Skills for the Future, 2016 (Cohort 3) - new funding announced

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Today we announce another significant investment in heritage sector skills. Trustees have awarded £10.1 million to 18 Skills for the Future projects. With this new resource, the sector will create hundreds of new, paid training opportunties to address skills shortages across the UK. Tackling the urgent need to diversify the heritage workforce will be another key focus for the grantees and all are committed to opening up new careers to people not currently well-represented in heritage jobs.

We have run three rounds of Skills for the Future funding since 2009 and it has always attracted enthusisatic and high quality applications. This time, competition remained high - we received 81 applications with a total grant request that way out stripped our available budget. We acknowledge the effort that went into the applications that weren't successful this time.  Some were from organisations who are still delivering Skills for the Future grants supported in 2012 and we will continue to celebrate their achievements. We look forward to seeing some of the ambition expressed in other proposals that we couldn't fund this time, come through in applications to our regular grants programmes (e.g. Heritage Grants) where we also invite skills outcomes.

Nick lists all of the new grantees below - they will spend the summer putting together detailed training plans and, all being well, are likely to start delivering traineeships in 2018. Watch this space for the difference they make!

View Jo Reilly's profile Jo Reilly Mar 13 2017 - 2:27pm
  1. Here is the list of the 18 projects which have been given a First Round Pass in February 2017:

    • Blyth Tall Ship. A project based in the North East of England focusing on traditional shipwrighting skills with 36 placements aimed at local young people and women.
    • Boiler Engineering Skills Training Trust. 16 placements across the UK to develop historical mechanical engineering skills with emphasis on attracting trainees from areas of high unemployment and people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
    • Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service.With a focus on skills which will enhance audience development, community engagement and visitor services, 24 placements will be available for young people with few formal qualifications.
    • Creative & Cultural Skills (Wales). A Wales-based project creating 33 placements to develop skills in heritage collections care, digital interpretation and heritage operations aimed at 18-24 year olds from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
    • Cultural Co-operation. 34 placements within London-based organisations will deliver skills training in conservation, collections management; digitisation and engaging new audiences, to young people and particularly people from black, Asian and minority ethic communities or disabled people.
    • Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. A project based in the East Midlands and Yorkshire providing 24 placements in skills relating to flood risk mitigation, land management for pollinators, health & wellbeing and digital skills. At least a third of these trainees will be from under-represented audiences while two-thirds will be non-graduates.
    • Dry Stone Walling Association. 8 young people from lower socio-economic groups will be trained in dry stone walling through placements based across the UK.
    • Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways. A project based in North Wales which will focus on providing 20 placements in mechanical engineering, joinery and interpretation, aimed at young people, women and those from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities
    • Lincolnshire County Council. 21 young people with few formal qualifications will be targeted in Lincoln focusing on traditional building skills, archaeology and public engagement.
    • Museums Galleries Scotland. A Scottish-based project providing 22 placement in collections skills, digital, audience development and volunteer management aimed at disabled people, people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities or from a lower socio-economic background.
    • National Historic Ships Committee. 16 placements across England and Scotland to provide skills to young people, those from a BAME background and women in how to interpret, operate and maintain historic vessels.
    • Next Step Initiative. A Scottish based project delivering 16 placements and targeting black, Asian and minority ethic communities in conservation skills, collection handling, digitisation, outreach and community engagement.
    • South West Wildlife Trusts. A project providing 30 placements in the South West of England to deliver skills training to young people in species identification, surveying, hedgelaying and coppicing.
    • The British Museum. 27 placements across the UK focusing on developing digital skills to young people from diverse and under-represented groups.
    • The National Archives. An England-wide project providing 24 placements in digital archive skills focusing on those who are under-represented in the sector including people with long-term health conditions, men and those from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities;
    • The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country. A project based in the West Midlands which will provide 24 placements targeting those from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities or lower–socio economic background in skills to do practical land management and community engagement.
    • Trees For Life. A Scottish based project with a focus on skills for tree propagation, landscape management, ecological monitoring and engaging communities. 15 placements will be created and targeted at local young people, older career changers and women.
    • Ulster Wildlife Trust. Based in Northern Ireland, 21 placements will be created to develop skills in environmental conservation and aimed at disabled people, young people and those from black, Asian and minority ethic communities.


  2. View Nick Randell's profile Nick Randell
    Offline | Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
  3. As a result of the new funding we have received as part of Round 3, we currently have two Invitation to Tenders available - please do pass on to your contacts and networks:

    Learning Programme – Bridging the Digital Gap

    We are seeking to appoint a lead training developer to design, commission and co-ordinate the learning programme for 'Transforming Archives: Bridging the Digital Gap' trainees. The outcome of this piece of work will be a robust, effective learning package for trainees on 'Bridging the Digital Gap', keyed in to national frameworks. The training developer must be a specialist in the design and delivery of training programmes, and need not necessarily be a specialist in archives and their practices.

    Recruitment Strategy – Bridging the Digital Gap

    The National Archives seeks to commission a suitably experienced organisation or individual to develop the recruitment strategy for 'Bridging the Digital Gap' to ensure a rich and diverse range of applicants are encouraged to apply for traineeships.

    Best wishes,


  4. View Emma Stagg's profile Emma Stagg
    Offline | Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
  5. Thanks Emma. Great to see you embracing talent outside the sector. I wish you well with the recruitment.


    I was with the HLF Board of Trustees recently reviewing this latest round of Skills for the Future funding. Trustees particularly welcomed:

    • the ambition of these grantees to reach a wide range of people from different backgrounds;
    • the partnership approach deployed by most in the cohort resulting in the proposed delivery of traineeships right across the UK;
    • the focus on the development of transferable skills, which trainees will be able to take with them into the job market, whatever future direction they choose to take.

    We look forward to seeing grantees' plans crystallise over the summer and all of this ambition being delivered for new trainees.

    If you're curious to read some stories from trainees past, one place to look is HLF's Changing Lives Tumblr site.  Hazel Pennack and Graeme McGrath make it to the front page:

    #SkillsForTheFuture  #ChangingLives

  6. View Jo Reilly's profile Jo Reilly
    Offline | Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
  7. Our most recent external evaluation of the Skills for the Future programme includes a summary of lessons learnt from 48 projects that have completed (and you can read the full report here

    It might be especially useful for those of you who are currently completing your training plans and application forms ahead of the 7 September deadline as part of Skills for the Future Cohort 3.


    • Job adverts and recruitment processes should emphasise enthusiasm and potential rather than experience in order to widen the pool of relevant applicants and to reflect the fact that taking part in the programme is only a first step in the heritage sector.
    • Several grantees successfully implemented alternatives to the interview, better suited to recruit trainees, such as group activities.
    • Managing the recruitment process for a Skills for the Future project is time-consuming, given the usually high volume of applications and the need to select the right candidates. According to the evaluations, it is better to make arrangements ahead of the recruitment phase to free enough time for it or outsource that service to a specialist consultant or agency.
    • It is a good practice to include the future supervisors and the host organisations in the recruitment process.


    • A key success factor is the availability of the project coordinator and his/her eagerness to work alongside the trainees to find solutions to practical problems they might face.
    • There is a need to make sure that trainers and colleagues have sufficient time to deliver training alongside their other roles.
    • Applicants need to make a realistic estimate of the manager’s functions and the time required to deliver those functions, taking into account the specificities of each target group, the amount of pastoral care they will likely require, the number of host organisations, the training and accreditation requirements, etc. Several evaluations reported problems due to underestimating the time it takes to manage such a project.

    Training plans

    • Skills assessments and learning plans are highly valued by both the trainees and the grantees and host organisations.
    • Wherever possible, training plans should be individualised to better cater for the different needs and aspirations of each trainee, and also to avoid providing training in skills that are already mastered. A successful model consists of having a core set of training common to all participants, combined with tailored training depending on each individual background.
    • The opportunity to take responsibility for discrete projects, tasks and budgets is instrumental in developing the trainees’ self-confidence and ability to demonstrate their capacities to future employers.
    • The projects add more value when they focus on skills which are not taught in the education system. Often, this means technical skills that require practice and learning-by-doing, but in some sectors it can also mean other skills such as fundraising, managing a self-employment business, etc.

    Support for trainees

    • Overlapping trainees is a model which works very well and allows the more experienced trainee to mentor the new trainee, which also develops supervising skills. Trainees also help each other when running training and outreach events and there is continuity in the training delivery.
    • Several projects found useful to link trainees with mentors (in addition to their supervisors) who can help them with fulfilling their career aspirations.
    • As far as possible, it is usually positive to allow the trainees to keep the same supervisor throughout the project.

    Support for trainers

    • Trainers are best placed to support the trainees when they have been themselves selected (identifying persons with strong interpersonal skills) and property trained, especially if they have no previous experience of dealing with trainees or apprentices.
    • Trainers also welcome opportunities to network and share experiences with other trainers who deal with the same issue.


    • Communication (between the manager, the supervisors, the trainees, the host organisations) is key to the success of the programme and allows the project manager to take corrective measures as soon as problems arise.

    Monitoring and evaluation

    • Robust monitoring systems, building on accurate baseline data and incorporating long-term tracking of participants (ideally beyond the life of the project), make reporting easier and ensure targets are informed and can be reviewed and adapted.
    • Evaluation can have a higher impact when it is embedded in the project, triggering ongoing improvements, rather than completed once the project is over.
    • It is particularly enlightening to seek feedback from trainees a significant time after they participated, as part of the evaluation exercise.

    If you’re an old hand at delivering Skills for the Future project, are there any other ‘lessons learnt’ that you’d like to share?

  8. View Emma Stagg's profile Emma Stagg
    Offline | Last seen: 1 month 2 days ago
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