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University lands dream archaeology placement in South Africa

22 August 13

Rachel Holgate is to further her dream career in the archaeology field by joining a well-established research team in South Africa.

The Essex-born student graduated from the University of Bradford with a BSc in Bioarchaeology in 2012 and is completing her MSc in Human Osteology and Palaeopathology in September 2013.

Establishing an early interest in archaeology, Rachel took little time to decide which course and university was for her. She said: “The quality of teaching at Bradford is outstanding due to the ground-breaking research that lecturers carry out, while the learning materials available to students are equally excellent.”

However it was the experience gained through work placements organised by the University that have most influenced Rachel’s career path, resulting in her new position at the University of Pretoria. The work placement programme is a key part of the University of Bradford’s career-oriented approach to higher education. The opportunity to gain real world experience has proven crucial to Rachel’s further progression.

She added: “The skills I was able to develop whilst on placement give me an edge in the competitive jobs market. It is a demonstration to employers that I have a passion for my subject and the competency to perform highly in the field.”

Rachel’s year in industry was divided between two placements; the first three months taking place at Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery and the subsequent nine months at the University of Bradford’s Biological Anthropology Research Centre (BARC). In both instances Rachel was able to develop her analytical and archiving skills, but it was her supervisor at the University that proved to be the crucial contact in securing the invaluable experience in South Africa.

Dr Jo Buckberry, lecturer in Biological Anthropology at the University of Bradford, said of her time supervising Rachel: “The placement year was hugely beneficial to Rachel – she developed her organisation skills as well as her passion for the analysis of human remains. When Rachel said she was moving to South Africa and looking for work experience after her Masters, I immediately contacted Dr Ericka L’Abbé, a professional contact at the University of Pretoria.”

As for Rachel’s future career progression, Dr Buckberry has every faith that her success will continue. She said: “Rachel is perfectly placed to work in Ericka’s team as they continue to catalogue their outstanding collection of human remains.”

22 August 13

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