Skills for the Future Summary

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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.

View Nick Randell's profile Nick Randell Feb 18 2016 - 2:12pm
  1. Skills for the Future projects which have completed. 

    Those with a focus on skills relating to historic buildings:

    Those with a focus on skills relating to Industrial, Maritime and Transport heritage:

    Those with a focus on skills relating to nature and biodiversity:

    • Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Marine heritage skills for placements. Grant of £294,100. 12 placements.
    • North of England Zoological Society, Biodiversity Trainees. Grant of £269,100. 12 placements
    • North Pennines AONB Partnership, Heritage Landscape Skills. Grant of £165,500. 13 placements
    • Peterborough Environment City Trust, Closing the gap, turning theory into practical application. Grant of £355,900. 17 placements
    • Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Heritage Grazing. Grant of £260,100. 22 placements
    • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), RSPB Nature Counts. Grant of £599,800. 27 placements
    • Scottish Wildlife Trust, Developing Ecological Surveying Skills. Grant of £666,800. 20 placements
    • Sheffield Wildlife Trust, Skills for wildlife: conservation traineeships for young people. Grant of £681,600. 31 placements
    • Trees for Cities, Growing Skills Project. Grant of £226,900. 24 placements
    • TCV Scotland, Natural Communities Programme. Grant of £733,800. 35 placements
    • Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, A Wild Career Choice. Grant of £575,100. 30 placements
    • Wildwood Trust, Heritage skills at Wildwood. Grant of £273,900. 20 placements

    Those with a focus on skills relating to Museums, Libraries and Archives and oral history:

    • Ashmolean Museum, Keeping Heritage Alive! Grant of £547,400. 16 placements
    • Birmingham Museum Trust, Natural history knowledge, social history skills and other curatorial trainees. Grant of £398,000. 16 Placements
    • Bristol Natural History Consortium, Southwest Skills Programme.  Grant of £101,700. 8 placements
    • Chiltern Open Air Museum,Tomorrow's Heritage.  Grant of £219,600. 13 placements
    • Cultural Co-operation, Strengthening our common life by nurturing heritage skills. Grant of £642,800. 26 placements
    • Eastside Community Heritage, New Pathways. Grant of £345,900. 18 placements
    • Museums Galleries Scotland, Museums Galleries Scotland Interns Programme. Grant of £829,900. 40 placements
    • Northern Ireland Museums Council, Collections Skills Initiative NI. Grant of £540,000. 12 placements
    • PZ Conservation C.I.C, PZ Internships in the Conservation of Books and Bound Collections. Grant of £161,100. 5 placements
    • Tate, The Museum and its Future. Grant of £924,800. 27 placements
    • West Dunbartonshire Council, Breaking Down Barriers to Skills. Grant of £153,800. 9 placements
    • Whitechapel Gallery, Cultural Heritage Skills in the London's East End. Grant of £398,900. 18 placements
    • Worcestershire CC, Nurturing Worcestershire's Treasures and Skills for the Future. Grant of £286,800. 10 placements

    Those with a focus on skills across the a number of heritage sectors:


    We will add to this list quarterly.

  2. View Nick Randell's profile Nick Randell
    Offline | Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
  3. We're on the cusp of setting up London School of Mosaic and would like your view on whether HLF would be interested in supporting students to take the UK's first degree course in applied mosaic studies. Particular projects coming in with mosaic skills needed include St Paul's cathedral, Parliament and the V & A - all of which have Victorian mosaics requiring restoration. The other key area is our ancient mosaics - 80% of those discovered have been re-buried as that is our key way of preserving them. The country needs mosaic specialist to support the uncovering, restoration and display of these.

    Let me know if you're interested?

  4. View David Tootill's profile David Tootill
    Offline | Last seen: 11 months 1 week ago
  5. Hello David

    Thank you for your question and interesting to hear about your developments for the London School of Mosaic.

    Our Skills for the Future programme states ‘that projects where train-the-trainer and/or

    new qualification development is the main focus of activity or which are led by a training or education provider rather than a heritage employer’ are unlikely to be supported and from your summary I would suggest your proposal falls into this category and so therefore would not be suitable for Skills for the Future.

    In terms of HLF’s other programmes the funding of a delivery of an academic qualification would not be a priority as we are not a funder for the provision of degree courses. Through our projects we have been able to provide both practical work experience and onsite training opportunities for skills development.  Where any trainees we have funded have achieved accreditation, these have been vocational practical based qualifications.



  6. View Nick Randell's profile Nick Randell
    Offline | Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
  7. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for that helpful summary. It's pleasing and inspiring to see such a range of training projects supported, and that they're making such positive impact.

    I've just started working at Devon Wildlife Trust and The 'Wild Futures' project we're a partner in (with counterpart Trusts in Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire) has certainly had good take-up and feedback from trainees.

    I've taken on the reporting and claiming for Devon's part in that project, so I'll come to know the programme's nuances soon. I certainly hope that more natural heritage projects are proposed for the next funding round, ideally helping people and wildlife in our region too.

    Best wishes,


  8. View Russell Luscombe's profile Russell Luscombe
    Offline | Last seen: 3 weeks 2 days ago
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