Birmingham’s Thinktank has been selected as the UK’s only science centre to work with the world renowned New York Hall of Science on a Science & Heritage Career Ladder (S&HCL) – a programme to encourage local young people to adopt careers in science, and within the museums world.
The S&HCL programme is now underway, and the first group of seven 16 – 18 year old trainees have begun their placements at the museum.
The principle for the S&HCL programme is simple; to encourage local young people to take up careers in science and learning by providing them with entry level part time work and training opportunities at the museum.
In 2007, Thinktank’s HR Manager was invited to the New York Hall of Science to learn how the programme works, and find out how the scheme could be adopted in Birmingham.
To recruit the 16 – 18 year old candidates for the programme, a team of staff from Thinktank visited local colleges, including Heartlands Sports College and City College.
“The response we had from young people was amazing,” said Catherine Price, HR Manager at Thinktank. “We received 63 applications in total, and selected the final seven through a very rigorous short-listing and interview process, using a number of the innovative interview techniques which we experienced first hand in New York.“
Throughout the four week summer programme currently underway, the young people are gaining experience in different departments of the museum and taking part in a structured training schedule including the introduction of peer-mentoring.
After the four week programme, three of the seven trainees will be able to take on permanent part time roles within the museum. These permanent positions have been created specifically for those on the S&HCL programme, and will provide opportunities for the young people to further develop their career within the museum – traditionally a difficult sector to break into without experience or a degree.
Catherine Price added: “We are really pleased that the candidates have now started with us, and hope this is the just the beginning of a sustainable S&HCL programme at Thinktank. We’ll take on more young people again next year, and it’s planned that the programme will form an important part of our recruitment strategy.”