The NW Hub has chosen Developing the Workforce as a priority development area arising from the needs analysis undertaken for the regional strategy for museums and galleries and the identified needs of the Hub members. This initiative also builds on: Resource’s Towards A Strategy for Workforce Development, the former NWMS strategy (2002- 2004) the Museums Association Workforce Matters and Professional Development report (August 2003) and the NWDA Skills Development Strategy.
Consultants Anne Murch and Gaby Porter worked with the Hub directors and staff teams to define the learning and development needs for staff in each museum. The outcomes of this work have been developed into a plan, Inspiring the Workforce. This plan identifies four priority areas and approaches for staff development. They will be addressed in a programme to be delivered between December 2004 and March 2006:
- Building a vision for learning and embedding it throughout the service
- Improving and increasing visitor learning
- Staff learning and CPD planning
- Evaluation and organisational learning.
Improving Visitor Learning is focussing on how engagement with visitors can be deepened by understanding more about their learning styles. The team is from Bolton Museum, Manchester Museum and Tullie House and includes staff from education, curatorial and operations departments. The team is developing aims and objectives together. Although each venue has similarities there are also very different problems to overcome. The team’s aim is: To develop a project that shares expertise, deepens engagement and opens up collections to a wider audience through sharing knowledge, skills and understanding throughout the Northwest hub venues. The main objective of the team is to work together and share learning experiences. The team is working closely with the Organisational Learning and Evaluation group; evaluating both the project and the progress of the team is important.
The team has defined and started phase one of the project, which will develop interpretation and engagement to appeal to visitors with different learning styles. Working with a trainer from Effective Training and Development 15 –20 staff from each venue will spend the day identifying and understanding their own learning style, in groups acknowledging a range of styles, looking at the implications of the different styles on visitors and identifying possible projects to work together on in teams.
The organisational and evaluation group has been established. The group consists of a seconded (two days a week) member of staff from each of the Hub museums. They are each building an internal team that will promote learning and evaluation within their museum. The group is using the diagnostic evidence gathered by the Inspiring the Workforce consultants to identify priority areas for development. They are using evaluation as a tool to bring about change and to create a ‘learning organisation’.