Skills investment helps iconic history museum build bright future

Skills investment helps iconic history museum build bright future

The North East’s most popular open-air museum is investing in the future of its workforce after taking advantage of a free business skills programme.

Investing in workforce development is a smart move for any business wanting to secure their future and remain competitive. North East companies of all sizes have done just that, by signing up to Go>Grow, a regional skills and enterprise programme led by Gateshead College in partnership with 30 local training providers. 

Launched after the college secured £15m from the European Social Fund through the Education and Skills Funding Agency, the programme enables North East businesses to take advantage of free training to develop their workforce.  

Now one of the region’s most iconic attractions is benefiting from Go>Grow as it steps up plans for major expansion.

County Durham-based Beamish, The Living Museum of the North, has enrolled its staff onto a series of free Go>Grow courses delivered by Gateshead College. Staff have completed courses in several areas, including search engine optimisation (SEO) and Microsoft applications.  

The training is part of a wider plan by Beamish to transform the museum and create a range of new ways for people to experience the heritage of the North East. A £10.9m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund is supporting the £18m “Remaking Beamish” project, which will see several new attractions emerge including a reconstructed 1950s town and the recreation of a Great North Road coaching inn, The Three Tuns, which once stood at Scotch Corner.

The idea behind the project is to attract more people to Beamish, create more jobs and equip staff with the skills to give visitors a memorable experience.

Michelle Lagar, Remaking Beamish project officer (skills), said: “For a museum steeped in history, we’re very excited for the future. We are currently gearing up for a period of significant expansion and aim to create 95 jobs and up to 50 apprenticeships with our Remaking Beamish project.

“The training delivered by Gateshead College was tailored to our needs. These bespoke courses have been well received by the staff that attended and they are now keen to apply what they have learnt in their job roles. The main aim for us all is to continue to provide the best possible experience for visitors.”

Gateshead College said it was proud to help such an iconic North East museum through its next phase of growth.

Ivan Jepson, director of business development at Gateshead College, said: “We designed bespoke training to specifically meet the needs of the organisation and its customers following detailed meetings and discussions with the Beamish team. The feedback was fantastic and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the organisation in the near future.

“Our aim is always to work closely with organisations to support their business success and development.” 

The training is being delivered by Gateshead College and Amacus as part of a wider skills programme for Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Venues (NCGV), which includes the Baltic, Sage Gateshead, Newcastle Theatre Royal and City Hall. These organisations are working in partnership with Gateshead College to ensure staff are equipped with the right level of skills to support visitors and boost audience numbers.  

Go>Grow training is structured around a programme of courses for start-ups or small businesses looking to widen their skills base or employers who want to upskill or strengthen their workforce.

Courses are also available to support people who are looking to get back into work, or those at risk of redundancy. For more details, visit www.gogrow.org.uk.