Professional development - Museums Association

Professional development

Professional development includes all the training, knowledge and skills required to be able to do a role effectively, efficiently and safely. It can include activities that contribute to career development and progression.

Museums are complex organisations with multiple functions and teams. Each has its own technical requirements and standards of practice, its own training and development needs and own career pathway.

Front-of-house roles are specialist roles in the same way that a conservator is a specialist role, the difference is the purpose of work, nothing else. The front-of-house function is a career choice in its own right and should be respected and valued in the same way.

For example, we should ensure:

  • A realistic and relevant induction programme is in place to deliver basic training, with refreshers planned over time
  • Opportunities to participate in training reflect operational requirements, for example bite-size sessions, online learning or closing sites for workforce training
  • Opportunities to participate in training are available within working hours, for example front-of-house colleagues should not be expected to participate in training without pay or time off in lieu
  • Professional development and career aspirations are explored during one-to-ones and appraisal processes
  • A transparent career pathway is in place within the front-of-house function, for example access to job descriptions for all roles within the hierarchy
  • For those that want it, information relating to career pathways for other functions and teams is available, for example opportunities to identify ‘transferable skills’ that support horizontal moves
  • Where applicable and possible, that there are opportunities for enrichment to meet professional development and career aspirations, for example micro-shadowing or opportunities for development that go beyond ‘customer service’, capitalising on the interest areas of staff
  • There are opportunities for developing relationships, for example networking and benchmarking opportunities – internally and externally

Colleagues choose front-of-house roles for a variety of reasons so it is important to remember to see individuals in their own right, with their own motivations, needs and expectations, rather than as a homogenous group.