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Our support for the Skills Investment Plan

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) have launched their latest Skills Investment Plan (SIP) which will provide a collective framework for collaboration, working towards growing provision, building capacity, attracting future talent, improving access, and fostering innovation. Our Senior Skills Development Manager, John Campbell, writes about how we’re responding to this new plan here at Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS).

Two adults with light skin and dark clothing stand at a blue trolley situated in a narrow hallway next to a long row of shelving units. One of the adults holds a brown ceramic object in their hands.

We were delighted to be invited by Historic Environment Scotland to be the lead partner for the Museums and Galleries sector during the consultation period for this new skills investment plan. Having a collaborative focus on skills development across heritage in Scotland helps everyone address skills gaps and focus on the skills they need to gain for long term sustainability.

Our sector is experiencing a changing landscape of challenges and opportunities. Addressing those is fundamental to The Strategy for Scotland’s Museums and Galleries 2023 – 2030. The strategy’s three strands help our museums and galleries to be thriving, connected, and resilient organisations which are agile in embracing change. Workforce is one these three strands and we welcome the clear alignment with the areas of focus named in the SIP. This continues to strengthen the links between Scotland’s Museums and Galleries Strategy and Our Past Our Future. Collaboration on the delivery of SIP will be essential and MGS is already looking at how our existing workforce development programmes address these common skills issues so we might share our experience.

Many of the skills gaps highlighted in the SIP are areas we are already working on: this includes strong sector leadership, attracting future talent, creating inclusive progressive pathways, and developing skills to address the climate crisis. These are vital to ensure that everyone in our sector has the right skills, experience, and qualifications for their roles. Scotland’s Museums and Galleries Strategy encourages lifelong learning and continuous professional development to help people and organisations adapt to the evolving needs and ambitions of the sector. We recognise the value in all 11 areas of focus in the SIP.

Four adults with light skin smile and engage in conversation while seated at a work bench. The workbench is covered in tools, plans, and blocks of wood.

This is an exciting time for workforce development. MGS has a clear strategic vision for this area and has a coordinated approach to addressing workforce challenges.

Our approach includes Carbon Literacy for Scotland’s Museums and Galleries, an exciting new training programme which will launch in Summer 2024​. The training teaches participants:​

The Delivering Change programme, funded through the National Lottery, begins delivery this year. By providing extensive training in anti-oppression, it will enable the organisational level, sustainable change that is needed to make museums accessible to all that have previously experienced systemic exclusion. This programme will run until early 2027.

Our commitment to attracting future talent and developing inclusive, progressive pathways is delivered through our Modern Apprentices Programmes. Our SQA accredited training centre is now able to deliver across three frameworks: Museums Galleries Technician, Digital Marketing, and our new framework of Management which we have added to our portfolio of vocational training opportunities. The response to our Apprenticeships has been overwhelmingly positive from everyone involved.

MGS supports a range of Modern Apprentices in museums and galleries.

Finally, we are also launching our Resilient Heritage: Business Modules in the summer of 2024. The modules designed as an accessible, free, online resource for those working and volunteering in the sector. The modules cover topics such as:

The modules serve as a legacy for our hugely successful Business Support Programme that finished at the end of 2023.

We’re positive about the future of workforce development and partnerships in our sector and excited at the prospect of continuing to work with the Skills and Expertise Group to govern the delivery of the SIP. Together we will drive for results through its identified framework of pillars and priorities and measure outcomes and impacts through the actions and objectives laid out in the plan.

Find out more about the Skills Investment Plan

Visit the Historic Environment Scotland website