Since January 2015 the 20 MGS Heritage Horizons trainees have worked alongside professionals in museums and galleries across Scotland – from Orkney and Lewis and from Dundee to the Borders – to learn a wide range of core museum skills.
Heritage Horizons offers an alternative entry route into the museums and heritage sector and is funded by the HLF Skills for the Future project. Up to now candidates in Scotland for museum jobs usually required a university or post graduate degree but with this project a big impact has been made to the way the sector approaches workforce diversification.
Throughout the paid traineeships the students worked on projects such as digitising collections, volunteer management, community engagement and exhibitions curation. They have also worked to attain the new level three Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in Museums and Galleries Practice.
Joanne Orr, CEO of MGS said they now hopes that the combination of skills, experience and a vocational qualification will make the trainees attractive to future employers.
“The museum sector is a desirable profession and with good reason as it offers opportunities for interesting and rewarding careers,” said Orr. “Our Heritage Horizons traineeships programme has helped to address some of the barriers to working in the sector and the sector benefits from the trainees’ passion, experience and outlook. I wish our Heritage Horizons trainees well as they now embark on their future journeys.”
Sueve Mariner has been working as Community Engagement Trainee at National Museums Scotland for the last year. During this time she has developed the popular Magic Carpet storytelling session for families with English as a second language as well as working on multiple community projects from planning and development through to evaluation.
Early indicators, said Orr, were 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.
“Heritage Horizons Traineeship Programme has given me the opportunity to work in the Learning & Programmes department and gain a wide range of skills across the National Museum of Scotland,” said graduate Sueve Mariner. “I have particularly enjoyed learning about the museum’s vast collection and using this for project work and building partnerships with the community. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at the museum and look forward to future opportunities in the cultural sector.”
MGS is currently working with sector professionals and funding streams to evaluate the programme as well as develop the level three SVQ to make it more acceptable as an entry level route in to the sector.
Joanne Orr (Museums Galleries Scotland CEO), Fiona Hyslop MSP (Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs) and Sueve Mariner (Heritage Horizons trainee) at the celebration event for the Heritage Horizons programme in the National Museum of Scotland. Photograph by Rob McDougall