Getting ahead in heritage

 1 February 2011

Ben Giles, a Creative Apprentice at the Royal West England Academy of Art, describes how he learns on the job while doing a qualification in Cultural and Heritage Venue Operations.

"You get treated like an adult, and you're getting paid and you're also getting a qualification. So for me this is the perfect fit."

"As a kid, my dad used to take me to the [Bristol] Museum every weekend and I used to really like it. I came for the interview at the museum because I really thought it would be cool to work in a museum. I really like the collections and being around things that are old and have history."

"I ended up coming here [Royal West of England Academy of Art] in the end, which I'm really pleased about. Compared to the other apprentices at the museum, my tasks are a lot more hands-on, which suits me quite well."

Getting work skills for heritage venues

"My job changes from day to day, that's what I like about working here so much.

"It's different every day and that's what I reckon working in the cultural sector is really good for.

"Some days I'll be doing manual work like putting up exhibitions or building shelves or anything that needs to be done. Some days I'll be on reception, or given projects or type up reports and things like that.

"At school I didn't like being treated like a child, not having mutual respect. So I got in some trouble at school. But then I came here and you get treated as an equal, like an adult, which is really good. And you're getting paid and you're also getting a qualification, so for me this is the perfect fit."

Getting a qualification while working

"It's different every day and that's what I reckon working in the cultural sector is really good for."

"For college, I actually do my course from home, we do it conferencing on Skype with my teacher in Plymouth. So I work four days a week and then one day I stay at home and do my college course.

"We have a regional meeting for all the southwest apprentices every six weeks or so.

"It's really good to be able to compare notes and see how different venues have different tasks and things that need doing and different responsibilities. If I've got a problem with something and I don't want to ask my line manager, I've got some people I can relate to."

Getting ahead in the job market

"I want to finish my NVQ2 and then do an NVQ3, and build up UCAS points so hopefully I'll go to uni somewhere.

"I'm hoping that having two years of experience will put me ahead of all the other people who are looking for jobs. I'd definitely like to stay in the cultural sector, just not being at the bottom of the ladder like I am now."

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