“I found this programme clear and the activities allowed me to get an idea of what Historic England do.”
“The way it was structured made it easy for me to access - I couldn't attend the webinars because of school but could still watch them as they were pre-recorded.”
“A highlight was learning about the opportunity to see virtual shipwrecks as I feel that they used to be very inaccessible to members of the public but by using technology anyone can see the history of these sites easily.”
Historic England is a public body that exists to help people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment. Working with local communities and passionate specialists, Historic England champions and saves places that define England as a nation, celebrating the stories told and ideas they represent. Its ongoing ambition is to both protect the heritage in a sustainable manner and promote the many sites so that they are enjoyed by all.
Through liaising with Historic England, four key goals became apparent. This interactive work placement programme must increase brand awareness and showcase what Historic England does, how it works with other organisations and why we should all value its contribution.
It was also imperative to reach a diverse audience, ensuring that the future available talent pool was truly representative, as it must be for an organisation representing all.
A third aim was to increase knowledge of the sector, the many and varied roles available and the routes into employment.
Finally, the programme should not only inspire young people to value the rich heritage all around them, but also in general they should feel more confident, ready and enthused about work and future career paths, whichever route they end up following.
Building on our discussion with the Historic England team, we built a programme of six modules. The opening module answered the question ‘Who are Historic England?’, helping to answer a few common questions and debunk some myths. Bolstering knowledge of the basics at this stage sets the foundation for much that follows.
Solid foundations in place, the programme moved on to the first of the three core elements in a second module entitled ‘Understanding the Historic Environment’, focusing on real-life buildings. This covered archaeological investigation, buildings and science, with a case study augmented by a live webinar, interactive element and quiz.
Module three moved on to protecting the historic environment and managing change, with a look at the “National Heritage List for England”. How does Historic England protect these assets and manage change in a sustainable way? The final core module focussed on the creative roles within Historic England, including modern roles in social media and marketing.
The penultimate module provided students with a rich insight into careers and opportunities including routes into a role with Historic England, we commonly find that students are unaware of the myriad routes of entry into many sectors. Finally a section on employability skills gave participants some skills and tips that are of real value, regardless of career choice.
Almost 500 students (483) enrolled and success was shown against all initial course objectives.
Knowledge of Historic England’s work and that of the sector in general improved dramatically - 45% saying they now had excellent knowledge and 51% good - huge increases on 2% and 20% pre programme. More than two thirds also said they were ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to consider a career within the industry.
Demonstrating the programme’s value to all students, regardless of future career choices, 22% said they were very confident about finding a job and 59% somewhat confident - up from 4% and 41%. Finally, the proportion saying they were now ‘very confident’ speaking to professionals jumped almost six-fold, from 4% to 23%.
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