A programme to address inequalities in educational and employment opportunities in the museum sector reached a major milestone as the men and women taking part in Scotland’s first museum traineeship programme for non-graduates completed their yearlong placements.
Up to now candidates for museum jobs usually required a university or post graduate degree but Museums Galleries Scotland’s trainee-ships programme, Heritage Horizons, offers an alternative entry route.
One year on since it started, the Heritage Lottery Fund Skills for the Future funded project has had a big impact on the trainees, the host museums and on the way the sector approaches workforce diversification.
Since January 2015 the Heritage Horizons trainees have worked alongside professionals in museums and galleries across Scotland to learn a wide range of core museum skills.
The trainees have also worked to attain the new level three Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in Museums and Galleries Practice.
Museums Galleries Scotland hopes that the combination of skills, experience and a vocational qualification will make the trainees attractive to future employers. Early indicators are positive and demonstrate that the trainees are being considered as serious candidates by the museum sector by already securing jobs and interviews for museum roles.
Anna Mackenzie and Maree Hoy have taken on the role of Exhibitions and Events Trainees with Isle of Lewis Council for the last year.
During their paid trainee-ships they have played an invaluable role in the Councils preparations for the new museum.
They have also participated in a wide range of activities including conservation, archives, outreach and learning activities, customer services, monitoring and evaluation, enquiries and working with the Comainn Eachdraidh (the Historical societies) that will provide a solid base of skills and knowledge applicable to all areas of work in the heritage sector.
Anna Mackenzie said: “In doing the traineeship it has given me the confidence in working in an office and museum space. It was a great experience to be opportunity to be involved in the new museum.”
Maree Hoy said: “I was completely new to the heritage sector when I started my traineeship. The team at Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean team were very welcoming and assisted me greatly by providing me with the diverse skills, knowledge and expertise they each possess.”
Trish Botten, Principle Officer of Cultural and Information Services at Isle of Lewis Council said: “It was refreshing to get the opportunity to work with the Heritage Horizon trainees and to encourage them to use their previous skills in a new heritage context – it challenges the status quo and encourages everyone to re-assess ways of doing things and assumptions.
“Their progress was remarkable as they took on new skills, knowledge and experience – and applied this new knowledge to the new tasks in hand. It really demonstrates the need for and the success of a programme such as the Heritage Horizon Trainees, and we wish Anna and Maree all the best for their future careers.”