Modern conservation needs theory – and business skills

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 1 July 2000




(2000), "Modern conservation needs theory – and business skills", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 32 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Modern conservation needs theory – and business skills

Modern conservation needs theory – and business skills

Keywords Training, Museums

Conservation training courses need to evolve to meet the challenges facing conservators today, according to a report commissioned by the Museums and Galleries Commission (MGC) and published by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES).

The report, Nurturing Conservators, shows that conservation is an increasingly popular career option for young graduates. However, because of changes in employment patterns, today's conservators are forced to become self-employed or to turn to private sector practice for work. This trend creates a need for training in a range of business’management skills to enable them to succeed in the marketplace.

The research also shows that first degree conservation studies are replacing HNC and HND courses in response to a need for more theory. Almost 150 UK residents graduate each year from university-level courses explicitly related to conservation of the nation's moveable heritage. Conservation internships are an important factor in increasing the likelihood of permanent employment.

Val King, training officer at the Museums and Galleries Commission, commented:

We are encouraged to see so many of today's graduates seeking careers which will help to conserve the nation's heritage. This research aims to support training courses by helping them to review the way in which they can best support individuals pursuing careers in conservation. The report shows that a combination of theory and practical work is required; for example, those who have pursued practical internships during or after their course stand a much better chance of permanent employment than those who do not.

Nick Jagger, IES research fellow and author of the report, added:

More than one in four of recent conservation graduates are self-employed, almost as many now as are employed in the "traditional" national not-for-profit sector. A further 19 per cent are employed in the private sector. This change in employment patterns away from the traditional sector also makes it very difficult for recent graduates to gain initial practical work experience without an internship.

The report, Nurturing Conservators: The Early Career Paths of Conservation Graduates by N.’Jagger and J. Aston (IES Report 362, 1999, ISBN 1-85184-291-8, £17.50) may be purchased from Grantham Book Services Ltd, Isaac Newton Way, Alma Park Industrial Estate, Grantham NG31 9SD, UK. Tel: +44(0)1476 541080; Fax: +44(0)1476 541061.

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