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Skills & Confidence
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Focus On: Skills & Confidence

Each month we take a look at one of the ten priority areas of the strategy for Scotland’s museums and galleries.

This time we’re exploring the skills & confidence priority area of the strategy. This page is full of advice and resources to help you and your museum or gallery make progress on the strategy’s skills & confidence objectives.

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What is skills & confidence?

Scotland’s museums and galleries strategy includes the aim that the museum sector workforce will have equal access to skills development opportunities and be empowered to operate with ambition. 

You can read the skills & confidence priority area and actions in full on our strategy hub.

The strategy advocates for lifelong learning and continuous professional development to help people and organisations adapt to the evolving needs and ambitions of the sector.

Read through the resources below to find out how you can make progress towards the skills & confidence aims of the strategy.

In our 2022 Survey for Scotland’s Museums and Galleries, we asked about the training priorities of the workforce.

The most popular responses were: training on management roles and responsibilities; collections related training; health and safety; digital; customer service/front of house training; first-aid; and equality, diversity and inclusion.

An adult with light skin, short dark hair, a dark beard, and glasses holds a metal spearhead. They are wearing pale blue latex gloves.

Skills & confidence resources

Skills & confidence case studies

These museum case studies cover a range of topics including volunteer skills development, improvements to collections care, and the preservation of traditional crafts.

Advice topic: collections

Explore our peer-reviewed resources on how to acquire, store, care for, display, and dispose of collections.

Young Person’s Guarantee

Has your museum or gallery signed up to the Young Person’s Guarantee? This is a commitment to offer experience and opportunities to young people. It can help organisations to diversify their workforce and raise awareness of career options.

NMS training and guidance for museums

National Museums Scotland has online training and advice on a range of collections and engagement topics.

(Team) Work in Practice toolkit

This toolkit by Jerwood Arts will give you and your organisation the skills & confidence to become a more inclusive employer.

Connect and Activate

The Scottish Contemporary Art Network (SCAN) has recently published a toolkit advising museums on how to work with artists.

An adult with medium-dark skin, brown braided hair and a light blue jumper looks at art in the University of Stirling gallery. The artworks are all in various shades of blue.

MGS funding

The skills & confidence aims of Scotland’s museums and galleries strategy are reflected in our grants outcomes and expectations.

Funding applications must address one or more of our grants outcomes depending on the requirements of the fund. Projects may include objectives such as developing the skills and confidence of the museum workforce and improving the care and management of collections.

Read our grants outcomes and expectations in full here.

Modern Apprentices

MGS is now in its third year as an accredited provider of Digital Marketing and Museums Galleries Technician Modern Apprenticeships.

In September 2023, we issued a call-out for museums and galleries to host these apprenticeships: to find out more, please visit our Training Programmes section.

We’re very proud to be supporting Modern Apprentices. They provide vital routes into the museum sector and offer museums and galleries opportunities to diversify and develop their workforce for the future.

There are several annual events which aim to raise awareness of skills and confidence in the workforce.

March: Scottish Apprenticeship Week

June: Volunteers’ Week

August: #NoWrongPath

October: Creative Careers Week

November: Inclusive Employers Week Scotland

Equipment used for adding accession numbers to museum objects. This includes a jar holding brushes, pens, and scalpels; a cloth; latex gloves; large brushes; and a small glass bottle of clear fluid.

Subject Specialist Networks

Subject Specialist Networks (SSNs) cover everything from Rural Heritage to Contemporary Art, and have members from museums right across Scotland.

SSNs are a wonderful resource for raising awareness of subject-specific knowledge, for building peer support networks, and for developing the skills and confidence of those working with collections.

You don’t necessarily need to be a member of an SSN to access the knowledge of its members. Many SSNs have informative websites, and are happy to be contacted with queries about collections.

We have an advice page dedicated to Subject Specialist Networks. You can also learn more about SSNs and access support on the SSN Consortium website.

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Find out more

The ten priority areas of Scotland’s museums and galleries strategy are interconnected. Working on the skills & confidence aims of the strategy can also lead to progress in other areas such as financial resilience, Fair Work, and inclusion.

Next month, we’ll be focussing on the climate action priority area of the strategy. If you have any resources, case studies, or questions relating to the skills & confidence or climate action priority areas, please get in touch.

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