A degree of excellence for the cultural services sector

Published: 4 January 2010 at 13:15

Anglia Ruskin University offers an innovative Foundation Degree (FdA) distance learning programme in Cultural Services.

The University recently hosted a sector engagement conference at the Royal Automobile Club, London.  Key themes around workforce development were explored, specifically around skills gaps, diversity of talent and new routes to partnership building between HEIs and the cultural sector. The event attracted prominent national organisations including Tate, V&A, Natural History Museum and National Archives, as well as regional and local employers including Trinity College Library, Cambridgeshire Libraries, Fitzwilliam Museum, and Essex County Council.  Delegates also included representatives from the Department of Media Culture and Sport, Sector Skills Council, and the Chartered Institute of Information and Library Professionals and Society of Archivists.

This course was developed in response to demands from employers for a work-based, higher education course that meets the needs of this rapidly changing sector. It is aimed at individuals already working in museums, libraries and archives including library assistants, information officers, archive assistants, museum support officers, outreach workers and volunteers.  The Museums Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), Foundation Degree Forward (FdF) and employers from the sector have been instrumental in the development and delivery of this FdA.

A three year course, the Foundation Degree is delivered through a blend of one-day workshops and e-learning. It is designed to support learning in the workplace, enabling employees to apply their learning directly to their work.

Speaking at the recent launch, at an event in Pall Mall, London, Hedley Swain, Director of Programme Delivery, at MLA said:

"The Cultural Services sector is changing and so must continue to up its game through the introduction new and imaginative solutions to workforce development issues."

We have traditionally recruited from a very narrow sector of the population in order to serve a large community.  With this new Foundation Degree we can start to construct a new set of skills and broaden the overall appeal and range of jobs within the sector."

Highlighting its benefits, Suparna Ghose, Skills Development Consultant from Anglia Ruskin University’s Higher Skills @ Work team said:

"This degree prepares staff to make a real contribution within a rapidly evolving sector. Learners develop key transferable skills including customer awareness, communication, marketing, project management alongside more specialist skills in research, collections, and audience development".