3.3 Progressive Training

Progressive training is intended to enable established practitioners to gain the skills, experience and knowledge they need to progress to a higher grade, to undertake new responsibilities or to work in a new area of responsibility or competence. The importance of gaining this training stems from the concept that the status of a professional depends upon competence – and professionals must show that they have maintained that competence by updating their skills (Aitchison 2002). In order to ensure that skills and knowledge are updated, allowing competence to be maintained, experienced archaeologists (and their employers) have to consider their training requirements.

"experienced archaeologists (and their employers) have to consider training requirements"

Maintenance of competence is expected by employers, clients and any other stakeholders in the work of an archaeologist. This maintenance of competence is set out in the IFA's Code of conduct, on the basis that without the maintenance of competence, archaeologists cannot hope to uphold the principles and adhere to the rules laid down in the Code (specifically in rule 1.4 – skills, or 1.3 and 1.6 – knowledge).

IFA guidelines (IFA 2000b) set out expectations of general underpinning knowledge and experience for archaeological practice, detailing fifteen areas of knowledge – two examples of which are 'a good general knowledge of the principal types of monument, landscape and artefact from Palaeolithic to today' and 'a good general knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the general history and development of field archaeology in the UK'. Levels of skill and knowledge are recognised at five levels, from an individual having 'Acquaintance' (being aware of the significance or principles) to 'Mastery' (has recognised national or international expertise, e.g. writing articles, delivering papers).

This model has been an important step toward the definition of archaeological skills and levels of competence, which has now been addressed through identifying the specific skills that archaeologists need to undertake their work roles via the Defining Professional Functions and Standards in Archaeology project. The IFA applies this through continuing professional development, the framework within which these skills are identified, acquired and recorded.


Last updated: Tue Sep 10 2002

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