Summer Reflections – Welcoming New Faces Into Our Community
The Crannog team reflect on their new positions as SVQ assessors.
Since the beginning of August, we have welcomed five new apprentices into our Crannog Community, who will work towards an SVQ in Customer Service. This new project aims to help us in our ambition to become a fully-fledged assessment centre. This is sector-leading, and throughout the next few blogs, we will be sharing some reflections from six members of staff, who are working towards an assessment qualification. This time, we hear from Rachel and Jason.
My name is Rachel and I am one of the Community Archaeologists for the Scottish Crannog Centre. I was really excited at being asked to become an SVQ Assessor candidate for the museum; it is a fantastic opportunity to learn, and with the future prospect of designing our own modern apprenticeship based on museum practice, it’s so full of potential!
I have really enjoyed the first two months working with our five young apprentices – they all have skills and strengths that they have brought to the team, which has been invigorating for all of us, especially as we are working in such unusual times. Having fresh enthusiasm on site is great; their new ideas and young voices have enlivened our own museum interpretation and strengthened our roles within both the local and Crannog community. It has also highlighted new strengths in other staff members, and we are learning from each other, which in turn helps to spread leadership throughout the organisation. I personally have learned from other assessor candidates on how they handle and resolve problematic situations, how to encourage progress without forcing it, and how to provide support but enable independence. It has certainly been challenging for me, but there is a great sense of value to the work; we have seen such a change in these young people, from hardly saying a word on their first day, to delivering complete museum tours, joking with customers, and the trip advisor reviews have been off the scale!
My personal highlights so far have been working with Daisy, Izzie, Georgia and Toby to deliver the renowned (almost infamous) Crannog puppet shows and watching them make it truly their own – it gets funnier every time! A special moment was when, working with one of our beloved volunteers Dr Renate Gertz (University of Edinburgh), who comes on a weekend as a Gaelic singer, she began to teach Izzie and Georgia to learn a local song, and even a bit of a Gaelic tweed waulking song! Watching her work with the apprentices and teach them a Gaelic song or two has been brilliant, “the pronunciation is difficult but she (Izzie) is picking it up nicely, and she is so keen to get it right” and adds a new element to how we tell the Crannog story.
My name is Jason and I am the textile interpreter at the Scottish Crannog Centre. From a personal perspective, the individual objects in the museum are important because they make the values that underpinned the Crannog community of 500 BC tangible. As a collection of objects, they reinforce these values, which in turn are reflected in our modern Crannog community in many ways, such as when we welcomed five new apprentices at the beginning of August, who after a few shy introductions threw themselves into the daily life of the museum.
The Crannog community of the past were skilled craftspeople, as evidenced by remnants of iron production, woodworking and the crucible (perhaps used for making fine, small objects) to name but a few. It is easy to imagine an apprenticeship system, all those years ago, which is mirrored in the present day; watching our apprentices learn drop spinning, woodworking, cooking technology and many other skills that connect directly to the past and then communicating, with passion, to our visitors. It has been inspiring to watch them grow and watching them take ownership of and pride in their presentations and projects.
As an assessor-candidate, I feel very privileged to be part of this process. We are living through very strange, uncertain times, but working with the apprentices creates a sense of rootedness to the present moment, seeing them flourish and thoroughly immersing themselves in Crannog life. As we work towards our museum becoming an assessment centre, not only are the apprentices learning about ancient skills, but they are learning, to a national standard, how to look after our visitors for their entire visit. This has its challenges, but as our museum is underpinned by values of community, social justice and working together to solve problems, any challenges are seen as a learning experience, helping us to all to reflect and reaffirm our working methods. Personal highlights have been seeing the apprentices working in pairs to interpret each area, bringing fresh energy and enthusiasm and peer to peer learning of the traditional crafts has been very gratifying to watch. Their positive attitude has been constantly reflected in our TripAdvisor reviews and it is wonderful to be part of their journey.
(Funding for the apprenticeship programme kindly supported by the Gannochy Trust, Museums Galleries Scotland, Perth & Kinross Council and SSE Renewables)