Heritage OfficerJob Description:
Heritage officers support teams to take care of buildings, monuments and places valued for their cultural and historical importance.Job Category:
What you will do:
On a typical day you may:
- inspect historic buildings and monuments to assess work to be completed
- respond to queries and give advice to members of the public and organisations
- research information using archives, heritage legislation and conservation standards
- review building plans and engineering drawings
- attend public events and present project proposals
- write reports and produce project plans
- make sure work meets project deadlines, budgets and conservation standards
- communicate with conservation and planning officials
- give technical advice to teams working on conservation projects
- knowledge of building and construction
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
As well as:
To become a Heritage Officer, you’ll typically need a relevant degree in heritage management, archaeology, history, or a related field. However, specific subjects and skills can help you prepare for a career in heritage management and gain admission to relevant degree programs. Here are some recommended subjects and skills:
- History: history coursework can provide you with a foundational understanding of historical events, research methods, and the importance of preserving heritage.
- English Language and Literature: Strong reading, writing, and communication skills are essential for documenting and presenting historical and cultural information.
- Mathematics: While not directly related to heritage management, math skills are generally important for data analysis and budgeting, which can be relevant in this field.
- Geography: Geography can be useful for understanding the geographic context of historical sites and cultural heritage.
- Science: Depending on your specific interests within heritage management, knowledge of subjects like biology, chemistry, or geology may be beneficial.
- ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency in using computers and software for research, data management, and presentation is important.
- Foreign Languages: If you plan to work in an international context or with diverse cultural groups, learning foreign languages can be an asset.
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
There are lots of subjects that can be useful for a career in heritage. Examples include:
- cultural heritage studies
- building conservation
- Earth or natural sciences
A postgraduate qualification can give you an advantage when you’re looking for jobs. You could study subjects like:
- heritage management
- historic conservation
As well as a degree you’ll also need relevant work experience in the heritage sector. It’s important to look for internships and work experience opportunities while you study. Many people get into paid roles through volunteering at first.
You can start out by doing a historic environment advice assistant higher apprenticeship.
In the UK, English Heritage, Historic England and the National Trust are developing this route as an alternative to going to university. You would start off as a heritage trainee or technician.
You may also gain relevant skills from an Archivist and records manager degree apprenticeship.
You may be able to move into heritage officer work if you have relevant skills or experience in other professions. For example:
- construction project management
- local authority planning
- building surveying
Work experience and volunteering are really important for getting into this type of work. You can look for opportunities in the UK with organisations like:
- English Heritage
- Historic England
- National Trust
- The Heritage Alliance
You could try your local council as they may own historic buildings or sites. There may be opportunities in departments, such as planning or regeneration, where you could get useful experience.
In the UK, you can also search for private companies in the heritage sector through the Historic Environment Provider Service Recognition scheme. Some organisations have internship programmes to encourage people from black and minority ethnic communities to think about a career in heritage. For example Historic England summer placements.
You may be able to apply directly if you’ve got several years’ experience in a related industry like civil engineering, construction management, planning or conservation.
Working Hours and Environment:
Your typical working hours could be variable.
You could work in an office or visit sites.
Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and you may spend nights away from home.
Career Path & Progression:
With experience and continuous professional development you could become a heritage project manager, a senior inspector or heritage consultant.
To get promotion you may need to relocate to a new area or move between organisations in the public and private sector.
In the UK, there are lots of opportunities for in-service training through organisations like the Institute of Historic Building Conservation.