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Creative & Digital Media Foundation Apprenticeship: The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum


The Scottish Creative Economy is booming with excellent opportunities for careers across creative industries. The Foundation Apprenticeship in Media gives pupils the opportunities to develop a range of practical and soft skills to prepare for work or further study within the sector. The team at Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum reflect on their time with foundation apprentices.

The project

In 2019, The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum supported its first Foundation Apprenticeship, taking on three Creative & Digital Media Foundation Apprentices. The museum Director, Caroline Mathers, was delighted to work alongside young talent who helped revitalise and diversify the workplace. In partnership with Forth Valley College, the pupils worked for 6 hours every week and participated in creating social media posts and were encouraged to create their own digital projects.

Challenges and successes

The Foundation Apprentice programme gave us the opportunity to incorporate fresh ideas into our social media strategy and enabled us to have a much more youthful approach, embracing media formats we had not explored before.

• Working with the apprentices helped us connect with younger audiences and better understand how they envision a small museum utilising social media.

• Our biggest challenge was not having the financial capacity to secure all apprentices with laptops or tablets. As this was an apprenticeship focussing on digital media, some tasks were more difficult to execute without having the right technology.

The impact it has made

The experience has left a long-lasting impact within our museum.

• Having extra talent to help with tasks was useful and helped us develop good quality digital media in a cost-effective way.

• We are constantly seeking new opportunities to engage with young people in our community and the FA programme offered us a way to do this.

• The collaboration was highly beneficial for both parties and we hope to offer more opportunities to young people in the future.

Lessons learned

Initially, we were given a set of tasks that the
apprentices must complete, however, soon we
realised that there is a lot of room for flexibility.
We were able to alter the tasks so it could benefit
both their education process and our museum.

For example, as they were given a task to produce a short documentary, we suggested that they investigate a topic which the museum could learn from. This led Adam and Emma to explore a challenge that The Stirling Smith has faced for a long time – young people disengagement. They invited their peers for interviews and soon provided us with solid evidence for improvement.


We would suggest designating one person from
your staff to act as a point of contact for the
apprentices. It can be an intimidating and
stressful situation for the young people to be in,
so having someone they know they can turn to is
beneficial for all.

• Taking part in foundation apprenticeships is a
great chance for you to network with other
organisations who are participating in this
project. Collaborate with them and their
apprentices on joint projects. Wonderful
opportunity for all to grow.

• Be pro-active and take your time to get to know
your apprentices. This is a unique opportunity for
you to learn about their interests and values.
Great for market research and keeping your
organisation up to date with the latest trends

Further information

If you would like more information about this project please contact:

Caroline Mathers, Director, Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Dumbarton Road, Stirling, FK8 2RQ, 01786 471 917:

Enija Zelmene, Digital Media Producer, Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, 07718843969:


MGS Casestudy Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum (PDF, 286KB)