Careers for All: Leeds learning project makes history with 'museum Oscars' win

A life-changing learning project giving young people with additional educational needs the chance to work with a spectacular collection of historic museum exhibits has scooped a prestigious national award.
Leeds City Museum.Leeds City Museum.
Leeds City Museum.

Careers for All, run by Leeds Museums and Galleries was named Museums and Heritage Award Learning Programme of the Year 2020 for providing young people with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) with an exciting stepping stone into the world of work.

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One of the UK’s top industry gongs, the Museums and Heritage Awards celebrate examples of best practice and innovation from museums across the country.

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This year’s awards were presented online by Di Lees, Director General of the Imperial War Museum, who praised Leeds Museums and Galleries for delivering “incredibly fantastic work.”

Using museum resources and objects from the city’s world class collection, Careers for All gives participants the opportunity to get practical experience and careers support, doing everything from putting together a CV to planning and curating their own exhibitions and displays.

Last year a partnership with the Swarthmore Education Centre saw students working with the scheme develop an exhibition on 100 years of Leeds United and use Egyptian artefacts to explore how computer game World of Warcraft draws on ancient civilisations.

The programme is funded by the Eranda Rothschild Foundation through the Real World Science Partnership with the National History Museum.

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Kate Fellows, Leeds Museums and Galleries’ head of learning and access, said: “We are thrilled to have won this prestigious award for our meaningful work experience programme for young people with additional needs. It’s the museum Oscars, so very exciting for us all.”

“Working alongside young people to help build their skills, knowledge and understanding around the workplace had been immensely rewarding and we couldn’t have done it without all the partnerships across the education and heritage sectors, the funding from the Eranda Rothschild Foundation and the support of the Natural History Museum.

Kate added: "It’s a brilliant testament to all the hard work and dedication of our staff teams and partners and the talent of the young people themselves.”

Last year Careers for All supported 15 young people with SEND into long term work placements across Leeds Museums and Galleries, also working with 24 specialist settings, schools and college across Yorkshire and engaging 200 pupils in outreach workshops.

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Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Our museums and galleries are so much more than visitor attractions and the work the team does behind-the-scenes makes a profound difference to our city’s young people

“I would like to congratulate everyone involved in winning this prestigious award. It’s a remarkable achievement and a real example of the life-changing power of culture and the arts.”

This marks the second year in a row that Leeds Museums and Galleries have won a Museums and Heritage Award, with the Leeds Curriculum bringing home Educational Initiative of the Year at last year’s ceremony.


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