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Home > News > February 2006 > 15-Feb-2006

Libraries and archives staff get training review

A major review of the skills needs of staff working in libraries, archives and information services gets underway this month.

Employers and stakeholders will discuss requirements at a series of meetings across the UK with the aim of creating a new generation of qualifications based on nationally-agreed occupational standards.

The review, organised by Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) with the support of other bodies, starts with a consultation event in Brighton on February 14. A total of fourteen meetings are planned across the UK.

An estimated 100,000 people work in libraries, archives and information services. According to LLUK, much of the training currently on offer is geared towards graduates studying for professional qualifications with fewer opportunities for front-line staff who have day-to-day contact with the public.

Peter Ramsden, who is managing the review for LLUK, said better training and development would help to make a career in libraries, archives and information services increasingly attractive by providing more opportunities for progression.

"We are looking to develop a new generation of integrated standards and qualifications, not just to update the existing frameworks," he said. "With the forthcoming reforms of vocational qualifications there are new opportunities to design more flexible qualifications that respond both to the needs of employers looking to develop the skills of their staff, and to individuals looking to progress their careers."

The review will include a look at apprenticeships and foundation degrees to see if these are appropriate qualification models for the sector. "We have an ageing workforce and need to encourage more young people from more diverse backgrounds to see a career in libraries, archives and information services as a career of first choice. Improving entry and progression opportunities, together with the offer of new vocational qualifications is a fundamental part of our strategy as a sector skills council," he added.

Discussions with Museums, Libraries and Archives Wales (CyMAL), the Scottish Library and Information Council and the Library and Information Services Council of Northern Ireland have paved the way for the series of events. In England, the consultation events are being run in partnership with the regional Museums, Libraries and Archives Councils.

LLUK says that depending on the trials of new vocational qualification frameworks that begin later this year, awarding bodies may be able to offer new qualifications based on the new standards from 2007.

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