Cultural Co-Operation: Strengthening Our Common Life
Category: Employer Focus, Training Programme, Trainees, workforce, promote, cultural co-operation, common life
The Strengthening Our Common Life (SOCL) training programme is an initiative by Cultural Co-operation (CC) that aims to promote, and create, a diverse workforce within the heritage sector.
CC offers 12 months’ accredited, work-based training (the QCF Diploma in Cultural Heritage Level 3) to committed, aspiring heritage professionals selected both on merit and for their own commitment to the SOCL aim. To date 42 young people of BAME and Faith heritage have received training through the programme. Currently, a further 17 are undertaking their traineeship. Our host partners, which include Cambridge University Museums, The British Museum, Historic Royal Palaces are Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums share our vision and aims and play a vital role in delivering rewarding and enriching traineeships to our trainees. We are currently in the process of expanding the list of potential partners.
The ‘hook’ for young people is simple, we provide a paid traineeship in major national institutions within the cultural sector, as well as this we market the traineeship to young people who have an interest in the sector but may be daunted by the financial strain of university and/or higher education. As well as this CC provides guidance and assistance throughout the experience to ensure that trainees attain their qualifications and are developing as professionals within the sector.
We require our trainees to work hard, and dedicate a year to their traineeship. To support this we provide a tax-free bursary and cover traineeship related travel costs. Whilst its not surprising to see that our trainees do well, it is at times surprising to see at what scale our trainees work within their institutions. It is a testament to the faith that our host partners have in the SOCL trainees and the SOCL programme. Trainees have created exhibitions, programmed and run events, travelled to different countries with priceless objects, assisted in the fit out of blockbuster exhibitions and have been instrumental to the delivery of multi-million projects.
The SOCL traineeship not only provides experience but looks to build community interactivity and accessibility within the institutions we work with. By making community engagement a key part of our traineeship we enable our trainees to make Britain’s collections, historic houses and local heritage available and accessible to communities that would otherwise not be engaging with the sector.
Although highly relevant to the heritage sector, the SOCL programme also provides trainees with skills and experience which are transferable across a broad range of professions and disciplines. It is hoped, though, that in finding suitable jobs in the heritage professions, successful trainees are able to experience career progression into senior positions where they are able to influence the culture and direction of institutions in ways that begin to reflect broader diversity in their staffing and outputs.
Below: our trainees engaging with communities and collections.
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