Job Profile

Archives Assistant
Name Archives Assistant
Or Assistant Archivist. They’re one and the same, right? Not exactly! An archive assistant can be the first rung on the ladder to becoming an archivist, usually undertaking a professional qualification on route. Whereas, an assistant archivist is usually your first job after qualifying as an archivist.
Entry for archive assistant posts is very competitive. Many promising archivists seek relevant experience to beef up their CV, and archive collections (repositories) welcome volunteers. Although vital for self-promotion, it’s not the most glamorous of jobs. But can provide a vital foot in the door. Expect to get your hands dirty, shifting boxes around, scanning documents and all sorts of other manual stuff. And we should warn you, trainee positions are not always paid.
The Archives and Records Association has a list of employers who offer work experience placements, both formal paid employment and unpaid volunteering opportunities. 
Key Responsibilites


  • Directing and assisting all users with their enquiries and research in the public search room
  • Responding to telephone, e-mail and written requests from researchers and members of the public
  • Assisting with the care and preservation of archive collections and maintaining good order in the strong rooms.
  • Assist with cataloguing related activities such as numbering andlisting of documents and with inputting of data into databases
  • Supporting the development and maintenance of digital resources, including handling, scanning and digital manipulation
  • Locating the required archives in response to requests
  • Preparing presentations, displays and exhibits and giving talks to special interest groups
  • Producing teaching materials 
Starting salary
Pre-qualification salaries are typically around £17,000.
Potential earnings
The Archives and Records Association recommend that the minimum salary paid to recently qualified archivists should be £21,937. Could potentially reach £35,000 for qualified and experienced assistant archivists.
Entry requirements
Basic literacy and numeracy skills although ‘trainee’ posts will require a degree
Essential skills
Employers themselves look for good communicators that can relate well to people. You need to be good presenters and confident talking to groups of people. Logical, flexible and forward thinking are another must. 
Professional qualifications
There are a number of postgraduate courses in archives administration and records management, including entry-level qualifications for people new to the profession, as well as full-time Masters and distance learning courses.
A list of qualifications recognised by the Archives and Records Association is published and updated on their website Currently, courses are available at:
·         University College London
·         University of Northumbria at Newcastle
·         University of Wales, Aberystwyth
·         University of Liverpool
·         University of Dundee
·         University College Dublin
·         University of Glasgow
Apprenticehips are available in England and Wales
Promotional prospects
  • Senior Archive Assistant
  • Assistant Archivist
  • Archivist
  • Records Manager