National Museums Scotland

Christine McLean and Jilly Burns , 16.07.2015
Bringing new skills to museums through paid internships
National Museums Scotland (NMS) has taken part in the Museums Galleries Scotland Skills for the Future internship and the Heritage Horizons traineeship programmes. Both offer one year of paid employment.

Karyn McGhee was hosted in the national and international partnerships department, where she had opportunities to take part in different areas of museum practice. An advantage of being in a large organisation was access to a large number of staff willing to share their expertise.

She worked with various teams across the organisation including learning and programmes and collections management. At the end of her internship McGhee successfully applied for the post of national and international partnerships officer at the National Museum of Scotland.

Sueve Mariner is a Heritage Horizons trainee with the community engagement team, where she has already contributed to a range of projects. She brings skills to the team from previous employment and also has the opportunity to enhance these and gain new experiences.  

Mariner is now working on developing her own projects with target audiences and is on track for receiving an SVQ in museum practice. The traineeship has cemented her goal of securing a career in the cultural sector and the opportunity to have work experience alongside gaining a qualification is providing a realistic insight.

Both programmes have also provided new experiences for the supervisors, involved who developed managerial skills. On completion participants have a portfolio of work that they can showcase to future employers, showing a commitment to continuing professional development.  

NMS and those involved have had a very positive experience of hosting interns and trainees. Both parties have been given the chance to learn new skills and gain new experiences. To other organisations considering working with similar programmes we would advise them to take on the challenge, remembering that you will gain as much as you put in.

Christine McLean is the community engagement manager and Jilly Burns is the head of national and international partnerships at NMS. With additional input from Jane Miller, the community engagement officer, Sueve Mariner, a Heritage Horizons trainee, and Karyn McGhee, the national and international partnerships officer

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