The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) announced today that it will offer initial support1 to BAME-led arts and heritage charity, Cultural Co-operation, (CC) through its nationwide Skills for the Future programme2. CC’s bid to HLF is for £1m, towards the £1.41m costs of the next stage of a heritage skills training project: Strengthening Our Common Life (SOCL) that CC created in 2011.
HLF has awarded development funding of £9,600 to CC, to help it progress its plans to apply for a full grant for SOCL later this year.
CC was formed in London in 1987 as an independent educational charity. It recently brought several leading heritage organisations into a nationwide consortium to develop and deliver SOCL together. The next stage of SOCL represents a further development of this already highly successful heritage skills training programme, described by independent evaluators3 as “…truly breaking new ground…” and “a best practice model for diversifying the workforce in the cultural heritage sector”.
CC now plans to expand the existing SOCL consortium from 13 to 17 heritage organisations in six cities, each of which will host one SOCL trainee per year for 3 years (2014-17), a total of 51 new trainees. Existing SOCL consortium partners are: the British Museum; Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives; Cultural Co-operation; Foundling Museum; Garden Museum; Historic Royal Palaces; Horniman Museum; King’s College London; London Transport Museum; National Museum of the Royal Navy & HMS Victory; National Trust; Southbank Centre; and Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums.
SOCL aims to provide opportunities for people in sections of the UK population historically under-represented at decision-making levels in the nation’s heritage sector – particularly those of BAME origin and 18-25 year olds – to enter into the UK heritage workforce.
Prakash Daswani, Founder and Chief Executive of Cultural Co-operation said:
“We’re delighted that HLF has continued to show faith in SOCL and recognised the unique contribution it makes to diversifying the UK heritage sector’s workforce. This new HLF investment – and hopefully the full grant later on – will enable us to build on the project over a three year period; provide high-quality accredited heritage skills training to a further 51 young people, especially those from BAME backgrounds; and strengthen SOCL consortium members’ capacity to offer regular work-based training in future as part of their everyday practice.
SOCL provides a unique opportunity for young trainees to enter into the heart of Britain’s mainstream culture: learning about our national heritage, re-interpreting it, and making decisions about it for the benefit of all. Trainees will be immersed in different aspects of heritage, including exploring the many overlooked cultural connections between Britain and the rest of the world. They will receive regular expert training and mentoring to acquire the professional skills necessary to care for and manage our common heritage – and open it up to existing and new audiences, now and for the future.”
HLF previously awarded CC two grants, totalling £642,400, towards two earlier rounds of SOCL traineeships (2011-12 & 2013-14) costing £714,755. These two rounds will have offered nationally accredited work-based training to 26 young people: 24 of BAME origin and two self-describing as “white working class”.
SOCL traineeships are bursary-supported, 12 months long, full time and supervised by heritage experts. Trainees work simultaneously towards gaining a QCF Level 3 Diploma in Cultural Heritage. All 12 SOCL1 trainees completed their traineeships successfully; 11 went on to secure paid jobs in the sector.