Research Benchmarking Competence Requirements Benchmarking Competence Requirements The Benchmarking Competence Requirements study published in 2009 looked at what makes someone a competent maritime archaeologist and made recommendations for how to make competency of skills the key for future participation in maritime archaeology in the UK. What is competence? The Nautical Archaeology Society has now published its study into what makes someone a competent maritime archaeologist and has made recommendations for how to make competency of skills the key for future participation in maritime archaeology in the UK. Two years in the making, and commissioned by English Heritage, the project has been undertaken to relate archaeological skills training to standards. The research was designed to identify the range and level of skills required in maritime archaeology, define competencies, identify and define how ‘fit-for-purpose’ training is developed in order to meet those standards, and to determine how sufficient opportunities can be provided to both gain and maintain competencies. Input into the study was sought from a variety of individuals and key stakeholder organisations interested in maritime archaeology, education, training and standards, with workshops held in Edinburgh, London and Plymouth in 2008. The consultation focused on the needs of employers’ and the public interest for specific competencies. The study also used four practitioner case studies to assess whether the UK National Occupational Standards for Archaeology and the National Vocational Qualification in Archaeological Practice are appropriate mechanisms for validation of practitioner competency in maritime archaeology. Finally the study was supplemented by an online survey questionnaire designed to inform the consultation. The recommendations in the report included: Promotion and support for UK National Occupational Standards for Archaeology Encouraging the use of the National Vocational Qualification in Archaeological Practice Creation of a competency scheme to allow verification of practitioners abilities Creation of standards for peer reviewing of archaeological work Future use of the European Qualification Framework to harmonise training standards Need to increase practitioners abilities to work on and understand submerged landscapes and industrial archaeological remains A training strategy that incorporates skills acquisition via short course attendance and increasing opportunities for experience and mentoring for practitioners through collaborative long term research driven training projects to help bridge the gap between academic education and vocational skills training. Mark Beattie-Edwards, CEO with the Nautical Archaeology Society said that “It is great to be able to release the results of the benchmarking study, which we hope will contribute to the development of coordinated training provision for maritime archaeologists, encompassing the aspirations and needs of both professional and avocational archaeologist. However the important next step is to act swiftly and put forward proposals to the government’s heritage agencies to act on these recommendations”. Ian Oxley, Head of Maritime Archaeology at English Heritage at the time of publication said “This innovative project has helped to define the training and knowledge requirements of a maritime archaeologist, building on earlier work commissioned by English Heritage. With this information, we shall be able to devise training strategies to ensure the development and continuation of appropriate expertise for the future, particularly with respect to continued exploitation and interest in our seas.” The full report can be downloaded here.