HLF tackles skills and diversity deficit with £10.1m Skills for the Future campaign
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HLF tackles skills and diversity deficit with £10.1m Skills for the Future campaign

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A total of 18 Heritage projects are set to benefit from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Skills for the Future campaign – a programme which helps organisations deliver paid training placements to meet skills shortages in the heritage sector and to help diversify the workforce.

Worth £10.1m (US$12.5m, €11.6m), grants range from £100,000-£750,000 (US$124,000-US$929,000, €115,000-€864,000) and are part of the wider commitment made by HLF in the government’s Culture White Paper to tackle skill shortages within the sector.

The British Museum will receive the largest slice of the pie, with a grant of £743,000 (US$920,000, €855,000) being used to train 27 people from a range of backgrounds in digital data management, preservation and access. This will, according to the HLF, enable them to become champions for digital training in the sector and help to place digital best practice at the heart of museums’ work.

A scheme run by Culture&, the New Museum School in London will receive £727,400 (US$901,000, €837,500) to place 34 people on 12-month placements at 22 different cultural organisations. Priority candidates for the initiative will be under 25, from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, or from lower socio-economic groups. The project will include training in conservation, collections management, digitisation and public engagement.

In Northern Ireland, the Ulster Wildlife Trust will receive £403,700 (US$500,000, €464,800), which will be used to train 21 people over a three-year programme in natural conservation skills, both marine and land based. The recruitment programme will prioritise under-24s, those from a minority ethnic background and people with disabilities. The Trust will also work in partnership with a number of other organisations, including the National Trust and Butterfly Conservation on the scheme.

For the remainder of projects, a strong focus will be placed on people who may never have considered a career in heritage. There will be, for example, opportunities for ex-servicemen training as dry stone wallers, young novices working on historic ships, women training as steam boiler engineers and people from areas of high unemployment working in museums and visitor attractions.

The HLF says that while Skills for the Future is not a job creation programme, past projects have had an impressively high success rate with 75 per cent of trainees successfully securing a job in heritage after engaging in the programme. As part of continued investment into the programme, training placements will continue to be created until 2021.

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A total of 18 heritage projects are set to benefit from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Skills for the Future campaign – a programme which helps organisations deliver paid training placements to meet skills shortages in the heritage sector and to help diversify the workforce.
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