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Celebration for award winning Skills for Success learning programme

Celebration for award winning Skills for Success learning programme

Today (18 September) 21 men and women celebrate the completion of life-changing vocational learning experiences in museums and galleries throughout Scotland.

The Skills for Success vocational training programme was created by Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) to open access to museum jobs. It has given paid, work-based experience and a recognised qualification to non-graduates from diverse backgrounds. The programme was made possible by a grant of £535,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Skills for Success is part of MGS’s ongoing work to diversify Scotland’s museum workforce. To make the opportunities accessible MGS worked with a wide range of partners including Capability Scotland and LGBT Youth Scotland to turn traditional recruitment processes on their head, recruiting based on personal qualities rather than qualifications or how financially able applicants have been to do unpaid work experience. In April, MGS picked up a Creative and Cultural Skills award for the innovative recruitment process.

Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland, said:

“Skills for Success has encouraged us to examine and challenge the link between the existing entry routes to museum jobs and the lack of diversity within the workforce. We are proud that this programme will have a positive impact on the future careers of our learners and while also helping to address the culture that can bring about inequality in the first place.

Congratulations to all our Skills for Success learners who have worked so hard and contributed so much in the last year. I wish them the very best for their future careers. I also have great admiration for the host museums who responded whole-heartedly to our invitation to play an active role in bringing positive change within our sector.”

Caroline Clark, Director of Scotland, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“This is a wonderful example of how, thanks to National Lottery players, we can support people in gaining important vocational skills, setting them up for a career in the cultural sector.  The innovative way MGS and its partners, such as Capability Scotland and LGBT+ Youth Scotland, worked together to recruit enthusiastic learners and support them through their life-changing skills training in museums across the country should be applauded.”

Some of the Skills for Success learners have already secured jobs in the heritage sector and others hope to continue to work in the sector, however the skills gained are transferrable and will support them on any career path.

The learners celebrated the end of the Skills for Success placements at an event at St Cecelia’s hall and Musical Instruments Museum in Edinburgh attended by Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop.

MGS is planning next steps in continuing the legacy of Skills for Success and will involve museums in the development of this important area of work. 


Skills for Success from Museums Galleries Scotland on Vimeo.



Ellen Pryde – Scottish Crannog Centre

Ellen began the Skills for Success programme as Engagement Trainee at the Scottish Crannog Centre, where her role included tour guide, marketing, and curating. During the year Ellen has gone from Trainee to Duty Manager and now that the programme has finished, she will continue to work at the Scottish Crannog Centre in marketing and engagement. Ellen worked in hospitality after leaving school and came to the Skills for Success programme having not previously worked in the museum sector.

“This has been a really good opportunity to find a career, rather than just a job. Usually people who work in this sort of career have been to university but bringing someone like me in is a fresh pair of eyes and a different perspective.

My favourite parts of the year were learning iron age tasks and working with great people. I feel like I’ve achieved quite a lot and I’ve done something quite valuable. I have a qualification now to back that up and I can tell people I have it to show all the work I’ve done over the past year.”


Elliot Melton - Scottish Maritime Museum

As part of the Skills for Success programme Elliot is the Learning and Access Trainee at the Scottish Maritime Museum. After completing the programme Elliot will continue working at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Visitor Services.

“I feel like I’ve been able to work upon myself and increase some of the skills I have, which I’ll be able to use in my future.

I’ve really enjoyed meeting new people and all my fellow trainees. One of my favourite things was going to different museums to see new things and how different museums are run, to gain that knowledge.

I definitely want to pursue an educational career. I know what I want to do and I know what I need to do. I feel like the programme has given me the drive and motivation to go get it.”

Sarah Leal - Glasgow Museums

Sarah is the Open Museum Outreach and Volunteering Trainee for Glasgow Museums. Sarah saw the Skills for Success programme as an opportunity of a lifetime as she did not previously work or study in the museum sector. After the programme finishes Sarah will take on the role of Learning Assistant at St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art.

“At the beginning it was really overwhelming but having such support from MGS and the Open Museum has been such a good opportunity to learn and become who I am today.

Having this opportunity for non-graduates has given me the accessibility to reach such jobs that are so interesting to me working with heritage and museums. I think now I completely feel the difference. It has given me the opportunity to be the person that I wanted to be.”

Published 18 September 2019