Historic Environment Scotland (HES), Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIFA) and SCVO have joined forces to support heritage organisations of all types to create new jobs for young, unemployed people though the Kickstart programme. 

They are looking for heritage organisations of all types, including voluntary, public and private sector bodies that can offer six months of meaningful work to a young unemployed person. Kickstart will cover minimum wage salary for 25 hours a week and an additional £1000 will be available for the employer to spend on training or equipment needed as part of the programme. The programme runs until December 2021 and jobs can start anytime within this period.   

The partnership of SCVO, HES and CIFA will offer additional support to employers and their Kickstart employees, including support in making an application to the programme, access to advice, training and peer support. 

Auchindrain’s experience

Here, Bob Clark, Director of the Auchindrain Township site in Argyllshares his experience of a similar Government initiative and how Kickstart can benefit Scotland’s wider heritage sector whilst providing much need opportunities for young people:

Auchindrain is an historic site museum in Argyll with 22 acres of category A listed rural dereliction and archaeology back to the Iron Age. It has had continuous occupation from the late medieval period, through until 1963.

You've all heard of the Highland clearances, where thousands of small communities were caught up by industrial, economic and social change in the 18th and 19th centuries. Well Auchindrain is the one that got away. It didn't get improved, and it bumbled on as a joint tenancy on an ancient antiquated model, until the 1960s, and just at the point where the last tenant was saying I've had enough there's no life to be had here, celebrated antiquarians like Sandy Fenton intervened, lobbying the then owner, the Duke of Argyll, for it to  be preserved. And so, it was, ending up in hands of an independent charity, The Auchindrain Trust.

These days, we are substantially supported by government funding, which comes through our partners Historic Environment Scotland (HES). We have a small team of office staff, curators and a team leader working on conservation and maintenance, who has decades of experience in traditional farming and looking after buildings.  To help us manage such a massive and complex site we need to be innovative and enterprising to secure resources from other sources

As such, in 2011, we got into partnership with SCVO on a similar scheme to Kickstart- the Community Jobs Scotland (CJS) programme, which has worked well for us, and we have supported 21 trainees in that time.

In terms of Auchindrain, our focus within a sparsely populated, rural part of mid Argyll, an area with almost no public transport services, started out with the need to maintain and conserve this massive site.

But when you're looking at 22 acres with such a relatively small staff, that's not an easy task. Which is why we bought into the great idea of the Community Jobs Scotland initiative – and now Kickstart.

We have also worked very closely with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) in supporting 16 to 18-year olds, as well as our local Job Centre. Through this, we have focused on a particular cohort within the young people sector: essentially what SDS describes as those who do not fall into the category of straightforward transition from school into further education or into university or apprenticeships. Nor, who need permanent care in the community. So, there is a gap between where a helping hand is required.

While we still technically advertise our jobs, we work with SDS and the job centre, and look for recommendations for young people they think we can support. At that point we will then go on the back of that to SCVO and the funding and a vacancy is unlocked for us, and we can bring that person in.

When we take a young person on, via the likes of the Kickstart scheme, our objective is to make sure that by the time they leave us (after a year with CJS, and with Kickstart, six months), they are employable, with the focus being on how to behave in a workplace.

Therefore, we're not as such trying to teach skills to a high level, because in six months under Kickstart - while still hugely beneficial to both parties - realistically you can't teach a great deal about professional or technical skills in that period. What we can do however, is to make sure that a young person has moved into a place where they understand how to talk to workmates; how to work; how to be tidy; how to work safely; how to talk to the boss and how to be punctual. How, essentially, to understand and adapt to the world of work.

They almost invariably gain something from us, and we are proud to play our part in helping develop young people and help them onto their career path. And here, we feel we have, in our rural area with a tiny population, had a very positive impact.

Kickstart is like Community Jobs Scotland in this respect. There’s also no significant money in it for us as employers. But where employers can benefit, aside from the satisfaction of supporting young people into work, is the fact it helps get things done. There is a deal to be done here between the employer and the programme. Therefore, we look to pick our roles and target our trainees towards doing work to which they can usefully contribute, so that the amount of work that we give out to people justifies the amount of time we put in to supporting, educating and training them, and then in helping them move on to the next job.

So, there is the deal. And while I would certainly encourage other heritage organisations to get involved with Kickstart, it’s important you consider what will work best for both you and the trainee over the period. And anyone wishing to follow up one to one with us on our experience to try out some ideas and see how they might work, we’re always open to that and will be happy to provide some informal advice.

For more information  on the  Kickstarter initiative for heritage see our website or contact: 

Cara Jones, CIFA, Cara.Jones@archaeologists.net 

Catherine Cartmell, HES Catherine.cartmell@hes.scot 

Moira Cuthbertson Moira.Cuthbertson@scvo.scot