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Skills for Success programme launches

Trainees, hosts and mentors all gather for City Art Centre launch

Skills for Success trainees

Placements with museums all across Scotland

Non-graduates begin their learning journey into the heritage sector

Today 22 non-graduates from a wide range of backgrounds celebrated the start of their one-year paid learning placements in museums and galleries throughout Scotland. The successful candidates and their host museums and mentors gathered together for the launch of the Skills for Success programme, held at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh.

The Skills for Success programme, funded by The National Lottery and coordinated by Museums Galleries Scotland, addresses the lack of accessible entry routes into museum jobs by offering opportunities for non-graduates from diverse backgrounds. 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.

The placements were competitive, with 175 applicants from all over Scotland vying for just 22 positions. The innovative application process involved a video submission, followed by assessment days where candidates were scored on personal qualities such as teamwork, enthusiasm, and passion for the sector. Successful candidates range from school leavers to experienced professionals with backgrounds in hospitality, music, retail and more.

The trainees will be based in museums spanning 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. 

Sarah Bromage, Curator and Archivist at the University of Stirling, said:

“We are delighted to be participating in Skills for Success and to have the opportunity to host a Learner to assist us in developing our online catalogue.  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.  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.”

John McLeish, Interim CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland, said:

“The Skills for Success programme offers a flexible learning opportunity, a recognised qualification, and invaluable sector-based experience to our 22 exceptional learners. 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.

I’d like to congratulate the successful candidates on their appointment to the Skills for Success programme and wish them the very best for the year ahead.”

Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said:

“This is an exciting day as we see these trainees embark on a career path which has generally only been open to graduates. Thanks to funding from the National Lottery, they will get to chance to develop a passion into a career making a huge difference to their own lives while playing an important role in the future of Scotland’s heritage treasures.”

Full List of Host Organisations

  • 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
Published 13 September 2018