Hi, it's Nick here, Skills for the Future programme manager. As we prepare to re-open the Skills programme for a third round of funding later this year, I wanted to take a moment to pull together a summary of what the Skills for the Future programme is, and what it has achieved to date.
As well as reflecting on past projects, I hope this will help inform future project applications.
Skills for the Future background
We launched the Skills for the Future programme in 2009, planning it originally as a one-off initiative to support the creation and provision of work-based training opportunities within the heritage sector. The programme was a strategic response to the impact of the recession, designed to put the heritage sector in a stronger position for recovery. We recognised the need for targeted employer-led training to deliver what are sometimes niche skills needed by relatively small numbers of people in the heritage economy. The Skills for the Future programme built on the successful delivery of our smaller-scale Training Bursaries programme, focused entirely on conservation skills and launched in 2005-06.
In addition to delivering benefits to individual trainees and heritage employers, Skills for the Future seeks to build and share knowledge about vocational training in the sector and to play a role in attracting new people into the heritage workforce.
Skills for the Future is not a job creation programme but rather is intended to:
- fund high quality work-based training opportunities to equip people with the skills to pursue a career in heritage;
- meet identified skills shortages and gaps in the heritage sector;
- enhance the capacity of the heritage sector to deliver sustainable training and share good practice; and
- increase the diversity of the heritage workforce.
Essentially, the programme funds the development of new training programmes and progression routes, and bursaries for trainees. Our investment helps cover some of the financial costs incurred by heritage employers, a significant number of which are small businesses and/or subject to financial restraint, and seeks to broaden access to heritage training.
Grants were awarded to 93 Skills for the Future projects in two rounds between 2010 and 2014. Our total investment in the programme to date is £47m. Representing all parts of the heritage industry, grantees have developed bespoke new training programmes and in time will deliver over 2100 paid placements, usually of 12 months or more. As of February 2016, 40 projects have completed. Over 1,700 trainees have been recruited and nearly 1,300 trainees have finished their placement.
Over recent years we have commissioned a range of evaluation reports to capture the impact of Skills for the Future and to help inform our trustees’ decisions about the future of the programme. We are in the process of publishing these reports and they can be found here.