Libby Bennett (Fieldwork Assistant Supervisor)
In 2017, after 7 years working in museums and teaching abroad, my attention diverted once again to field archaeology. I jumped aboard at OA South and was astonished at the diversity of sites. Starting as a Graduate Trainee, it was very reassuring to be able to turn to so many people to ask for advice and guidance. I am extremely grateful to everyone who took the time to train me.
Now as a GT Mentor myself, having gone through the A2AS Programme, these experiences have instilled confidence and equipped me well whilst transferring to OA North and undertaking an Acting Supervisor role. I see OA's support network of training opportunities continuously adapting and strengthening, something I feel very proud to be part and product of!
Ed Tolley (Fieldwork Assistant Supervisor)
When I first joined Oxford Archaeology (OA), I was placed on the Graduate Trainee (GT) Programme, which prove invaluable as I transitioned from academic summer field excavations into the world of commercial archaeology. The training was all ‘on the job’ which was a great way to easily learn the skills required. The interim assessments from senior more experienced peers and colleagues on site not only outlined key areas I needed to improve, but also provided the opportunity to acknowledge the skill sets in which I had already gained. By the end of the Graduate Trainee Programme, I had the fundamental understanding - and more importantly confidence to undertake on site tasks independently to a high standard. This is without doubt down to the quality support and guidance provided throughout the scheme’s duration by experienced OA mentors.
After the GT Programme I transitioned into the Archaeologist to Assistant Supervisor Training Programme. Again, a thorough and quality framework was provided with clear aims, goals and learning principles conveyed from the company from the get-go. Office training days led by a range of experienced staff at OA enabled me to engage and understand the company I worked for, as well as learning crucial skills to aid the fieldwork we undertake. The days were a fantastic opportunity to meet and learn from colleagues who not only had many years of experience, but who were specialists in their roles, and enabled my promotion to Assistant Supervisor.
I am currently on the Assistant Supervisor Training Programme, with the aim of one day supervising archaeological sites myself. This would certainly not have been possible had it not been for the progressive training embedded into the career progression at OA. Due to the framework outlined across the three-course system, and through external training courses provided by OA, such as the NPORS plant marshalling, I now undertake small excavations and watching briefs independently with the confidence required, ultimately gained from the training and experience accrued with the support of OA.
By undertaking the training provided at OA, I have progressed from a complete novice to a confident archaeologist who understands the core skills required to be a useful team member within the fieldwork department. I would thoroughly recommend the training schemes to anyone who is considering plunging into a career in commercial archaeology.
Katie Sanderson (Fieldwork Supervisor)
I joined OA as a Graduate Trainee soon after finishing my Masters in Archaeology. While enrolled on the Graduate Trainee (GT) Programme I was provided with an experienced archaeologist who acted as my mentor. We were taught all the basics of excavation and recording on site, whilst working alongside other experienced archaeologists, who were all friendly and helpful. We had regular meetings with our mentors, where our progress was reviewed, and we could assess what we needed to work on further. This was a helpful and structured way of getting some feedback on how you were doing in the role and was essential to me bettering my skills. I also completed work in the office at Lancaster with the environmental specialists and finds specialists - learning to process the finds and samples recovered on site. Completing my Graduate Traineeship left me feeling confident and competent in my ability to do the job, and I was automatically promoted to Archaeologist grade and enrolled on the Archaeologist to Assistant Supervisor (A2AS) Training Programme.
As part of the A2AS training scheme I received a wider range of site experiences and took on more responsibilities over time. I learnt to supervise evaluation trenches and started to encounter more complex situations, such as wetland archaeology. Alongside learning on site, I also received more formal training delivered in an office environment by experienced staff members, which aimed to introduce specialist subjects. I then went on to mentor my own Graduate Trainees and complete the A2AS Programme. The programmes provided a great foundation to my career, and I have since been appointed to Fieldwork Supervisor.