My name is Tasnim and my Kickstart placement took place at the University of Huddersfield.
I worked for 6 months in Heritage Quay which is the University’s archive service that sits in the Computing and Library Services department.
The Kickstart scheme was put in place by the government to help non-working people get into permanent work. This applies to people that have been out of work for a while and find it difficult to get back in or have come out of education, much like myself. I graduated in 2019 and found it difficult to find work as I had no work experience, I had only ever been in education. The Kickstart scheme’s aim is to build up and enhance one’s skills and work experience. Towards the end of the placement you will have all the tools you need to look and apply for jobs. I have come towards the end of my placement and have successfully secured a permanent job: I can say with confidence that the Kickstart scheme works.
I didn’t really know what an archive was when I first applied for the job. The best way to explain this is to tell you the difference between an archive and a library: a library’s contents can easily be replaced and they can hold several of the same item but the contents of an archive are unique and one of a kind.
My job title was ‘Collections Assistant’ and I worked alongside the Archive Assistants. It was a very small team of staff when I started so I was very busy with lots of tasks to do. Usually when anyone starts a new job its normal to get nervous but surprisingly this time I did not: I felt extremely comfortable. To begin with, I would shadow the Archive Assistants and watch how they went about completing tasks then I would put it into practice myself. My main duty was customer service as I greeted members of the public who booked an appointment to look at archive material in the public Research Room. I supervised them to make sure they were abiding by the Research Room rules such as no eating or drinking and only writing with pencils. I took on other tasks such as repackaging items in the Society for the Promotion of New Music (SPNM) archive. I took out items from their old packaging and put them in new packaging which was made from special materials that would protect the paper archive materials kept inside. I also undertook training for a digital customer enquiry system which gave me the experience of conversing with customers online.
My favourite part about working in Heritage Quay was exploring and learning about the collections. Some collections piqued my interest such as The Wesley Historical Society (WHS) and the John Lancaster Christadelphians Library (CHL) because reading about different religions such as Methodist and Christadelphian is one of my favourite hobbies. Exploring these archives made me wonder what intriguing one-of-a-kind material other archives in other institutions may possess.
This role at Heritage Quay enabled me to develop my communication skills with staff and the public as well as my teamworking and administration skills which assisted me in getting my new role. It has enhanced my confidence in the workplace and I look forward to starting my new job very soon!