Skills for Success is the fourth vocational learning programme run by Scotland’s national body for museum development. The Heritage Horizons Traineeship programme 2015-2016 provided the opportunity for non-graduates from a range of backgrounds to attain an SVQ level 3 vocational qualification in Museums and Galleries Practice alongside workplace learning during a 12-month paid placement in a host museum.

This year’s programme sees 20 learners take on entry level positions in Scotland’s museums and galleries, while a further two have been offered management positions. They will each receive a £15,000 bursary and will complete an SVQ level 3 qualification in Museums and Galleries Practice with the support of mentors, supervisors and assessors.

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Group photo – Museums Galleries Scotland’s Skills for Success trainees at the launch of the programme in Edinburgh

The trainees, who were chosen from 175 applicants, range from school leavers to experienced professionals with career backgrounds including hospitality, music and retail.

They will be based in museums from the Pier Arts Centre in Orkney to Hawick Museum in the Borders, and well as major visitor attractions like the National Museum of Scotland and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. They will work alongside professionals in their host museum or gallery to learn a range of core museum skills including digitising collections, learning and engagement, and volunteer management.

“We were very keen to participate in the programme which we hope will provide a new generation of museum professionals with important work experience in the sector,” said Sarah Bromage, Curator and Archivist at the University of Stirling. “We also anticipate that our Learner will bring a fresh new perspective to the work of the Art Collection and hope to learn from the experience and develop our way of working following the placement.”

From 2015 to 2016 20 trainees were given paid traineeships through a similar programme called Heritage Horizons, which saw them work with museum professionals to learn a wide range of core museum skills. Skills for Success will continue to offer alternative opportunities to people wanting to enter the sector via non-academic routes.

“The Skills for Success programme offers a flexible learning opportunity, a recognised qualification, and invaluable sector-based experience to our 22 exceptional learners,” said John McLeish, Interim CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland. “The programme represents an alternative route into the sector for those who have not attended university and is a key component of MGS’s commitment to diversifying Scotland’s museum workforce.”

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Skills for Success Participating Museums

  • Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums
  • The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders’ Museum
  • City of Edinburgh Council (working across City Art Centre/Lauriston Castle/Museum of Childhood/People’s Story Museum/Writers’ Museum/Museum of Edinburgh)
  • David Livingstone Centre
  • Dumfries and Galloway Council (working across Annan Museum/Dumfries Museum/Old Bridge House Museum/Robert Burns Centre, Robert Burns House)
  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
  • Gallery of Modern Art
  • The Open Museum, Glasgow Museums Resource Centre
  • Hawick Museum
  • Halliwell’s House Museum/Trimontium Museum
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • Hugh Miller’s Birthplace Cottage and Museum
  • Pier Arts Centre
  • Paisley Museum and Art Gallery
  • The Scottish Crannog Centre
  • Scottish Fisheries Museum
  • Scottish Maritime Museum
  • The Hunterian, University of Glasgow
  • University of Stirling