Traditional Archive Skills Trainee with Tasglann nan Eilean Siar (Hebridean Archives)





Opening up Scotland’s Archives

Tasglann nan Eilean Siar (Hebridean Archives)

 Traditional Archive Skills 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:     Stornoway
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

Tasglann nan Eilean Siar (Hebridean Archives) was established in April 2010 with funding from the European Regional Development Fund, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Comunn na Gàidhlig. The Tasglann manages the historical records of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and its predecessors, and others (of individuals, families, businesses and groups) which have been entrusted to our care, in order to preserve them for future generations. Working in partnership with a network of heritage groups across the islands we collect, preserve and make accessible to the widest extent possible the documentary heritage of the Western Isles, as an evidential and learning resource. The archives provide a unique insight into the historical development of the Western Isles and are available to encourage people’s learning and enjoyment.

Now based at the new Museum and Archive at Lews Castle, the archive service supports a range of individuals and organisations carrying out local and specialist research, both in our reading room and through our enquiry services. As we move towards full public opening, it is expected that demand for our services will continue to grow.


About this placement

You would receive training in a range of traditional archival skills, such as cataloguing, as well as marketing to encourage use of the archive service. You would be asked to think innovatively about how to engage community interest in our heritage, using a variety of media to develop awareness of our collections and activities.

You would be working with colleagues in the wider heritage team to deliver a communications programme, in English and Gaelic, to highlight activities and events across the heritage network, and to raise awareness of collections and services with existing and potential audiences.

In addition it is likely you would get the opportunity to create small archive exhibitions, and assist with the development of education resources.

You would also be expected to participate in the delivery of general archive services such as assisting researchers in the reading room or responding to enquiries.


Skills you will acquire during this traineeship

During the traineeship you will:

• Develop knowledge of archival standards, and how to apply these in practice, including an understanding of what archives are and why they are kept
• Develop communication and marketing skills
• Develop your research skills
• Develop skills in dealing with the public
• Strengthen your IT skills


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?
• Interested in the past and in helping others make discoveries?
• Fluent in Gaelic?

If so, we’re looking for a trainee with the potential to develop a new career in the archive sector. We want to build on your practical skills and experience and show you the great opportunities that archives and their collections can offer.


Person Specification


• An interest in, and enthusiasm for, the heritage sector
• High standard of communication (English and Gaelic), with the ability to gather and share information in an interesting and understandable way
• Excellent IT skills (Word, Excel, email, internet and social media)
• Methodical, with good attention to detail
• Good interpersonal skills


• Experience of developing web content or resources in a work or personal context
• Good planning and time management skills
• Appreciation of excellent customer service

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


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 The traineeship will be based at the: Museum and Archive at Lews Castle, HS2 0XS.  Interviews will also be held in this location.

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 take place on 22 June, 2016 

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