Why do I need work experience?

Work experience is a key component of professional archaeological training. You simply can’t get all the skills you need to be a practicing archaeologist at university. Practical experience, in offices and laboratories and on field surveys and excavations, is essential to help develop your archaeological and cultural heritage skills. Most work experience is undertaken on a voluntary basis.

Work experience normally takes one of three forms:

  • as part of an accredited university course
  • as an adjunct to formal study, but not for credit
  • for experience and interest, but not related to study

How do I get work experience?

Most work experience is organised directly between the people seeking the experience and those organisations able to provide it. But it is not always easy to know where to start off! To help out, we have developed the Register of Work Experience Partners which lists leading companies in archaeological- and heritage-related work in Australia and who are willing to consider placing people in their organisations to gain work experience.

How do I work out the details?

The first step is to think about what sort of experience you would like. Opportunities could range from one-off field or laboratory activities to regular ongoing office duties.

The second step is to browse the list of businesses in the Register below to get an idea of what work each undertakes and choose ones to approach that match your interests.

The third step is to make contact with these businesses directly by email, telephone or post. You should make sure you tell them that you got their contact details from the Register of Work Experience Partners and the type of work experience you are interested in obtaining and an indication of your availability. For example, you might think of doing work experience in holiday periods when you are more flexible or putting aside a regular day a week around your other commitments. You should also provide details of your previous studies, training and work experience along with your contact details. This could be done by including a resume or curriculum vitae.

Please note that there is no obligation for businesses listed on the Register to accept applicants. Work experience placements often require considerable mentoring which may not be possible during busy periods. Different businesses will have different opportunities available throughout the year. Sometimes you might be offered work experience on a particular project.

The Register of Work Experience Partners is an initiative of the Australian National Committee for Archaeology Teaching and Learning (ANCATL). ANCATL was formed in 2002 by the Australian Archaeological Association (AAA), Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology (ASHA), Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology (AIMA) and Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc. (AACAI) to provide a forum for discussion of teaching and learning and related issues of broad concern to Australian archaeologists. A key role of ANCATL is to provide a conduit for involving different archaeological stakeholders in the identification of issues and problems in archaeological training and implementing strategies to address these.

The AAA Register of Work Experience Providers

The AAA maintains a register of Work Experience Providers at:

We are always looking for more organisations to add their name to our list. Please contact us if you have such an opportunity!

If you are looking for work experience opportunities then our register is a good place to start.