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Evaluation of the HLF-funded Museums Galleries Scotland Internship Programme

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Read this external summative evaluation of the Museums Galleries Scotland Internship Programme 2011–2014 to find out how it was received. Discover the lessons learned from the programme and read recommendations for ensuring its wider impact and for the delivery of similar initiatives in future.

Funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Skills for the Future grant, our programme provided work-based training for 40 new entrants to the museums and galleries sector. We managed the programme and delivered it in partnership with 27 host organisations and 14 others in a support capacity.

Interns, supervisors, mentors and participating organisations all found the programme a positive experience – though not without its challenges. And overall it provided value for money, with most of the activity over and above what would have taken place without the grant.

Each intern spent one year on the programme and was awarded a bursary of £15,000 to cover their living costs. As well as being able to tap into a range of educational and training opportunities and resources, interns received supervision and mentorship.

Our Internship Programme had five aims – closely aligned with those of the HLF Skills for the Future initiative and also national strategy Going Further – and in large part, these were met. The programme had less of an impact on the wider sector than expected, however. But there’s significant potential to continue to share the learning and ensure a greater legacy.


  • Significant impacts – which have been overwhelmingly positive – were noted for the participating interns, organisations and MGS
  • MGS emphasised the importance of evaluation and feedback, and fixed initial teething problems as the programme progressed
  • A key aim was to challenge the view that postgraduate qualifications are vital for entry to the sector – which it has done so to some extent
  • Evidence clearly shows that the model developed is effective, and a high quality training programme is now available to others in the sector
  • Participating museums and galleries are capable of managing future internship programmes – though extra funding is likely to be needed
  • Critical to success were the: payment of an adequate bursary; structured learning framework; high quality and diverse training opportunities; MGS support
  • 90% of the original 20 interns and 60% of the second cohort of 20 interns have moved into related employment to date
  • The programme attracted high quality candidates, some of whom have been described as “future leaders in the sector”

Download the full report and infographic

Download Evaluation of the HLF MGS Internship Programme (PDF, 1MB) Download Infographic evaluation of MGS Interns programme (PDF, 3MB)
Published September 2015
Research Conducted By Blake Stevenson and Museums Galleries Scotland