For her traineeship, 20-year-old Freya was based at Glamorgan Archives and St Fagan’s National Museum of History. She experienced a wide range of work, with a typical day including tasks such as completing assessing health and safety risks, helping with school groups, marketing activities and even some gardening in the grounds. Working with the archive and museum collections, Freya was also involved in cataloguing and conservation work on artefacts and documents.
After gaining good A-Level results, Freya had worked as a waitress and lifeguard but was keen to gain some experience of work related to her interest in history. She found the qualification aspect of the traineeship straightforward and very relevant to the type of work undertaken on-site.
Freya’s confidence grew throughout her placements, giving her the motivation to seek a full-time job upon completion of the traineeship. She was delighted not just to gain insights into the heritage sector but to develop transferable skills which “will be compatible for many fields of work”.
To other young people considering applying to the Cultural Ambition Project, she says “It’s a great way to gain work experience and skills”.
Freya was one of three trainees mentored by Janet at St Fagan’s, where the team have place great importance on community engagement and training. Many of the museum’s existing assistants had already studied a comparable qualification in Visitor Service and they were subsequently able to help supervise and train Freya and the other trainees.
Janet and colleagues prepared for the trainees’ arrivals by putting together a programme with a range of departments, then customising it once they and established each trainee’s individual interests and talents. This led to different experience for each young trainee, allowing them to develop their own abilities and subsequently grow in confidence.
Janet and the team at St Fagan’s found providing these traineeships to be a hugely rewarding experience. Their advice to other cultural heritage sites considering taking part in the Cultural Ambition Project would be to make time to plan and deliver the training thoroughly and to involve as many colleagues and departments as possible in order both to spread the workload and to offer the broadest range of experience to the trainee.