In the UK, increased levels of developer funding has led to increased demand for archaeological fieldworkers, the producers of the primary data upon which all archaeological work and research depends. But archaeologists entering the profession are underskilled - while increasing numbers of students are receiving archaeological degrees, recent graduates do not have the levels of practical knowledge that are required to work on major projects. This skills shortage is not restricted to junior fieldstaff. Throughout the profession there is a lack of structured vocational learning, and training is undervalued both by organisations and individuals. This article discusses archaeologists' engagement with the challenge of creating a skilled archaeological profession in the UK.