It is important for our sector to have up to date labour market intelligence, to help with forecasting and planning future investment, safeguarding heritage for the future. And for advocacy reasons, to champion the contribution the heritage industry makes to our local and national economies, and to attract new and diverse talent. Yet, this is not straightforward work.
The heritage sector, spanning organisations as varied as museums and national parks, includes a wide range of job roles and the workforce needs countless skill sets, both general and specialist. There are thousands of employers and a wide range of professional and trade bodies with an interest in sustaining a qualified workforce across the UK; a measure of this complexity is that there are at least six employer-led Sector Skills Councils representing the interests of the heritage sector.
Between them, heritage organisations have produced a range of research that points to skills shortages in the heritage workforce and highlights issues that need to be addressed to ensure heritage organisations are resilient and represent the communities they serve. In this post, we bring some of this work together in one place and ask you to contribute.
As a starting point, in 2012 we published a document to help Skills for the Future applicants, which gathered a sample of research and reports published across the heritage sector over the preceding five years. This document is attached.
Since then further useful research has been commissioned jointly by English Heritage and Creative and Cultural Skills to produce this Historic Environment and Cultural Heritage Skills Survey (2013) showing the sector faces ongoing recruitment issues:
Heritage Counts 2013 responded to the findings of a Heritage Environment Forum on skills which agreed there was a shortage of labour market intelligence in the sector. It includes a range of new research, as well as collating existing data for the built environment sector:
The Institute of Conservation report Conservation Labour Market Intelligence (2013) gives useful up-to-date data on the segment of our workforce focussed on object conservation:
How might we use and respond to this research?
Are you aware of further work that could be shared with colleagues here? Do we have any gaps in our knowledge about the workforce?
If you have successfully used this kind of evidence to influence stakeholders, make a case for training interventions or help shape the strategic direction of your organisation it would be good to hear from you.