|Canterbury Archaeological Trust|
|Environment and energy|
|Medium-size business (50-249 employees)|
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A day in the life of a Project Manager in the United Kingdom
Archaeologist tend to be quite passionate about what they do and about protecting the historic environment. In general we all work hard and most tend to go over and above to get projects or tasks finished. No day is the same and you never stop learning.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
I work for a commercial archaeology unit
What do you do?
As a Project Manager I am responsible for setting up fieldwork projects, managing the field team, liaising with the client and archaeology curator, and managing the budget. I am responsible for ensuring that the project runs smoothly and to budget. I also write reports and contribute towards publications for fieldwork projects and oversee the post-excavation analysis of certain projects.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
I was fortunate to get the opportunity to 'have a go' at field archaeology after my A levels. I was hooked. I didn't realise it was a career option up to this point. Once I had gained some experience, I knew it was the career for me. I worked as a field archaeologist for several years before taking the MA course in Field Archaeology at York. Following my studies, I returned to fieldwork and have progressed to my current post.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
I had already worked in the sector, so I knew what to expect.
Describe your most memorable day at work
I start the day with a list of tasks which can range from arranging site welfare to having a meeting with the finds team or writing a report. The diversity keeps me motivated. Keeping the project running smoothly can be challenging but rewarding and its great when you can share the results of your fieldwork with the client, the curator and the public.
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
The work can be challenging on a number of levels. Sometimes the client may not be happy with the fact he/she has to pay for archaeology and I need to take a tactful approach. Often juggling the budget is challenging.
What’s your work environment and culture like?
I mainly work in the office now, with site visits principally for meetings with the client and curator. Personal protective clothing is a must for site visits. Archaeologist tend to be quite passionate about what they do and about protecting the historic environment. In general we all work hard and most tend to go over and above to get projects or tasks finished. No day is the same and you never stop learning.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
As part of my time at University I undertook a work placement with the City of York Archaeologist. This was extremely useful in gaining an understanding of the archaeology curatorial role.
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
If you want a career in commercial archaeology you may need to be prepared to travel around the country to get work intially. Long-term contracts when you are starting out are hard to come by. Having a driving licence is always a good asset. Be prepared to work in all weathers and through the winter. Overall be prepared to work hard and give things a go.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
Happy to answer anything relating to aspects of commercial archaeology
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Along the way, I have also spent time working with archaeological artefacts in a commercial archaeology setting and in a museum.
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