Skills for the Future is a UK-wide programme which funds work-based training in a range of skills that are needed to look after buildings, landscapes, habitats, species, animals, museum collections, and promotethe use of new technology in heritage settings.
The aim of this blog is to showcase the faces behind our project at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse so that we can all share our experiences of what is more than just a very worthwhile cause but a project that is providing genuine skills to sustain people in long term employment.
In partnership with the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket, we have been awarded over £1,100,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Skills for the Future programme to deliver a training project between 2011 and 2015.
At Gressenhall we have a number of formal apprenticeships as well as a number internships of varying length, including a Visitor Services trainee who is covering all aspects to our visitors’ experience, from the Front of House duties to improving our social media coverage. Other placements will focus on areas such as heritage gardening, woodland and heritage land management, rural collections management and interpretation, and managing historic buildings.
We currently have people working on the vast garden spaces at the museum and on our historic steam engines, as well as a heritage farming apprentice, farrier apprentice and a library and archive trainee, with the prospect of more trainees to come.
Our long term aim is to enhance the heritage sector, one that is currently under threat in the economic difficulties we are all facing, by providing sustainable training and good service practice. We are also looking to promote and demonstrate the value of heritage skills to modern life, skills that are too precious to lose and without which such places like Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse would be unable to continue.