ARA Registration Scheme Workshop

In this Eventwatch post, Lara Nelson talks about her experiences at the Registration Scheme Workshop in February 2014.

On 16 February 2014, I attended the ARA Registration Scheme Workshop at the Library of Birmingham. This half-day workshop was aimed at candidates, referees, mentors and generally anyone interested in enrolling on the scheme or becoming a mentor.

As somebody that completed the Archives and Records Management course in 2013, and is coming towards the end of their first post as a qualified archivist, I wasn’t really sure when the best time would be for me to enrol on the registration scheme. This workshop helped me answer this query.

The workshop was led by Melinda Haunton, Secretary to the Registration Scheme, and Charlotte Berry, Representative of the Assessors of the Registration Scheme.


Examples of Registration paperwork.
Examples of Registration paperwork.

The session began by briefly looking at successful portfolios, to get a general idea of what the registration scheme involved and what kind of paperwork needed to be provided. This was really useful, as you could see immediately what was to be expected in order to pass the registration scheme.

Learning about the benefits of the registration scheme established what could be gained from this qualification, and how it would develop you as an archives professional. One reason that really stuck out was “encouraging you to be a reflective practitioner”.

Attending this workshop also established who could enroll onto the scheme, which is the following:

  • Can enroll as soon as you are qualified
  • Full personal membership of the Archives and Records Association is required
  • Need a mentor – who must be a registered member of the Archives and Records Association (list provided on the ‘Members Only’ section, of the Registration Scheme pages of the ARA website)
  • The scheme should cover between 3-10 years working full time in a relevant professional post or posts (full time meaning more than 28 hours a week)

It was useful to learn about the different development areas of the registration scheme, and what paperwork you needed to do for each of them. This involved all attendees of the workshop working through a learning outcome form. This was useful for encouraging you to think about gaps in your experience and skills, and how you would approach filling those gaps.

As a result of the Registration Scheme undergoing change, it was beneficial to hear about the developments that are in the pipeline. These include a framework for a career long continual professional development, so that archival professionals can continue to reflect on their practice even before or after they complete the registration scheme. Attendees of the workshop were also told that the last enrolments of the current scheme will be December 2014, and the final submissions October 2017. Thus those enrolling next year onwards will be completing the scheme through the period of when the registration scheme will be changing.

The ARA bursaries for registration candidates to attend training courses was also mentioned. Current courses being offered for digital preservation can cost up to £500.00, which employers may not be willing to pay. This makes the bursaries incredibly useful to apply for.

Attending this workshop also resulted in hearing other people’s queries about the Registration Scheme, which was really valuable. For example, some had experienced difficulty in finding a mentor, which led to the speakers suggesting that you ask your line manager or fellow colleagues for anyone mentoring that they may know of. The speakers also advised that having your current line manager as your mentor may not be the best choice, as an outsider’s perspective of the work you are completing may be more beneficial. Other queries involved what the deadlines for submitting the registration scheme would be if you were working part-time, or if you had career breaks or maternity leave. The speakers advised to speak to the registrar (currently Trish Phillips).

Both the workshop and speaking to those completing their registration scheme portfolio provided me with the following tips:

  1. Keep evidence as you go along (e.g. job descriptions, notes from events attended)
  2. Complete the credits over areas and time (don’t necessarily try and cram it into three years) – consider follow ups to a similar project completed for the second time to reflect how you have put into practice what you learnt before
  3. Break down large work achievements into smaller segments if asking for more than 1 credit
  4. Organise portfolio so that it is easier to read – proofread it
  5. Attend an ARA Blitz-it workshop when you have been working on your portfolio for a while

Information about the Registration Scheme can be found on the ARA website, along with examples of portfolios. I would definitely recommend attending a Registration workshop, as it is a good way of learning about the basics of the Registration Scheme, the top tips for submitting a successful portfolio, and meeting others currently completing their portfolio.

More information is available on the ARA Website
More information is available on the ARA Website

ARA Registration Scheme webpage:

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