Creative Apprentices success at The Bowes Museum

Creative Apprentices success at The Bowes Museum

The Bowes Museum is celebrating the success of its Creative Apprentices as one lands a job at another prestigious Museum and others are promoted.


Apprentices at the Barnard Castle based Museum, undertake a two year course.  In the first year they work within the Front of House Team and in the second year, the Exhibitions Team; undertaking administrative and technical work associated with delivering the Museum’s varied and exciting exhibitions programme.


They also take on secondments in other areas of operation within the Museum, including events management and marketing to get a full feel of the Museum’s environment.


Katie Irwin, former creative apprentice and Collections Research Assistant, has left the Museum to start a new job as an Exhibitions Assistant at The Ashmolean, Museum of Art and Archaeology at The University of Oxford.


She said: “I most enjoyed being able to work with people who are so enthusiastic about what they do; everybody within the Museum has been so supportive and generous in sharing their knowledge. 


“My experience working on a number of major exhibitions at The Bowes Museum prepared me with the skillset to meet the requirements of this new role.  While I am sad to be leaving the Museum, I am sure this will be an equally exciting and rewarding experience.”


Catherine Dickinson was named Apprentice of the Year in 2016, she’s now an Exhibitions Assistant.  Catherine said:What I enjoyed most about the apprenticeship was the variety in the job role, as well as being able to work and learn at the same time. Working in various departments around the museum helped me to finally realise what I wanted to do as a career and I’ve been lucky enough to continue doing this at The Bowes Museum ever since.


“Since my apprenticeship finished, I’ve been a Project Coordinator for a HLF funded project regarding a Dieric Bouts painting which we acquired, before becoming Exhibition Assistant in 2018, working on our varied exhibition programme.


“As someone who doesn’t have a degree, the apprenticeship scheme helped me massively to get into the Museum world.“







Hannah Fawcett’s another graduate of the scheme, she’s now the lead visitor assistant.  Hannah said: “I did my degree in fine art and knew that I wanted to stay within the arts industry. I’ve enjoyed working with other people and visitors and doing the apprenticeship drew out skills that I didn’t know I have.”


Sarah Webster is currently in the first year of her apprenticeship and she says: “Although apprenticeships can be tough, juggling full time employment with part time study, you need to be organised and committed to manage the two.  I think apprenticeships are a great addition or alternative to University as the amount of practical experience you get from them is something that employers really look out for and value.  I’m really looking forward to the second year, it’s going to be non-stop but exciting.”


Jen Chapman is in the final year of her apprenticeship, she chose this career path to build on the knowledge of the industry she’d gained during her fine art degree.  She says: “It made sense to get experience in the arts industry to help me further my career, I’ve chosen modules that are interesting and have enhanced my experience.”


One thing they resoundingly say in common is the answer to the question of whether someone should apply for an apprenticeship at the Museum and that’s a definite: “Do it!”


The Bowes Museum offers one Creative Apprenticeship annually over a two year period with Certificate training sessions provided by Sage Gateshead and Gateshead College.  The next intake is expected to be in October this year.

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