Getting Started

Most future archivists start off with an undergraduate degree, not necessarily in History. While they are studying, many volunteer at their university archive or a local records office. Some, but not all, future archivists then find a year of paid work in the sector, such as our Graduate Traineeship, before starting a formal professional qualification.

The Archives & Records Association (the principal professional body for archivists, records managers and conservators in the UK and Ireland) has a Careers section on its website. This includes information about careers in each of the three professions, summarising the skills required and the career path.

Graduate Trainee Programme

Our 12-month programme starts in August and gives a wide variety of experience to those intending to apply for one of the university courses in Archives and Records Management or Rare Books Librarianship on offer in the UK and Ireland. We will probably be advertising for 2019/20 in April 2019.

To apply you will need some experience in one of the archive, library or museum sectors, so that you have some understanding of what archive and special collections work involves.

Many other organisations provide voluntary and paid experience. The Archives & Records Association maintains a list of them, and opportunities are often publicised on the archives-nra jiscmail list (the UK discussion list for archivists, records managers and conservators) and the Scotarch jiscmail list (the Scottish list).


The University of Glasgow runs a postgraduate Diploma/MSc in Information Management & Preservation, which is approved by the Archives & Records Association and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). There are also courses at other universities in the UK and Ireland.

Continuing Professional Development

Modules of the above courses can also be taken by qualified professionals for CPD purposes.