Collection Development Trainee with University of Edinburgh Centre for Research Collections





Opening up Scotland’s Archives

The University of Edinburgh

 Collection Development and Outreach and Community Engagement Traineeship

The deadline for applications has now passed, so please don't complete the application form.


Reports to:  Opening up Scotland’s Archives Project Manager
Location:     Edinburgh
Bursary:       £14,500 per annum  (plus travel and training)


Traineeship purpose and context:

This traineeship is one of 7 offered this year in archive services across Scotland as part of the Opening up Scotland’s Archives project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Opening Up Scotland’s Archives seeks to address three main areas:

• to diversify the range of people coming into the archives workforce;
• to address gaps in the skills available in the archives workforce and
• to offer new routes for people to work in the heritage sector.

We especially want to attract people from different working environments or voluntary sector backgrounds. Rather than solely focusing on specific qualifications, the aim is to identify people who can bring talent and energy and skills to the archival world, who are keen to develop their skills, who want to engage with their local community and want to create better accessible online services.


Host Organisation

The University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Research Collections brings together Special Collections (including manuscripts and rare books), University Archives, Lothian Health Services Archive and Museums under one banner. The Centre for Research Collections at the University of Edinburgh forms the principal point of access to these collections and the staff who manage them.

The traineeship will be based within Lothian Health Services Archive (LHSA), an Accredited Archive Service holding a varied and rich collection dating from 1594 to the present day. The collection includes NHS clinical and non-clinical records along with gifted non-NHS institutional and personal papers. There is also a photographic collection (c.40,000 items) as well as older printed books, medical instruments, artworks, silverware and other historically significant objects. To find out more about LHSA, please the website at or contact Ruth Honeybone ( 


About this placement

The trainee will work on cataloguing, and outreach and engagement, for Lothian Health Services Archive’s collection, whilst based in a supportive and collaborative environment. The Centre for Research Collections will provide an inspiring and immersive experience of the archive sector for the successful applicant. 


Skills you will acquire during this traineeship

During the traineeship you will:

• Development of a wide range of relevant archival skills including cataloguing, and communicating and sharing collections through outreach and engagement work.
• Knowledge of the archival sector and related professions and practice from museums and library sectors.
• General workplace skills and background knowledge essential for a career in the cultural heritage sector.
• Experience of working on projects as a team and through self-directed work.
• The skills and confidence to communicate collections and sector issues with a wide audience.


Questions to consider

Are you

• Passionate about learning new skills?
• Enthusiastic about taking on new challenges?
• Looking for a new career?
• Confident in using IT?
• Do you have an enquiring mind?
• Are you methodical and organised?
• Do you have good manual dexterity and attention to detail?
• Are you interested in the past and in helping?


Person Specification


• An interest in the heritage sector and community engagement
• Higher English, or equivalent, and Standard Grade Maths, or equivalent
• Good IT skills and experience in using IT and the web for a range of activities; willingness and ability to acquire additional technical skills, such as those required for archival cataloguing, to undertake the role
• Demonstrable commitment to sharing and accessing information online
• Good communication skills, both spoken and written, and the ability to gather and share information in an interesting and understandable way
• Ability to work as part of a team and undertake self-directed research and projects
• Good people skills and the ability to engage with a variety of different groups and individuals
• Good problem solving skills, the ability to develop processes and procedures for anew activities and resilience in coping with and overcoming setbacks
• Good manual dexterity and attention to detail


• Experience of creating web content/resources, whether in a personal or organisational context
• Good organisational and time management skills
• Understanding of working with the public/good ‘customer care’

Candidates should not already possess a postgraduate qualification in the area of heritage, archive or museum practice.

During interview, you will be asked to give a very short presentation on what you understand “digital preservation” to mean. Also, you will be asked to complete a short aptitude test which will assess your ability to abstract key points from a longer piece of text.


Additional Information about the traineeship

During the traineeship you will build a portfolio of skills, experience and training designed for you to take forward into future employment.  At induction you will be provided with your training plan setting out the learning objectives and activities in more detail.  The training programme is responsive to the individual trainee requirements and you will therefore have the opportunity to liaise with your trainer to establish an individual programme of support.  The Digital Preservation Trainee will be expected to successfully complete a 10 credit-learning module at SCQF level 8 with the University of Dundee (involving around 15 hours of study per week over 9 weeks – only part of this study will be undertaken during working hours)

This may be used to count towards a future qualification in Archives or a related discipline.

The seven Opening Up Scotland’s archives trainees will regularly meet up at archive services across Scotland during the year to learn from their peers, attend a variety of seminars, group training and work alongside skilled and knowledgeable mentors within each host organisation. As part of the peer learning programme all trainees will take part in a training week at the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh. As well as your specialist focus area, training will cover: Outreach and Community Engagement, Digitisation, Digital Preservation, Collections Development and Traditional Archive Skills.

Trainees will also be part of an online community offering support and learning opportunities.  IT access, stationery and other reasonable resource requirements will be provided by the placement provider. 


If you require further information not found in the on-line information and FAQs please email

Location Centre for Research Collections, Main Library, University of Edinburgh, George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LJ

Working arrangement This is a 51 week workplace-based traineeship starting in September 2016. You will work 37 hours per week.

Bursary £14,500 per annum

Nationality rules Applicants must be British or Commonwealth citizens with the right to live and work in the UK, or nationals of states of the European Union.

Closing date 15 May, 2016

Interviews These will be held on 4 July, 2016 

The deadline for applications has now passed, so please don't complete the application form.