Wirral Met College and National Museums Liverpool join forces to engage local communities

It is well known that museums and colleges deliver world-class public services to local communities, inspiring and educating young and old alike.

Now in a unique partnership, two are joining forces to inspire and engage the next generation.

Wirral Met College and National Museums Liverpool have committed to an educational partnership, which builds a programme of engagement and training, that will see students and local community members, actively informing exhibition content, taking part in workshops, talks, curriculum-based visits and work experience placements.

The partnership will ensure that the local community becomes immersed in the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.

Reengaging local communities

According to national government data visits to NML museums since emerging from COVID pandemic, although on the increase, are roughly a third less than those experienced in 2019 pre-pandemic, a trend reflected across DMSC sponsored museums.

By triangulating shared links within the local community, the collaboration aims to widen the scope of participation for young people and families through the discovery of new cultural capital, inspiring a new generation of young people and families, who may not have previously visited a museum or may not even be aware of what is available.

Students at risk of becoming NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) as well as students, who have recently returned to learning will also be offered a programme of support and access to workshops. The partnership will also deliver a programme aimed specifically at helping adults re-engage with education, raising awareness and developing local knowledge and skills.

Creating a more diverse, flexible workforce, which can bring new skills, energy and ideas into and across the sector

The partnership will also see the creation of a range of work placements, traineeships, apprenticeships and volunteering opportunities and jobs focused on providing insight into this exciting sector as well as increasing skills and diversity.

It has already started to make a difference for Wirral Met’s English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students who, have taken part in cultural awareness sessions to inform exhibitions, with access to resources, ancient artefacts, artist workshops, and talks by NML. 

Prep for Life students, with moderate to complex learning needs will be treated to bespoke sensory tours of museum exhibitions, which in turn will also inform future exhibitions forming a virtuous circle of collaboration.

Claire Benjamin, Head of Learning & Participation at National Museums Liverpool said, “Establishing this educational partnership is so important to us. By involving Wirral Met students in the planning and creation of our gallery re-developments and programmes we can ensure that they resonate with our audiences.

This is about future skills development – supporting a more inclusive, well-rounded approach to recruitment, engagement and co-creation, which can bring new skills, energy and ideas into and across the sector.”

Sue Higginson, Principal and CEO of Wirral Met College said, “We are very pleased to be the Further Education partner for Liverpool Museums and this is already making a difference.

“Our museums provide a world of history, heritage and culture that we have embraced as part of our wider role in teaching and learning.  We have no doubt this will make a difference to our students and their families, and I look forward to working with our museums in this exciting partnership.”

Image: (L-R) Christine Carter, Vice Principal Wirral Met College, Phil Jones Vice Principal Wirral Met College, and Clare Benjamin, Head of Learning & Participation at National Museums Liverpool

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