ECH became a Cultural Heritage training centre in 2012, assessing QCF level 2 Diploma in Cultural Heritage. We have three in house QCF Assessors and an Internal Qualify Assessor. We also assess a number of external projects and organisation to support their students in successfully achieving this work based qualification. 

Heritage Leadership Programme – Skills for the Future

Running since 2014, as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Skills for the Future programme, five cohorts of Community Heritage Leaders have passed through the programme. Ten trainees have completed their year long training. Nine have been successful in gaining a QCF diploma level 3 in Cultural Heritage.


An emphasis has been on recruiting participants from currently under represented communities within the heritage sector (this includes BAMER communities). The programme has also helped to address the current gap for qualified community heritage project managers and co-ordinators. 


As part of the programme the ten trainees completed the L3 Diploma in Cultural Heritage and amassed many new skills including training in oral history techniques, how to co-ordinate and develop projects, exhibition and web design, learning about the uses of social media and how to use new digital technologies in  heritage projects. Essential training in fundraising skills and undertaking training in recruiting, engaging, mobilising and supporting new heritage volunteers to accessing vital networking opportunities gave the trainees a fully rounded portfolio of skills. The aim being that each trainee leaves ECH ‘job ready’ with a clear understanding of their own heritage pathway.   


As part of the programme each trainee undertook a month long work placement in one of ECH’s partner heritage organisations on the programme. This helped broaden the trainee’s understanding of the range of careers open to them. Trainees have completed their placements at Valence House Museum and Local Studies Library and Archives, London Metropolitan Archives, and Redbridge Museum. 

The feedback from these partner organisations has been overwhelmingly positive. Asked to what extent the trainees contributed to the organisation, one provider responded: 


‘Their skills and experience contributed a great deal. They got involved in all aspects of collecting, preserving and making accessible the collections that we hold.’  


Asked if they felt the trainee was ready for working in the sector, another provider said the trainee was:


‘Very competent and had a good understanding of the sector. Very enthusiastic and quick to learn, which will come in useful.’


All placement providers have agreed that the trainees were a positive addition to their teams, and that all trainees arrived prepared and ready to work. Crucially, 100% of responses from the providers stated that they would employ the trainee. 


For the trainees, the placement experience of using alternative industry standard systems and broadening skill sets was seen as a particular asset. One trainee said:


 ‘Whilst on my placement I learnt in greater detail about archiving and using museum and archiving databases such as AdLib.

I also got to undertake some conservation cleaning work and gain skills in this area. ECH uses a CALM database and does not hold objects or originals,

so opportunities for conservation work are rare’



Ensuring the placement providers are able to offer something different to fill the gaps of CVs is seen as a great positive by trainees. 



In addition to personal projects, trainees had responsibility for various aspects of ongoing projects and supported the work of the wider ECH team. This included creating materials for workshops, performing interviews, transcribing, editing, delivering workshops, reminiscence sessions, public events, design work, interpretation and a variety of other activities. The following represent a selection of these projects: The Silvertown Explosion; Museum on Wheels; Healthy Heritage Walking Tours; East End to Essex: Jewish Migration Routes; Voices of Leytonstonia; 30 Years of Living with HIV; Stadium of Stories; A Walk in the Park: Memories of South Park; Snapshots Through Time; The War Hospital: Whipps Cross and the First World War; Folk of Forest Gate; Plashet Park; Leyton Orient. 


Trainees have also had the opportunity to develop thematic community events and activities targeting people who do not traditionally engage with heritage provision during, for example, Disability History Month, LGBT History Month, Refugee Week and Black History Month. 


The trainees own feedback and reflection on their experiences of the traineeship is a testament to the success of the programme;


 ‘I think it will make me a more desirable candidate because I have been able to draw lots of my skills and previous experience

together into a single job or project. This makes it easier to  communicate those skills to future employers.’ 


‘The traineeship offers a broad range of experience within a heritage context. Not only have my skills improved in several areas of work,

but the traineeship has given me the confidence in my own abilities when approaching tasks.’



Success for the trainees is evident in the jobs they have secured: Community Curator at the National Army Museum, Project Development Officer at People First Liverpool on their three year HLF project, Heritage Officer at Brent Museum, Sound archivist at Café Oto, Outreach and Reminiscence Office for Alzheimer’s Society, Archivist at The Royal Opera House, and Archivist for Sky News. 


So alongside extensive practical work-based training and the experience of developing, delivering and producing outcomes on Eastside’s community based heritage projects, confident and able graduates learn the skills they need to be ready to work in the sector.


This is the second HLF Skills for the Future programme. Our first programme delivered a nine months training programme for sixteen trainees, many of whom are now working in the heritage sector or have progressed to future education.



We can tailor your training for your project for individuals, community groups, museum’s or art groups.

For further information: contact Judith Garfield MBE 0208 5533116 or email  

Eastside Community Heritage, Parish Centre, Cardinal Heenan Centre, 326 High Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1QP

Registered charity (1071668) and company limited by guarantee (3509623)

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