Fieldwork Graduate Trainee Programme (6 months)

Salary: £25,311 rising to £25,934 after 12 weeks

Oxford Archaeology is one of the largest independent archaeological practices in Europe. We have offices in Cambridge, Lancaster and Oxford and are a registered heritage charity. We are at the forefront of training the next generation of archaeologists, offering a full-time paid training programme for enthusiastic graduate archaeologists to gain commercial fieldwork experience.

By the end of the Graduate Trainee Pathway, our trainees are fully equipped with the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to become a Fieldwork Archaeologist. For more information on the training programme see here. 

What is the Fieldwork Graduate Trainee Pathway?

You will be trained in all aspects of a field archaeologist role, from excavation techniques to recording features and finds, all under the supervision of an experienced mentor. You will be predominantly working on open area excavations where you will be excavating and recording archaeological remains from all periods. The programme could take you anywhere in the country; we are currently running sites across a wide geographical area, including a project on the east coast. For sites further away from home, 7-day accommodation can be made available.  

Who is OA’s Fieldwork Graduate Trainee (GT) Pathway for?

Our programme is ideal for Graduates with a degree in archaeology, or a related discipline, and presupposes little in the way of archaeological fieldwork skills. You will learn all of this on site under the watchful eye of your experienced mentors. It also helps if you have a full clean driving licence and are based near or can relocate within a daily commutable distance of one of our offices.

How long is OA’s GT Pathway? What will I be paid and what length of contract will I have?

Our comprehensive Fieldwork Graduate Trainee Pathway lasts for 6 months and is split into two 12-week modules. You will be offered an initial 12-week contract starting on an annual salary of £25,311. Your progress will be regularly reviewed with scored milestones every six weeks to ensure you are on track for the next stage of the programme. When, after 12 weeks, you earn the scores required to pass onto the second half of the programme, you will be rewarded with a pay rise to £25,934. 

What will I learn on OA’s GT Pathway?

There are nine core Learning Goals in the programme: 

  • Health and safety, including manual handling
  • Recognition and understanding of context
  • Safe use of hand excavation tools 
  • OA recording systems (including our Digital Recording System and Webmap)
  • Producing accurate drawings
  • Basic survey methods
  • Artefact recognition
  • Environmental sampling
  • Site photography

What happens when I finish the GT Pathway?

Trainees who successfully complete the programme will be offered a full-time permanent contract as a Fieldwork Archaeologist, although this is subject to the availability of work.  You will also have attained the necessary experience to obtain PCIfA accreditation with CIfA.

Employee benefits:

  • Competitive, constantly benchmarked salary of £25,311, rising to £25,934.
  • A company pension scheme with 6% employer contributions. Employees with 10 years of employment or in project management roles gaining access to Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), which is one of the few remaining defined benefit schemes in the UK.
  • 21 days annual holiday allowance. Note that the allowance will be 50% of this as the training programme is 6 months long. There will be additional leave for any bank holidays that coincide with your period on the scheme, and OA operates an office shutdown over Christmas that will add 3 days of leave should your time on the scheme run through Christmas.
  • Subsistence payment of £22.50 per night (tax free) and free, single room accommodation (usually B&B or self-catering) for away-based projects.
  • 37.5-hour (basic) week with optional paid overtime at time and a half for hours in-excess of 37.5 hours Monday-Friday and on Saturdays, and double time on Sundays and bank holidays.
  • Paid travel time for journeys to site that take longer than one hour from the office and free transport from regional offices to sites. 
  • Free high quality personal protective equipment (inc. full breathable waterproofs, fleece etc). 
  • Comprehensive care for employee welfare through a number of policies, including: the AXA Health Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) Premier, generous paid sick leave, a network of mental health first aiders, and personal accident insurance. 
  • We pay 100% of CIfA subscription fees.
  • Cycle to work scheme. 

To apply

If you would like to enrol onto the training programme and be part of a friendly, respected, and established organisation, please apply by completing the application form below.

Closing Date:  31st July, 2024

Applications will be considered on receipt, and we are looking to make immediate appointments. 

Due to the anticipated high volume of interest, it may not be possible for us to respond to all applicants. If you have not heard from us four weeks after the closing date, please consider that your application has been unsuccessful in this instance. Oxford Archaeology is an Equal Opportunities employer. All applications are judged on the relevant skills and experience of the candidate, and not by gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, belief, age, nationality (other than where work permits may be required), or ethnicity. You must meet the requirements to live and work in the UK, as set out by UK Visa and Immigration - see

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