Learning Trainee with Dundee Heritage Trust

Location: Dundee

The Museum
Dundee Heritage Trust is an independent registered charity that operates two 5-star-rated museums, Discovery Point and Verdant Works. Discovery Point is home to the RRS Discovery, the research ship that took Captain Robert Falcon Scott on his first expedition to the Antarctic in 1901. The associated polar exhibition features displays, interactives and audio-visual presentations related to polar exploration and the Antarctic today. Scotland’s Jute Museum@Verdant Works, a 19th century jute mill, tells the story of Dundee’s textile industry and its workers. The restored courtyard, period rooms and working machinery add to the atmosphere of this listed Victorian building.

Both sites are fully accredited museums and have won numerous awards, both national and international, and the polar and jute collections are Recognised Collections of National Significance. The sites receive over 6000 educational visits every year, and the quality of the learning provision has been recognised by a prestigious Sandford Award for Heritage Education.

2015 will see a major museum redevelopment project at Scotland’s Jute Museum@Verdant Works. The £2.9 million HLF-funded project to restore the derelict High Mill building to create significant new gallery space, a working steam engine and a dedicated learning space, will allow the trainee to work alongside curatorial and learning staff as new exhibits and interpretive displays are installed, and, following the public opening in the summer of 2015, to be involved in the delivery of the Activity Plan.

The Role
This traineeship offers an exciting opportunity to work with the Trust’s education team, delivering the learning programme at the two museums. The trainee will gain experience of both formal and informal learning, and will work with schools, community groups, young people and families, within the museums and on outreach.

The trainee will gain experience of all aspects of museum learning, from arranging educational visits and delivering workshop sessions to developing and evaluating new learning resources for a wide range of audiences. The trainee will also develop skills in producing online resources and web content, and will take part in activities for events such as the Festival of Museums and the local Dundee Science Festival.

In addition, the trainee will have the chance to learn from other museum staff in areas including collections, exhibition design and event planning, as well as from external partners through participation in network groups.

The trainee will work alongside curatorial and learning staff as new exhibits are installed and new learning resources /programmes are developed during the 2015 redeveloment project at Scotland’s Jute Museum@Verdant Works. Following the public opening in the summer of 2015, the trainee will be involved in the delivery of the Activity Plan which lies at the core of the project.

The trainee will be involved in every aspect of the education service, to give them a broad learning experience. This will include everything from the routine day-to-day admin duties such as taking school bookings, maintaining the diary and answering enquiries, through to guiding education groups around the museums, delivering workshop activities (both in the museums and on outreach visits), developing new educational resources and organising public events. Where these activities overlap with the responsibilities of other members of staff, the trainee will work with them also; the trainee will therefore become aware how museum staff, especially in a small organisation like DHT, need to work together as a team. On these occasions, the trainee will find themselves liaising with curatorial, marketing, conference, front of house, technical, finance and admin staff.

Applicants should be enthusiastic and self-motivated, with good communication skills and a passion for museum learning.

The Details

The trainee will work at both sites, giving the opportunity to develop skills in heritage interpretation across a range of themes – industrial and local history, textiles, maritime history and polar exploration. They will be primarily based in the Heritage and Education office at Discovery Point, working beside the Education Officer and the Learning and Audiences Officer, two members of the curatorial team, and the Heritage and Exhibitions Director. The Education Officer will therefore be able to directly supervise the trainee on a day-to-day basis.

It is expected that the trainee spend time with other teams to gain experience across the museum organisation; during the first quarter of the traineeship, the trainee will have met with all other members of staff and will understand their role in the organisation. Some staff members will have regular involvement with the trainee – Curatorial, Front of House, Marketing, Conferences – and the trainee will also spend a lot of time with volunteer guides, who are an important part of the learning programme.

Initially the trainees involvement will be by shadowing, but they will be encouraged to take on tasks as soon as possible and to ‘learn by doing’. During the traineeship it is hoped that the trainee will take on more responsibility for devising and developing resources, activities and events, as well as delivering them.

In the final quarter of the traineeship the trainee will undertake a ‘personal project’ to devise, develop and deliver a school, community or family activity based on their own interests and skills.

The trainee will develop a good understanding of wider museum education practice, by participating in local networking groups, the Tayside Museums Forum, the Dundee Cultural Agencies Network and Dundee Community Partnership, as well as being encouraged to visit other museums and talk with education staff, and to take time to research into current best practice in museum learning. They will also be encouraged to attend relevant training sessions run by MGS and GEM.

During the period of the traineeship, there will be a unique opportunity to gain first-hand experience of a major museum redevelopment project at Scotland’s Jute Museum@Verdant Works. Some weekend and evening work will be required to cover events outwith normal office hours.

The Modules

As part of the SVQ Level 3 in Museums Practice all traineeships will cover mandatory units in background and workplace skills which will focus on:
• CCSCCS30: Understanding the sector in which you work and the wider creative and cultural context
• CCSCCS32: Taking responsibility for your work in a creative and cultural organisation and self-evaluation
• CCSCCS33: Planning and implementing your professional development in the creative and cultural industries
• CCSCV9: Cataloguing objects and collections within a cultural venue
• CCSCV15: Contributing to the care of items within a cultural venue

Within the Learning Traineeship with Dundee Heritage Trust you will also have the opportunity to complete 4 of the following modules: (Trainees must complete 2 from their chosen stream plus an additional 2 from any other stream or optional modules)

Learning and Engagement
• CCSCCS70: Assisting with learning for a creative and cultural organisation
• CCSCV17 / CCSCCS71: Supporting the organisation of events and exhibitions / Delivering an event or programme of events for learning and interpretation for a creative and cultural organisation
• CCSCCS22: Assisting customers, visitors or audiences in getting the best from their experience of a creative and cultural organisation
• CCSCCS73: Delivering community engagement for a creative and cultural organisation
• CCSCCS76: Evaluating the customer, audience or visitor experience of a creative and cultural organisation
• CCSCV16: Preparing for and deliver guided tours for visitors to cultural venues

Collections and Interpretation
• CCSCCS72: Delivering interpretation for exhibitions or displays for a creative or cultural organisation
• CCSCH54: Providing specific information on a collection for a cultural heritage organisation

Digital Skills
• SKSIM29: Managing online engagement
• CCSCCS81: Conducting marketing for a creative and cultural organisation
• CCSCCS74: Developing learning resources for a creative and cultural organisation

Volunteer Management
• CCSCCS28: Working with volunteers in a creative and cultural organisation
• SFTMVD3: Supporting the development of volunteers’ knowledge, skills and competence

Optional Modules
• CCSCCS1: Providing effective customer service
• CCSCCS80: Assisting with marketing for a creative and cultural organisation



Closing date for applications is midnight on Monday 24 November.

Interviews will take place at the hosting organisations during the week of 10-17 December, 2014.

In order to apply for an MGS traineeship you must be able to demonstrate that you have a right to work legally in the UK and that you have not already studied at graduate level.