Bridging the Digital Gap project secures funding

The National Archives has received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to enable it to make a first step towards expanding digital expertise across the archive sector.

Awarded as part of the HLF’s Skills for the Future programme, this initial, Development Funding (£28,700) will help create a training plan in digital archival skills and also a recruitment strategy, designed to attract a broad range of candidates.

It is the first phase of an ambitious £749,300 total bid which will culminate (from 2018) in 24 digital traineeships, based in archives around England.

Last year’s cohort of Skills for the Future trainees at the DCDC conference

Last year’s cohort of Skills for the Future trainees at the DCDC conference

The programme will enable trainees to first learn and then drive forward the digital archive skills which are essential to the survival and promotion of our digital heritage. Digital is changing everything about archives from the material that needs to be preserved through to our methods of accessing records. Therefore this project aims to meet a real need to bring new, digital skills into archives. The project also aims to encourage applicants who may not have thought of working in heritage and to broaden the profile of the profession.

Supported by the Archives and Records Association (ARA) and the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), the project builds on the Transforming Archives programme currently run by The National Archives, and forms part of work to develop the workforce of the future.

John Sheridan, The National Archives Digital Director, said: ‘Working in archives is fundamentally changing as our core heritage material moves from being in analogue formats to digital. This presents huge challenges in the ways archives work.

However, the digital revolution is also a great opportunity for archives. Digital allows us to reach out in new ways, with a global scope, not limiting us to those who can physically visit us.

We are very grateful to be awarded this initial funding from the HLF in what was a highly competitive field of applications and we look forward to building on this to apply for the next phase.’

First launched in July 2009, Skills for the Future is an HLF grants programme supporting organisations across the UK to develop vocational learning programmes. It has awarded grants totalling £47m to enable high-quality work-based training and the development of new heritage career pathways and qualifications.

Tags: digital archives, news