Training by the trainee

  • 16th July 2015

Sarah is our Skills for the Future trainee on a 15 month placement here at Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service.  We introduced Sarah back in December 2014, and in April she blogged about the Infirmary Workshop she was creating, which went really well – but what else has she been up to?

This has been an exciting traineeship. It is far from over but some of my projects are coming to an end now, and I just handed in my last assignment for the postgraduate certificate at University of Worcester. So now seems a good time to look back, on what I have done and what I have learnt during my traineeship, especially my favourite bits when I get to pass on my knowledge to other people.

Sarah with the Reader Printer Guide she produced to help customers

At the archives I get to help customers, teach digital champions, conduct inductions for new users, and support volunteers.  I love helping customers with their enquiries and I even get to do little bits of research, as I learn more about the archives all the time.  I help on the Explore the Past desk when the original archive area is open, in the self-service area with inductions on the days the archives are closed, and by email when people contact us for help.  I have taught the Digitial Champions to use the microfilm printer, having written a guide to help people use. I always smile when customers are using my guide, because it’s nice to be helpful, even secretly.  And I have been supporting volunteers on a transcription project.  This is what I wrote about for my last assignment for our university course but the project will be ongoing probably until the end of my traineeship.  I recruited a group of volunteers then showed them how to transcribe the absent voters lists from 1918. These will be updated on the WAAS website when finished, but also available on

With the other trainees I have been attending university, sharing skills and organising an exhibition, and writing blogs about all my adventures. The university course has now come to an end, with our last assignment handed in at the end of June.  Outside of our university course and normal work duties, we also attend training, which includes the opportunity to train each other.  I have learnt about wrapping books for storage at the cathedral library, and evaluating an exhibition at the Worcester City Museum and Art Gallery.  Then I shared my skills at conservation work, showing the other trainees how to sew past and clean documents. Now we are working hard to organise an exhibition as part of the Worcester Festival.  This has been a great opportunity to find lots of lovely documents and show them off to the ladies from the WI. The exhibition will be in Reindeer Court in August and the documents the ladies chose will be on display in the hive, but also featured on future blog posts, so watch this space.

I am still enjoying my traineeship every day, and as you can see, by far my favourite tasks involve passing on my knowledge to other people.  I really don’t want the traineeship to end, but I hope when I find my next job I can find one where I still get to share my love of history and archives, and to help people do their own research.

By Sarah Ganderton

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