could move to either being a member or not... as a PIFA could be a County archaeologist and a MIFA could be a supervisor.... demonstrating actual competence is the way to go... IF it means a real financial and career orientated benefit... not just so you can join the IFA.

"I don't have an archaeological imagination.."
[quote]Originally posted by BAJR Host

.... demonstrating actual competence is the way to go... IF it means a real financial and career orientated benefit... not just so you can join the IFA.

"I don't have an archaeological imagination.."

Yes, but it's a good thing for IFA to be moving in this direction from the point of view of membership too. Not only doing something for the profession generally (whether members or not) but also moving itself as an organisation forward to be more representative of the views of its members and more transparent in its decisions to others. (It's a lot easier to make a decision that will stand up to scrutiny or strops when you have clearly defined criteria and methodologies....)
From Kate Geary

I've noticed that there are one or two people in the current NVQ thread who have registered an interest in becoming assessors with the IFA and haven't heard anything in a long while (which is entirely my fault!) I've just sent out a group email to all the assessors on my list and have had several bounce backs from email addresses that are no longer current. Obviously, I don't know who the subscribers are on the BAJR forum and whether they are included in the rejected emails - is there any way you could ask them to get in touch with me if they haven't received an email today?

"I don't have an archaeological imagination.."
Just going back to invisible man's comment that references to education have been removed...

The template available on the IFA website for applying with the competence criteria includes a section on education and qualifications. This allows you to describe how your formal training relates to your application.

It will make it easier for those who have done further studies like masters, PhDs or haven't completed courses but have done substantial chunks of them to get that experience to count which was really difficult under the old system.

If you don't have an archaeology (or any) degree you would need to be more explicit in your description of professional and work experience to demonstrate how you've achieved the knowledge that would normally accrue through a degree. There are some excellent archaeologists who moved into archaeology, but not through doing a degree, who are utterly professional and compentent having built their knowledge up in the work place - I wouldn't want to see them excluded from the IFA or the profession.

The length of time has been removed, but I doubt you'll see many MIFAs at six months out of uni as you wouldn't be able to demonstrate the breadth of experience, understanding etc. that the competencies suggest. It'll also make it easier for those who work mainly at one level, but have to 'drop' to a different level on occasions because there isn't the work, those who work part time, have varying job roles etc.

I think overall for the majority of people they wont see that much difference in how they apply - the form and statement has a different focus but essentially you are still being asked to explain what you've done, at what level and support that with evidence of work and references. I think it will be easier for those with job roles that are archaeology-related, but not 'traditional' to apply (esaier in the sense of writing an application, not requiring less experience).

The people who'll see the biggest difference are the NVQ holders and the fast track element is as invisible man says not having to compile the statement and portfolio - it wont allow you to cram three years experience into six months. It's similar to getting accreditation with Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment once you've completed one of their accredited courses or the exam. Having seen the descriptions and assessment criteria of individual modules for the NVQ if you have completed it you'll have provided much more of a work portfolio than most people would for an application.

Hmm more like 10p's worth!!
Quote:quote:Originally posted by Mattymooface

I send most companies a big long list of my experiance and competencies i call to my CV, I dont see how listing that i have NVG on it will make any diffreance to if they have read it in full or not

Which is the point. There's a difference between - 'I have worked on all these sites' (not that I'm saying your CV says that, but many of the ones I've seen do) and 'I can undertake these tasks effectively, and my ability to do this has been validated by an independent assessor' (especially the last bit).

We have a huge amount of diversity within archaeology in our work titles and our job descriptions. Also, I've seen an awful lot of people claiming they can do stuff on their CVs and genuinely believing it, but other people were of a different opinion.......

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