Monday 7 October 2013

Volunteering in the HER by Mark Chambers

I started volunteering with the GGAT towards the end of August 2013, as part of their ongoing Access to Archaeology Programme. On my first day I was welcomed in by Leonora who kindly gave me a tour of the building and introduced me to many of her co-workers. The first main task I was given was entering information from standard grey literature reports onto the new, accessible, electronic HER database. At first it seemed like a lot to take in and I was slow and hesitant in working my way through the reports. But thanks to the clear instructions provided and help from the GGAT staff I was eventually able to get to grips with HER software and the data entry process. My role as a volunteer at GGAT was not limited to entering reports however. Other responsibilities included filling, scanning and the use of a mapping programme.

During my voluntary placement I was supervised by GGAT staff members Charina and Leonora who were always willing to help, answering my many questions with remarkable patience. In fact all the GGAT staff members I met were welcoming and polite in what seemed to be a friendly, informal working environment. Because a job opportunity presented itself, I had to cut my voluntary placement short to 5 days, spread over 5 weeks. Nevertheless, I feel like I benefited from the experience, honing my office based skills and increasing my IT confidence. I would certainly recommend a voluntary placement at GGAT to anybody who wants to gain some hands on work experience to boost their employability or those who just want to learn more about local history and how archaeological sites are recorded.      

Mark Chambers, A2A Volunteer     

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