Skills gaps in the archives & records management workforce

Recently the sector skills council Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) published a UK wide report assessing skills needs for its “footprint”.  LLUK covers people working is career guidance, community learning & development, further education, higher education, work based learning – and libraries, archives and information services (including records management).

The report is available here, but there were some particular headlines in the skills gaps for archives and records management that I wanted to highlight:

  • use of ICT including web 2.0 to support “learners” (ie service users)
  • ICT/web 2.0 for information management
  • marketing allied to accessible – particularly for free services
  • evaluation and assessment of impact and use evidence to “advocate the value of the service in order to procure resources, develop partnerships and position the service within the wider organisation”
  • developing service level agreements/specifications and managing contracts – in the context of strategic commissioning/outsourcing
  • “practical skills” including stock management, budgeting, customer service
  • Freedom of Information and Data Protection [and the Environmental Information Regulations] and the impact on the release of information.

The report also identifies barriers to skills development at both the individual and organisational level and makes some fairly generic high-level recommendations for the work of LLUK itself.

This list certainly chimes with me, given the wide range of registration portfolios I have seen from fairly recently qualified professionals in archives and records management over the last 5 years, my experience as a manager and as an employee, and my short experience to date as an educator.

What I’m less happy about is how the gaps can be bridged in practical ways and the workforce supported, given the lack of resources (both time and money) for training and development, the need to recognise T & D needs both on the part of the individual AND the organisation, the rapid change and diversification of roles, demographics, and the pace of change.  Suggestions?


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