The International Council on Archives created the New Professionals Programme (NPP) to engage future leaders in the field of archives and records management, encouraging them to be active members of the organisation and committed professionals who will help to stimulate international engagement with professional communities in their own countries and around the world. The NPP also creates and shares resources, which support the international new professional community, and helps to create a network of new professionals around the globe.
The ICA considers anyone with less than five years of paid working experience a new professional and encourages them to take advantage of the communications and resources created as part of the NPP.
The NPP opens an annual call for applications for people to apply to become an ‘Active New Professional’ (Active NP).
What is an Active NP?
The Active NPs are provided with support, advice, and guidance throughout the year in which they are formally identified as active members of the NPP. In turn, the Active NPs give their time and knowledge to the NPP, helping to run social media accounts, give presentations, and develop a project that will support the broader new professional community.
The ICA supports Active NPs in the following ways:
- provides bursary funding to enable the Active NPs to attend an ICA Conference or Congress (hereafter referred to as the Conference) in the year in which they are Active NPs;
- coordinates opportunities for the Active NPs to participate in the Conference, including organising a session for the Active NPs to make a formal presentation together and inviting all Active NPs to participate in a networking lunch that includes new professionals and a range of representatives from the ICA community;
- pairs Active NPs with ‘Conference Buddies’ during the Conference, provide them with logistical support, advice, and guidance during the event;
- arranges meetings for the Active NPs with leaders in the archival profession and within the ICA to enable sharing of ideas and experiences;
- pairs the Active NPs with mentors who will provide professional support, advice and, guidance as the Active NPs establish themselves in their careers;
- supports the Active NPs to develop their own project or arrange participation in an existing ICA project;
- supports the Active NPs to develop and deliver a webinar as part of International Archives Week; and
- provides the technical infrastructure to enable the Active NPs to manage, maintain and expand a communications network, which is intended to support information sharing amongst the wider new professional archival community and the public.
Who runs the New Professionals Programme?
The NPP is a specific programme of the ICA’s Programme Commission (PCOM), to encourage and foster the development of new members of the archive's profession. The NPP is managed by a team of volunteers under the direction of the New Professionals Programme Coordinator (NPP Coordinator), with the support of the Coordinator for the Mentorship Programme, and the ICA’s Programme Officer.
The NPP Coordinator is a member of the ICA’s Extended Secretariat, reports to PCOM at its biannual meetings and works with the Vice President Programme to ensure the NPP also meets the goals of PCOM. PCOM members assist in the assessment process of the call for applications and can provide input into the NPP at any time.
The NPP Coordinator is the primary conduit for most NPP activity, assigning specific tasks to others as needed. The activities and duties of the NPP Coordinator include the following:
- organising and leading the application and assessment process of the NPP, including creating and reviewing associated guidelines, communications and activities;
- communicating with Active NPs to help them prepare the various aspects of their participation in the NPP and to help them get started with communications on social media;
- working with the Active NPs and the ICA’s Programme Officer to help with logistics and planning for the Conference, including coordinating the activities of the Active NPs, clarifying logistics, and planning for workshops, presentations, and other Conference events;
- organising all the necessary briefings and meetings for the Active NPs;
- being available to answer questions from Active NPs or help with any procedural issues or concerns;
- liaising with the Active NPs about the publication of their articles, written after the Conference and published on the ICA website, Flash or other appropriate publication; and
- working with the Active NPs to establish and plan their group project and supporting them to complete and share the outcomes.
Assisting the NPP Coordinator is the Coordinator for the Mentorship Programme, also a member of the ICA Extended Secretariat, who is the primary contact for issues directly related to relationships and activities between Conference Buddies or Mentors and Active NPs. Learn more about the Mentorship Programme within the NPP.
Also assisting the NPP Coordinator is the ICA’s Programme Officer who coordinates support from the ICA Secretariat and PCOM.
Volunteer and staff resources available within the ICA Secretariat and PCOM limit the NPP to having one cohort of Active NPs at a time.
History of the New Professionals Programme
The NPP developed out of a project known as the Flying Reporters initiative, launched at the 16th International Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2008. The Flying Reporters initiative aimed to create an international network of young professionals in the field of archives and records management. The last Flying Reporters group was deployed in 2012 at the Brisbane Congress.
Building on the Flying Reporters programme, the NPP was established in 2014 specifically to facilitate attendance by new professionals at the ICA’s Conferences and Congresses, and to continue to foster and support the international new professional’s archival community.
In 2014, three applicants received bursaries to attend the conference in Girona, Spain; in 2015, six applicants were selected to attend the conference in Reykjavik, Iceland; and in 2016, eight applicants were funded to attend the congress in Seoul, Korea.
After the Seoul Congress in 2016, it was decided to limit the number of bursaries each year to a maximum of six, in order to ensure adequate resources were available (both financial and in terms of the NPP Coordinator’s time) and to ensure the ICA could provide the best possible support for all Active NPs.
Since then, six applicants have been funded annually to participate in the NPP, and the outputs have been included on the New Professionals Projects page.