We’re known for our award winning sites but without our highly skilled, engaged and knowledgeable workforce providing an amazing visitor experience, sites like Edinburgh Castle or Skara Brae would not be as world renowned. To ensure we keep Scotland's historic environment as the envy of the world we need to ensure we attract and retain talent, if we don’t change our culture and approach to this we will be left behind.
There are many contributing factors to rethinking our approach to talent attraction. A number of the roles at HES are invisible to those thinking about careers. When people think of Historic Environment Scotland, no matter what age, they think of castles and quite rightly, the history and conservation of our country. What people don’t think about, especially our future workforce, are the endless other possibilities of careers. In addition to the importance of workforce diversity and succession planning, we enter territory that is familiar to many organisations – the need to be a visible employer and an employer of choice.
With Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy driving education and industry engagement the support to inform, inspire and hire young people is available. The Developing the Young Workforce team has supported us in reshaping our approach and better understanding how we can align our engagement strategy to meet our organisational needs. With the support of the team we feel we are on a level battle field and are able to position HES alongside other organisations across Scotland in order to attract talent.
We have taken steps already. It was important to us to nurture youth talent from a younger age to stimulate interest in our organisation and we have found Foundation Apprenticeships to be a great way to do this. Delivered over 2 years while the young person is still at school the young people gain invaluable work experience and are able to understand the broad opportunities available with us.
“The foundation apprenticeships with Historic Environment Scotland has given me an invaluable insight to understand better some of the supporting roles that need to be in place within an organisation and has also given me a realistic appreciation of what actually happens in an organisation, alongside the support I need to grow as an employee”, Conor Glasier, Foundation Apprentice, Edinburgh College.
Over the last year we have increased the number of Apprentices in our organisation from 27 to 40 with new opportunities like Business Administration, Cultural Venue Operations and Museum Galleries Practices. The Graduate Apprenticeship Scheme has also proven an attractive option for us in developing our talent.
In attending Developing the Young Workforce workshops, our HR team and wider leaders have developed a broader understanding and toolkits to support initiatives such as meaningful work placements, inspiring young minds and mentor young people. The impact has allowed the organisation to consider how we engage with young people, focusing on existing and potentially new employees and to help develop wider skills within the Heritage sector.
With the assistance of the Developing the Young Workforce colleagues we continue to make effective connections across Scotland and to ensure our culture and approaches are fit for purpose.
A part of this process is to work through the Investors in Young People framework. The skills, knowledge and tools developed in partnership with Developing the Young Workforce has allowed us to have a deeper understanding of how we can better recruit, develop and retain a dynamic, young workforce.
The future of HES is reliant on our ability to attract and retain talent, we will continue to focus on how we can develop as an organisation and become an employer of choice in this competitive market.
Sean Gallen, Head of Organisational Development, Historic Environment Scotland (HES)