Museums Galleries Scotland update

John Campbell, Senior Skills Development Manager explores Fair Work and how it relates to Scotland’s museums and galleries.

MGS supports museums and galleries in Scotland to deliver better recruitment and employment practice through resources, training, advice, and the Scottish Government guidance for Fair Work. It’s one of the priority areas in the recently launched strategy for Scotland’s museums and galleries. When we talk about Fair Work, we are referring to all aspects of working for your organisation, from creating a job spec., to the day–to–day experience of working and progressing, to developing a positive organisational culture.

Fair Work is central to achieving the Scottish Government’s priority for sustainable and inclusive growth. To help employers achieve this, the Scottish Government have created a useful framework, focusing on five dimensions of Fair Work: Effective voice, Security, Opportunity, Fulfilment, and Respect.

There are many ways museums can begin to implement Fair Work into their organisations and the MGS website has advice guides, blogs, and training programmes to support this work. However, I want to highlight two key areas of work that museums can get involved with.

Career entry and progression routes in the sector

In the strategy for Scotland’s museums and galleries, an action for the sector is to value and embed a range of career entry and progression routes, including vocational learning, to provide opportunities for all. A vocational learning qualification that can support this action is the Modern Apprenticeship.

A Modern Apprenticeship is a job which enables people in Scotland to earn a wage and gain an industry-recognised qualification through work-based learning. It’s an opportunity open to both new hires and existing employees who are between the ages of 16 to 29 years old. There is no cost to the employer for the training opportunity, beyond the existing cost of the employees’ wages/salary. As an SQA Training Centre, MGS delivers two different Modern Apprenticeship qualifications: Museums & Galleries Technician Modern Apprenticeship and Digital Marketing Modern Apprenticeship.

The recent Scottish Apprenticeship Week was a great chance to highlight the fantastic work that Modern Apprentices and their host museums have been doing, such as an exhibition undertaken by Alan Gardiner, Museum Assistant at the Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Stirling and a Museums and Galleries Practice Modern Apprentice.

As part of the apprenticeship Alan created an exhibit from the Smith’s collection of Japanese objects. This included inspecting and monitoring conservation needs, interpretation, and exhibition design.


I also want to highlight the importance of recruitment for implementing Fair Work and creating a more diverse workforce. On the MGS website we have a free-to-use Jobs and Opportunities page. where we advertise Fair Work approved opportunities within the Scottish museum and galleries sector. To advertise with us, museums must go through our Fair Work recruitment checklist and submit a form, checked by our Skills Development team. If museums don’t meet the Fair Work recruitment criteria, then one of the team will be in touch with feedback to help improve their recruitment practice.

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