This post is by Jane Robinson, Head of Museum Development at MGS.
We have been talking to many colleagues in the sector over the last few weeks about our proposed Interns Programme. It seems many member representatives share our excitement about the opportunity to run the programme and to take part in HLF’s Skills for the Future initiative.
A lot of interest has focused on how the project aims for wider and longer-term benefits for the sector and its workforce. While the cohort of 20 new interns is at its heart, our project will provide participation opportunities for a wide range of people and member organisations to take part.
There will be opportunities for up to 20 member museums to host an intern for a year from September 2011 – 12. As a host, you will have to demonstrate you can provide an intern with a high quality skills development experience around collections, digital, learning and volunteer programmes. However, the museum managers we have spoken to see this as an excellent opportunity, the benefits of which include enriching the jobs of existing staff by supporting people to develop management and supervisory skills.
Many of those that have already joined our formal Member Support Group (which is helping us shape our plans) are people who see this as an excellent opportunity for CPD and growing a range of (largely transferable) skills. The good news here is that the MGS programme will include support and networking opportunities for supervisors. So we are very keen to encourage people who have not thought about this to do so in the run-up to applications being sought next spring.
The Member Support Group was also enthusiastic about our wish to specifically target and give preference to people from less affluent backgrounds. Currently a major bar to entry into the workforce from a more diverse population is the requirement to volunteer to even get a look in. While our programme won’t change anything overnight, it should be a step in the right direction.
The group also agreed with us that the skills areas we have identified around collections, digital, learning and volunteer programmes are the right ones for this programme. They felt we should allow internships that are, say, 50% collections and 50% digital or learning, but that it was best to keep volunteer management as a dedicated strand. Do other museum practitioners agree? We are keen to hear from you.