Hello, I’m Caleb, a Museum Assistant for Colchester + Ipswich Museums.
Last month, I got to spend a day talking to people about careers in museums at the 2017 Suffolk Skills Show. Myself and two colleagues, Lib (Museums Project Officer) and Marta (Visitor Services Apprentice), spoke to over 300 people throughout the day about routes into, and roles inside of, the museums and heritage sector.
It was a great opportunity to reach a wide and diverse audience from across the county, all of whom had gathered to explore potential future careers. Some had clear ideas about what they wanted to do, while others were only just beginning to consider what their path might be.
Although the majority of attendees at the show were still in high school or sixth form/college, starting a career in museums is open to people of all ages. For example, the Trainees and Apprentices at our organisation have ranged from 18 years old to people in their fifties.
We were keen to get across the message that there are lots of different roles in the heritage sector and that we need people with all kinds of skill sets to consider working in museums. Been studying design? You could be a perfect fit in an exhibitions and display team… Got a background in ICT? You could find a niche for yourself, creating digital interactives for heritage attractions… Been working in retail? You could bring your people skills to our Visitor Services team.
We also talked to attendees about routes into museums. Some people who were interested in the heritage sector assumed they would need a high level qualification in Museum Studies. This might help for some roles, but it’s not essential for all. We were able to tell them about other options, such as traineeships and apprenticeships, as well as staff who had moved into museums from other careers.
The overriding theme I took away with me was that not everyone knows what they want to pursue as a career. No matter what stage of life you might be at, it’s great to be able to take the opportunity to explore different possibilities. In that spirit, why not: