First archaeology apprentice in UK graduates from Cirencester College
By Sarah Wood
Chris Patterson was the first apprentice in the UK to complete the archaeological technician apprenticeship.
Launched in the autumn 2021, Cirencester College was the first and only training provider in the UK to offer the Level 3 archaeological technician apprenticeship, and Chris was the first apprentice to enrol on the course.
Cirencester College's experienced archaeology team worked in partnership with employers Albion Archaeology to offer the qualification, from which Chris will be graduating with top marks, after achieving distinction in all three elements of the end point assessment.
Designed by employers, the apprenticeship provides the highest level of training to enable apprentices to work on excavations and post-excavation analysis, all whilst gaining a thorough understanding of key periods of British archaeology.
Cirencester College now has its third cohort of archaeological technician apprentices, with more set to join in 2023.
Chris Patterson said: "This apprenticeship has been a truly life changing experience for me. Having come from a teaching background, it has given me the opportunity to gain new insights and skills in a profession that I never thought I would be able to join.
"Cirencester College has been a huge part of my training, giving me a broad historical chronology, as well as a good understanding of the principles of archaeology. This has given me a good grounding to further my own personal understanding as my career continues.
"I'm so grateful to have received a distinction for my apprenticeship, after working so hard for the last year. A large part of my success has come from the support of my colleagues at Albion Archaeology, Cirencester College and my fellow apprentices. I would urge anyone who is considering undertaking this apprenticeship to get your hands dirty, both literally and figuratively, and unearth the mysteries of the past!"
Jim Grant, Cirencester College principal, said "We are delighted that Chris is the first archaeology apprentice to graduate nationally. Like many sectors, archaeology is undergoing shortages of skilled fieldworkers, not least because of the vast number of development and infrastructure projects across the country.
"The apprenticeship was designed by employers to address this skills gap and to provide a technical route into archaeology outside universities. Chris has met the technical standards with flying colours and should be proud of being the first pioneer to come through this exciting new route."
Kathy Pilkinton, archaeological manager at Albion Archaeology, said: "Chris very quickly became a valued member of the team and we couldn't have asked for a better first-time apprentice. The apprenticeship has been a valuable experience for both Chris and our existing staff, whose training and support have contributed greatly to Chris' success.
"We're really pleased to say that Chris will be staying on at Albion now that he has completed his apprenticeship."
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