Support the Future Talent Programme

Help us to empower new voices within the heritage sector

A man, smiling, in a meeting room, giving a presentation on his laptop.
Short-term placements will provide training opportunities across a variety of roles in the heritage sector and our organisation. © Historic England

We're raising funds for Historic England's Future Talent programme.

This exciting new initiative provides opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to embark on fulfilling careers in the heritage sector.

Diversity in the Heritage Sector

The heritage sector faces a pressing challenge in the form of a pronounced lack of diversity, failing to reflect the rich tapestry of our society.

This underrepresentation hampers the sector's ability to truly connect with and represent the diverse communities it serves. It also restricts the range of perspectives and experiences that contribute to the preservation and interpretation of our cultural heritage.

To address this issue, we're seeking funding to create inclusive pathways, provide equal opportunities, and foster a sense of belonging for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds.

Together, we can unlock a wealth of untapped talent and ensure that our heritage sector becomes a more inclusive, dynamic, and representative force in safeguarding and celebrating our collective history.

The Future Talent Programme

As part of Historic England's efforts to address this, in 2023 we launched the Future Talent Programme, with two types of placements on offer:

  • Emerging Talent Placements
  • Step Up Placements

The placements empower individuals to develop the skills and connections needed for further employment.

Their journey, within Historic England and beyond, paves the way for a successful lifelong career supporting our nation's historic places and cultural heritage.

A man in a field teaching surveying techniques to a woman.
A Historic Environment Specialist Placement training in survey techniques. © Historic England

Emerging Talent Placements

This initiative offers short work-based training, lasting 4 - 12 weeks in Historic England's offices for young people from three priority groups:

  • People from Black, Asian and/or minority ethnic backgrounds
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Those disadvantaged by their social or economic circumstances

These training opportunities allow young people to develop the skills they need to secure work in the heritage sector. Participants receive a bursary to cover living expenses during their training.

We've already provided 17 placements and have ambitious plans to extend this opportunity further in the coming years and partner with other organisations to host future placements.

Continuing with a Step Up trainee placement

While short-term training placements are a great start, there's a risk that people may still abandon their heritage sector aspirations due to a lack of paid job opportunities. This is where the Step Up trainee placements can help.

After completing an Emerging Talent placement, participants are then able to continue their career with a salaried, six-month Step Up trainee placement.

By providing a longer learning opportunity, with a living wage salary, we can enable these young people to build and hone their skills, experience and networks at Historic England and beyond. This is a vital stepping stone to securing long-term employment within the heritage sector.

The first two Step Up placements, kindly funded by The Mercers' Company, will work on two areas:

  • the Heritage Action Zones programme, helping Historic England to breath new life into old places that are rich in heritage and full of promise
  • the Heritage and Wellbeing strategy, exploring how heritage can boost people's wellbeing by providing a sense of cultural identity, social bonding and personal fulfillment.

Donate to support the Future Talent Programme

As we continue this important work, we are actively seeking funding for numerous placements over the next three years.

Each Emerging Talent Placement requires £4,000 of funding and each Step Up Placement requires £15,000 of funding.

Please contact us for further information on how to support the programme, or simply donate via our website.

Project partners

We're working with a range of partners to help these programmes reach underrepresented groups within the heritage sector:

  • The Social Mobility Foundation, which supports young people from low-income backgrounds in their journey from graduation to their first professional roles.
  • Blueprint for All, who foster inclusivity and create opportunities for all, regardless of race or background.
  • The Leonard Cheshire Foundation, which is dedicated to breaking down barriers and providing opportunities for disabled individuals in the UK and worldwide.
  • Career Ready, who are empowering young people to reach their full potential and showcasing their talents for social mobility.
  • Babassa, who work with young people from traditionally underrepresented groups in and around Bristol to build confidence, develop skills, connect with employers and mentors and access workplace experiences.

We are continuing to grow our charity partners, particularly those who focus on particular geographic areas.

We are immensely grateful for the support we've received from The Mercers' Company, which is generously funding four Emerging Talent placements and six Step Up placements between 2023 - 2027.