The difference Skills can make

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I was recently sent some testimonials from a group of trainees who took part in a Skills for the Future project via the National Trust, called Passport to Your Future. And it was really heartening to read how some of the trainees really did create a new future for themselves by taking part! 

Like “unemployed, approaching 50, former full time drinker” Kevin who “fell into the fascinating world of cleaning and conserving historic objects” at a property he remembers playing in the grounds of as a child, and found himself “happy as a pig in the proverbial”. 

And Lucy, whose career in retail buying was cut short by chronic fatigue syndrome, and then, following a long rehabilitiation process, was advised to hide her illness from potential employers, as it would be a barrier to success. In fact, the Passport to Your Future project actively “helped me overcome any barriers to work. The role has made coming back to work easy and a joy”.

The project has proved just as beneficial to those working with the trainees, too, said one line manager: “Initially slightly sceptical and in need of an extra pair of hands to support one of our smaller properties, our opinions soon changed as our trainee became a valuable member of the team and rapidly exceeded our expectations of the project and our individual trainee”. 

Inspiring stuff!

Don't forget, we are accepting applications for new Skills for the Future project grants until 13 October:

View Amy Freeborn's profile Amy Freeborn Sep 8 2016 - 4:30pm
  1. This project provided a unique opportunity for people without any experience in heritage to become trainees and introduce them to 4 areas of heritage - collections conservation, visitor experience, historic gardens management and landscape & parklands management.  HLF funding has enabled the National Trust to explore and test new ways of attracting and recruiting individuals that are under-represented in the heritage sector and this has had a lasting impact on our approach to recruitment.  Additionally we have gained some amazing new employees as some trainees from the project have transitioned into continued employment with us.  For many, this traineeship has completely changed their lives, whilst resulting in many more passionate people with heritage skills now working in the sector. Thanks HLF!

    ~ Terri-Lynn, National Grants Officer, National Trust

  2. View Terri-Lynn Walker's profile Terri-Lynn Walker
    Offline | Last seen: 1 month 6 days ago
  3. Thanks Terri-Lynn.

    We followed the project closely. Clare, the project manager at the time, was kind enough to share presentations on your new recruiment methods during our grantee-sharing sessions and later with HLF staff, as part of our internal Inclusion Practice Group. I met many of the trainees and saw for myself the difference the traineeships made to them. I know less about the lasting impact on National Trust recruitment that you refer to and it would be great if you could share some detail. At a UK-wide and strategic level, I'm interested in capturing the impacts of the programme on grantees and its success in bringing long-term organisational change.

  4. View Jo Reilly's profile Jo Reilly
    Offline | Last seen: 1 week 1 day ago
  5. in reply to

    Hi Jo,

    The Passport to Your Future project has heavily influenced the creation of our resourcing plan. It became clear from the programme that its success in diversifying the applicant field resulted from tackling multiple issues but more importantly the inter-dependencies between those issues.

    The changes to date:

    Our recruitment website has been radically changed to make it more accessible. Based on feedback from PTYF applicants the language has been simplified, the amount of text has been reduced and the images show a diverse range of people. 

    Changes to our online application system now allow us to manage different applications methods (video applications, PowerPoint presentations, questionnaires) – something that was trialled with great success in the PTYF project. 

    We are now building long-term relationships with a small selection of specialist organisations in order to directly reach applicants whom are traditionally under- represented in heritage.

    As a direct learning from PTYF we have reviewed, rewritten and relaunched our recruitment training materials.  We have shifted emphasis for many of our roles to Recruiting for Attitude (instead of for Experience) and have developed specific training and support materials to implement this. We have revised our Shortlisting guidance specifying that weighting for ‘experience’ cannot be unfairly balanced against the other attributes required for the role.

    We have created a candidate attraction toolkit for Managers to use in the local community to encourage increased numbers of applications from the local area.

    Inspired by the line manager training provided by MIND for the project, we are adding Mental Health training and Disability Awareness training to the core ongoing development programme available to all managers.  This will enable them to support a more diverse workforce.   

    We have removed ‘desirable’ characteristics from new role profiles and are moving to eliminate them from advertisements. 

    Wherever possible, recruitment for entry level roles has moved from interview to a less formal onsite event, the purpose of which is selection.  A good example of this is the “walk round” where the enthusiasm, passion and a willingness to learn takes precedence over site knowledge.

    I hope this is of interest!

    ~ Terri-Lynn 

  6. View Terri-Lynn Walker's profile Terri-Lynn Walker
    Offline | Last seen: 1 month 6 days ago
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