University of Leicester eBulletin

Museum Studies Postgraduate Apprenticeships

January 2003
No 29

Postgraduate students from the internationally acclaimed University of Leicester Department of Museum Studies have been particularly successful in a pioneering national Postgraduate Apprenticeship initiative to develop Graduate and Postgraduate Apprenticeships in England.

The Leicester department is one of five higher education institutions in England to take part in this pilot project, which was funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Department for Education and Skills.

Twenty-four students, working in museums and cultural organisations from across England were registered either for the part-time or distance learning courses. While they will complete a masters degree or postgraduate diploma in Museum Studies in the usual two years, during the first year of study they have also undertaken work-based learning linked to National Vocational Qualifications and Key Skills.

Nine of the students were formally assessed for the NVQ unit through the Lincoln University Assessment Centre. The evaluation of the project has contributed to two publications by the Cultural Heritage National Training Organisation, which co-ordinated the project: Postgraduate and Graduate Apprenticeship Framework for England and Guidance on the Development and Operation of Postgraduate and Graduate Apprenticeships in Cultural Heritage.  

Three students from the University of Leicester – Alisa Smith, Ian Wall and Clare Wilson - all feature as case studies in the guidance document.

Ian Wall, Project Manager with the Creswell Heritage Trust, commented: “The PGA provided the opportunity to begin a huge on-site development programme by reflecting on work practices and improving activities we need to keep up the momentum that it provided.”

Claire Wilson, Gallery Assistant at The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, added: “The NVQ and Key Skills were a lot of work at the beginning, getting all the evidence together, but the knowledge acquired, experience and contacts gained – and the doors it has opened – mean that the benefits outweigh the negatives. I am not just seen as a Gallery Assistant.”

Alisa Smith, Museum Services Officer at the Museum of Cannock Chase said: “It exceeded my expectations. It is important for people like me who come from different backgrounds and types of jobs to access learning and professional qualifications whilst working.”

Her manager, Adrienne Whitehouse, said the Museum has benefited by updating the way that they did things, and that it had put the Museum on a more stable footing for the future.

For the University of Leicester Department of Museum Studies, too, the project has had positive results, including increased contact with sector SMEs and the opportunities to explore more fully the combination of academic study and skills based learning.

It aims to look at ways to develop the Postgraduate Apprenticeship framework through work placements, incorporating skills units within academic modules and the availability of a full PGA package for full-time and distance learning courses.


PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Tuesday, February 4, 2003, 10.30am, Department of Museum Studies, 105 Princess Road East, Leicester, when students from the Postgraduate Apprenticeship scheme will return to the University of Leicester.

Further information is available from Heather Lomas, Project Manager, University of Leicester Department of Museum Studies, telephone 0116 252 3970, email

[University Home] [Press and Publications] [University Index A-Z][University Search][University Help]
Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: January 2003
University Administration Web Maintainer

This document has been approved by the head of department or section.