Thursday, 21 November 2013

Volunteering in the HER by Richard Thomas


I started as a HER volunteer in October (2013) after a placement became available at the last minute. I decided to take part in the project because I wanted to get some work experience outside what I’ve been doing since I graduated in 2007.  

The project's flexible times were ideal for me, as I had already agreed to work as a volunteer at Swansea Egypt Centre and had other commitments which meant I could only take part on certain days.  Another factor was my passion for history. Helping to create records to help members of the public to have better access to the past was appealing to me. 

Despite my enthusiasm for the project I did feel nervous coming in for my first day, though.  Having only done a limited number of History modules for my degree in American Studies from Swansea University, and having no previous archaeological experience, I was concerned I wouldn’t last very long on the project. Thankfully, I needn’t have worried. Leonora, who is the project manager, is an excellent teacher, and if they awarded Olympic medals for patience and understanding she would win the gold every time, easy.  At no time did I ever feel like there was a question I couldn’t ask Leonora about, even if I had asked her the same question twice before already!

While the software went over my head initially, with the help of the easy to follow instructions Leonora typed up to help new volunteers, it wasn’t long before I knew what I was doing well enough to get on with using the HER alone without much help or oversight.

Now that I’m at ease with adding sites to the core, the most difficult part I’m told, I fully intend to finish the dates I have committed to and hope to come back next year if time permits or even perhaps participate in other GGAT projects.

Richard Thomas, A2A Volunteer

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