Having begun with our first initial meeting in April, the Heritage Trust Network Youth Forum are excitedly building discussions and ideas on how to improve the inclusion of young people in the heritage sector. Made of 18-30 year olds, we have been meeting monthly and already we are planning projects that will soon be in fruition. To ensure these projects were as effective as they can be, the Youth Forum first decided on its aims and goals.
Aims and Goals
The Youth Forum has four key goals to showcase its core values and alongside each goal to help kickstart progress, there are tangible outcomes. It is as follows:
1. Be the youth voice for Heritage Trust Network
a. Create recommendations for Network members
b. Have a presence at the Network Conference in November 2022
c. Engage directly with members (through volunteering/on their boards)
2. Improve engagement with heritage for young people
a. Provide a community for other young people
b. Outreach to school leavers
c. Set up events for young people
d. Create a blog
e. Create a newsletter
3. Produce resources for the heritage sector
a. Create a template on how to co-design projects
4. Be inclusive: Heritage is for everyone
a. Continue to welcome new members to the youth forum
b. Continue to co-design the youth forum
c. Listen to all ideas and opinions in the youth forum
These goals and outcomes capture providing a platform to young voices in the heritage sector and ensuring they have the support needed to succeed. Many of our members in the Youth Forum spoke of their struggles to find roles and their feet in the sector, so this was at the forefront when deciding the goals.
To further our vision and create some action the Youth Forum has created subgroups on the following topics: Newsletter and blog; Conference and Outreach.
Newsletter and blog subgroup
As a group, we decided that having tailored communication for young people in the heritage sector was a priority. We wanted to improve engagement with heritage for young people, hence our second goal as stated above. A newsletter and blog dedicated to this age group will mean for young people it is easier for them to find information. They will feel energised and inspired to join the heritage sector with one less barrier for them to jump over.
In our newsletter we have decided to include a section on entry-level jobs, internships, and volunteering opportunities; tips and advice columns; upcoming events across the country, and the latest blog. These sections will allow young people to immediately gain information on how to get involved with heritage as a young person and learn about current events in the sector so they feel engaged and included.
Our blog will be longer pieces of writing and will cover a range of topics. We have brainstormed wanting blogs on these topics (but not limited to): ‘A day in the life’ of a young person working in the heritage sector, current events (such as cost of living, climate change, and anti-racism), people’s experiences on university/further education heritage courses, and interviews. If you are a young person and would be interested in writing a blog for us or being interviewed, please do reach out!
Forum members also believe the group should have a presence at the Heritage Trust Network conference (taking place this year in November partially online and partially in Caernarfon) as it is an important date in the Network’s calendar.
Being at the conference would meet aims 1b,1c, 4b, 4c and help inform actions towards aims 1a, 3a, 4b by listening to member feedback we hear at the networking event.
Youth Forum members hope to attend the conference as delegates and as session presenters, making full use of the benefits online and in person hosting provides.
The Youth Forum will host a careers panel with 4 professionals from across the sector, paying attention to employer type, work style and of course the role itself. This session will be chaired by a forum member with space to hear a bit about each panellist’s background, the skills that helped them get there and the key thoughts they think aspiring and emerging professionals should know, all followed by an open Q&A session.
Later in the conference Youth Forum members have been invited to present to delegates to introduce the panel and highlight current progress. To make sure as many voices are heard as possible the panel aims to produce a video to play in the presentation which will go into a bit of depth from what members hope to get out of the scheme.
Second to the Conference, the Forum has been asked to present at a summer meeting of the Scottish Community Heritage Conversations about the format of the Youth Panel and how it supports young people’s initiative and the need to develop transferable skills within a Heritage setting. Any feedback received at the meeting will be fed through at the next meeting and can be used to inform our co-designed forum to be more productive and, of course, our appearances at the Heritage Trust Network conference later on in the year.
Last but not least, to further engage young people, we have our outreach subgroup. Their aim is to support and reach out to young people at every stage of their journey in entering the sector.
They have an exciting idea of hosting speed mentoring sessions, allowing young people to ask questions with a professional and receive advice. And they plan to set up a Resource Library which will contain useful information on courses, degrees, job boards, heritage organisations, and more.
With the natural overlap, this subgroup will work closely with the others, joining in with the advice and role advertisements in the newsletter and expanding this information into social media, particularly visual social media such as TikTok.
Round up and how to get involved
Thank you for reading about our work so far in the Heritage Trust Network Youth Forum! Despite setbacks formed by the pandemic and more sector specific issues including skills shortages, the Youth Forum’s motivation exemplifies the want by younger people to get involved and create their own relevance within heritage spaces. We are keen to get going and this is only the beginning of the Youth Forum.
For any 18-30 year olds wanting to get involved with the Heritage Trust Network Youth Forum, we would love to welcome you to the team. To join and read more information, please see more information on how to join the Youth Forum. It is an excellent chance to brush up on transferable skills and contribute to projects with an impact.
We hope you keep an eye on our progress and watch us grow. Thanks to the Network so far for their wonderful support!
Top image: screenshot of a word cloud created by the Youth Forum with ideas about what young people can bring to the heritage sector.
This article was written by members of the Youth Forum which is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thank you to players of the National Lottery.