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Find something you love, find other people who love it too, volunteer, research and above all engage with it.
Zoe Arthurs, History and Heritage Graduate University of Chester Shrewsbury Campus

The way you choose to manage your time and resources can have a huge impact on the enjoyment and quality of your research at university: Find something you love, find other people who love it too, volunteer, research and above all engage with it.

The University Centre Shrewsbury helped me do this and more. If you are motivated and you want an exceptional learning experience, the History and Heritage Department at UCS can help you.

Through a series of volunteer opportunities from Archives to Archaeology, and modules built around site visits and contemporary legislation, I was able to develop my own professional practice, get my name out there and subsequently earn some great roles within the heritage industry. I am now a Trustee and Board Member of the Association for Industrial Archaeology, and in full-time employment as a Heritage Management Archaeologist less than 40 minutes from Shrewsbury.

My post-graduate dissertation was specific to my area of interest, Industrial Heritage. I wanted to look at how macro events both nationally and internationally were impacting the sustainability of industrial heritage in the UK, and I wanted to make actionable recommendations on how to make the sector more sustainable. Not only this, I wanted to put myself in a position to act on these suggestions. UCS supported and enabled this through mentorship, contacts and introductions and facilitating unique placements based on my area of interest. Through UCS, I was able to arrange a placement at the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust Archives in the historic town of Coalbrookdale, Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Here, I was able to work alongside the Trust Archaeologist, and was given access to archives and the huge portfolio of buildings for research. It’s this type of real-life impactful work that developed my knowledge and confidence and introduced me to many other professionals who were interested in similar subjects.

My advice for students coming into history, heritage or archaeology is simple: Get yourself known. Curate a professional online profile, use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to showcase your hobby, your knowledge and your studies. Connect with people in your field, they could be your future boss (or perhaps you could be theirs). Seek opportunities, and when they come along grab them with both hands. If there is a job you want, go for it even if you think you won’t get it, because eventually you will.

If you need help or advice on how to create an outstanding social media presence, there is plenty of free advice from UCS, or for subject-specific topics then contact the appropriate Youth Board, they will be happy to help. At the Young Members Board for the Association for Industrial Archaeology we offer free mentorship and advice to anyone who wants it regardless of age and specialism. Get in touch with us on Twitter @AIA_YMB!