Cultural and Heritage Venue Operations (England)

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Framework details

Framework ID: FR00802
Issue number: 4
Issued: 26 July 2011

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Cultural and Heritage Venue Operations (England)
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Issued by
Creative and Cultural Skills

Contact name: Amanda Stubbins
Telephone number: 0207 015 1801
Please download the framework for email contact information.


The Cultural Heritage sector includes museums, galleries with collections, built heritage, conservation, heritage landscape, archeology. The sector:

  • Collects, preserves and interprets the past
  • Develops and shares knowledge and ideas
  • Provides opportunities for learning and engagement
  • Enriches people’s lives and creates a sense of place and identity
  • Provides creativity, inspiration, and enjoyment.

Cultural Heritage is the legacy of past generations that is preserved and shared with today’s society and kept for future generations. Cultural Heritage helps us to understand how society has evolved and contributes to shaping the future.

It is broad, encompassing historic buildings, landscapes and collections – from towns, cities and rural spaces in the UK, to collections from across the world. It stretches beyond the tangible to languages, customs and practices. Cultural Heritage is owned and held in trust on behalf of the public.

The public are central to defining what constitutes the UK’s Cultural Heritage by the value that they place on it. The sector’s unique role has ensured its position as a key driver for regeneration. It supports the development of cohesive communities and contributes to shaping the cultural identity of specific places.

There are 1,510 businesses in the Cultural Heritage sector in the UK employing around 54,000 people in the UK. Higher numbers are deployed in a voluntary capacity and museums account for 59% of the total workforce.

Out of these businesses:

  • 30% employ 20 or more people.
  • 4% of the sector is self-employed.
  • 13% of jobs are temporary and 44% of these are seasonal.

The majority of staff work in public sector organisations or charities, but a significant minority work in the commercial sector, either self-employed or in commercial organisations. This is particularly true for those working in archeology and conservation. There is also a growing trend for people to move into consultancy roles. Approximately 4% of the workforce is self-employed and 1% of the sector is freelance.

Key challenges for the sector include:

  • The structure of the sector inhibits innovation and career progression (cross-sector working and organisational collaboration needs to improve)
  • There is a need to diversify the workforce and remove barriers to entry for business success
  • There is a need to improve management and leadership abilities of those working in the sector
  • Increasing and strengthening specialist knowledge combined with the skills needed to apply and communicate this knowledge is essential for continued and future industry success
  • There is a deficit of business and entrepreneurial skills in the sector inhibiting the sector’s ability to respond and adapt to changing markets
  • There are significant gaps in work-based technical and specialist skills provision and training.
  • There is a small majority (52%) of female workers in the sector; 93% of the workforce is white, which is reduced from 95% in 2006 – 54% of the workforce is aged over 40.

Employers are keen to increase the level of work based learning in order to change the culture of graduate recruitment to the Industry. They have helped to design the qualifications in this Level 2 and 3 Apprenticeship programme to ensure that it meets their current and future skills needs and at the same time, meet the requirements of the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England.

Level 2 Intermediate Apprentices will train in one of the following job roles:

  • Conservation Assistant, recording objects/making slides, writing a description/drawing it, overseeing cleaning, supporting and repairing/restoring objects, hosting tours for groups, assisting talks/ presentations to amateur and professional audiences, supporting curators, developers, planners, private businesses
  • Exhibition guide/demonstrator explaining displays/exhibitions to a range of audiences, telling stories that relate to the exhibition, demonstrating skills or practices (e.g. ancient crafts, costumes or practices), helping visitors to understand about a time in history and to participate in making things or experiencing the past
  • Visitor Services Assistant, meeting and talking to customers, explaining displays and exhibits demonstrating skills or practices (e.g. ancient crafts, costumes or practices), helping visitors to understand about a time in history, or cultural heritage
  • Front of house and administration support staff, developing venue knowledge, ticket sales, exhibition group bookings, dealing with customers, supporting setting up and servicing meetings, maintenance and setting up and maintaining systems, such as finance, staff records, visitor numbers.  

Level 3 Advanced Apprentices will train will train in one of the following job roles:

  • Assistant Archivist, supporting acquisition of records & documents for preservation, assisting with cataloguing & indexing, logging requests from the public, developing knowledge regarding the use/interpretation of material, assisting exhibitions and events, , researching grant opportunities and assisting with information gathering for application
  • Assistant Exhibition organiser,assisting planning, project management and maintenance of exhibition and displays, supporting laying out, hanging and interpreting objects liaising with other staff, such as lead project content curator and publicity staff, museum assistant, working in a wide range of museums, from small, local and family collections to large, interactive visitor attractions. customer service, welcoming visitors, providing information and answering their questions
  • Assistant Museum/Art Gallery Curator, working with others who catalogue and promote collections, researching, assisting with storing and cleaning items in a collection, supporting organising exhibitions and displays
  • Visitor Services Assistant or Front of house support staff, assisting management with the safety of staff, visitors, collections & buildings, helping visitors to get the most from their visit, working with explainers, guides & demonstrators & visitors with special needs or requirements and interpreting and explaining the service, exhibition or site.  

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Cultural and Heritage Venue Operations (England)
(PDF document 3.41 MB)