Icon's Impact: Developing a new skills programme of events
What was the goal we set out to achieve
Icon is committed to supporting members in developing the full range of their professional skills. We started delivering training events focused on work-related skills to complement the excellent work of Icon’s Groups and Networks in organising specialist conservation skills training and lectures throughout the year.
Having run successful events as Health & Safety for Conservators and our Business Skills Foundation programme over the last few years, our goal was to develop this existing programme of events further to enable us to more effectively support the continuing professional development of our members.
What did we do
We first sought to establish our existing training offer, and to review member feedback from previous training and events we have run, alongside feedback from Icon’s recent membership surveys. We then took time to research potential topics and reached out to several Icon members and external providers in order to develop new training events. The topics we focused on included: business skills, grant writing, professional writing, and interview skills.
What was the outcome
We recognised that there were a wide range of programmes that were on offer, many of which are free to access. However, we also noted that there was a significant appetite for the development of interactive and hands-on programmes that were able to directly draw on the nuances of operating as a conservation professional.
From this we identified several new training programmes, including “Write a Business Plan with Andrew Evans”, “Writing for Publication led by Dr Hélia Marçal”, “Grant Writing with Emma Chaplin”, “Job Interview Skills with Martine Croxall”, and “Presentation Skills led by Sue Carruthers”.
Over 300 members took part in the events programme over the course of the year.
What did we learn
We firstly recognised that members value these programmes and the opportunity to develop their broader professional skills, and that Icon is well placed to provide this support.
All of our events programme continued to be delivered remotely, and this was certainly valued by delegates – enabling us to attract delegates from across the UK and some from further afield - this has also offered us the chance to share recordings of events with those who might not be able to attend the day itself.
Through the successful series of events in 2021/22, we gathered some great feedback and ideas from attendees to build further on this initial success.
What we will do next
In 2022/23 we hope to expand the roster of events even further. We identified there is scope to delve more into marketing and social media skills by offering advanced programmes as well as create different more specialised events on areas touched upon in the “Business Skills Foundation” courses.
It has also become clear to us that there is a strong opportunity to for Icon to develop programmes focused on collections care for conservation volunteers as well those focused on the underpinning principles of conservation to support those working in broader built-heritage and craft based roles where there is a significant amount of crossover in professional skills and practice.
We have also identified that there is a good opportunity for Icon to investigate how we can dovetail our desire to develop our training offer further whilst also providing effective support to those professional conservators working in built-heritage and craft based areas of the profession