Throughout March and April Manchester Museum has been hosting our first two Hatch placements, Jessica Atkinson and Matthew Hanvey. Hatch is a partnership between UK Youth and KFC, delivering a skills-building and work readiness programme for local 16 to 25 year olds. Manchester Museum will be supporting up to 8 young people in total over the coming months and, thanks to Louise Watson, our Retail Manager at the Museum, Jessica and Matthew have had a very busy few weeks. As well as a description of the skills and experiences that been developed during the placements (written by me, Hannah Chalk, using information provided by Lou and based on a conversation with Matthew and Jessica), you will also find a series of photos, captioned by Jessica and Matthew, to document their time at the museum in their own words.
To develop practical retail and customer service skills, Matthew and Jessica have supported the pop-up shop, set up outside the museum on Bridgeford Street, as part of the weekly (Tuesdays) Levenshulme Market offer. Both completed the necessary PED (Pin Entry Device) training, and helped with the set-up, merchandising and pack-down for the stall. For both Matthew and Jessica, this has been really useful: “working on the market has been good experience, setting up… talking to customers”. They also received till training down the road at the Whitworth and have supported staff in the shop there too.
For some insight into the less public-facing aspects of retail work, Matthew and Jessica both attended a team meeting with our Preventative Conservator to discuss future retail purchases. For a museum setting, it is vital that the retail offer does not compromise the safety of the collections, particularly for perishables, seeds or food products; highlighting the importance of good housekeeping and stock maintenance in a museum setting. Matthew also attended supplier meetings with Emma, our Retail Buyer and Product Developer, and joined one of our online all staff meetings back in March.
As well as supporting Jessica and Matthew to develop their retail skills, Lou also arranged for them to see some of the other work at the museum. As well as behind the scenes tours with curators from the Herbarium, Entomology and Egyptology and time in the Vivarium, they also spent time with doing some practical housekeeping work with Audrey and worked with Karen, our Cultural Health and Wellbeing Assistant.
Matthew and Jessica both supported Karen to deliver craft activities with two of the groups she works with, and shadowed her as she continues to work with Murray, our therapy dog, to familiarise him with the building and colleagues as part of his training.
For both Matthew and Jessica, the experience has been both useful and enjoyable: in Jessica’s words: “I’ve enjoyed everything!” They both found it really useful to spend time working with Lou on the market and will no doubt be making good use of their retail and customer service skills in the future, but, hands down, Murray has been the highlight of their museum experience!