New museum and gallery apprenticeship to launch in England - Museums Association

New museum and gallery apprenticeship to launch in England

First formal training route for aspiring technicians in the heritage sector
Workforce
Francesca Collins
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The technician apprenticeship hopes to tackle a skills shortage in the sector
The technician apprenticeship hopes to tackle a skills shortage in the sector

Creative & Cultural Skills is to launch a new level 3 Museum and Gallery Technician Apprenticeship.

The apprenticeship will be available later in 2021, the first time a formal training route will be available for the occupation. The role is designed to tackle a longstanding skills shortage across the sector.

Museum technicians help to create permanent and temporary exhibitions and displays, also undertaking design, health and safety, collections management and administrative duties.

The development of the apprenticeship was facilitated by Creative & Cultural Skills, drawing on expertise from Cambridge University Museums, Birmingham Museums Trust and Crown Fine Art among others.

It will join extant apprenticeships in England, such as cultural learning and participation officer. Other apprenticeships for the sector are still being finalised, including curator and cultural registrar.

Training provider the Building Crafts College will support the delivery of the apprenticeship, with the first intake to be discussed with employers from September 2021. Building Crafts College, established in 1893 by the Carpenters’ Company, has a growing heritage department, with apprenticeships in heritage skills and a degree in historic building conservation.

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Sara Whybrew, director of policy and development at Creative & Cultural Skills, said: “The Museum and Gallery Technician Apprenticeship provides a new formal and dedicated technical training route for this occupation. The employers that helped create this are ensuring we can open access to jobs in the sector irrelevant of someone’s prior educational background, enabling individuals to earn whilst they learn.

“This apprenticeship also helps shine a light on a really important role in the museum and gallery sector that is rarely showcased or spoken about at school or as part of careers talks, going some way to amplifying the many hidden jobs across the cultural industries.

“We hope employers of all sizes will use this apprenticeship route, alongside others, to help our sector grow the diverse talent it needs for the future and help us all build back fairer post-Covid.”

In the UK, the implementation of the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017 has acted as a catalyst for the development of apprenticeships, where training costs can be offset by the levy.

Tamsin Russell, workforce development officer at the Museums Association, said: “I think for many apprenticeships are still associated with the ‘youth training schemes’ of the 1980s. Apprenticeships have come such a long way in recent years – expanding across sectors, increasing the number of roles and opportunities.

“For me, one of the most inclusive developments across England, Wales and Northern Ireland is the removal of ages restrictions for participation. This means that individuals who want to change careers or realise their ambition to work in the sector can access training and development in a real-life setting.”

Comments (2)

  1. Emma Heslewood says:

    Thank you to everyone involved in getting this across the line including the museums involved and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. More details of this apprenticeship standard can be found here, https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/apprenticeship-standards/museums-and-galleries-technician-v1-0

  2. Cliff Thomas says:

    I am extremely interested in this initiative as I consider it to be long overdue. We seem to be in an industry that has not until now fully considered the implication of future planning. Many of those of us who currently exist within this field of expertise are shall we say of advancing years and a way to encompass those skills before the opportunity slips by and to open up the possibilities for a younger generation is to be applauded. Certainly in the Museum(Museum of London) I work for our Exhibition and Display Technicians have quite a broad remit. There have been other approaches to this issue but it does need a specific nationally accepted standard that all museums and galleries can recognise, maybe not just here but abroad as well. Has any research been undertaken to see how other international museums and galleries approach this type of career? I have scanned through the link provided( not an in depth read I admit) by Emma and found it quite diverse in the coverage of functions anticipated for the apprenticeship – no bad thing as I feel the future of this field is better served by the flexibility of those technicians employed within it. I am interested in the approach envisaged for the practical delivery of several of the functions encompassed within the link as they can have quite specific training requirements and regulatory controls eg; hotworks skills for mount production and machinery training for production processes. There are of course others, and many come under the umbrella of HSE and CDM regulations. Any further information would be much appreciated.

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