Cornwall Museums Partnership
An apprentice has been using immersive technology to allow museum goers to time travel through Cornwall’s rich heritage.
Ellie Smith (pictured, right) began her apprenticeship with Cornwall Museums Partnership two years ago and has been an integral member of the team ever since. The 24-year-old has worked closely with the charity’s research and development department to bring together an exciting new virtual reality project for five museums around the county, which transports users to places like 19th Century St Agnes or to behind the helm of a merchant ship.
Initially providing administration support to the Coastal Timetripping scheme, which has been launched in partnership with Falmouth University and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, Ellie has taken on other areas of work including marketing and project management.
She said: “This apprenticeship has given me so many opportunities to learn new skills. I really wanted to go into the heritage sector so this was a great route into the industry, to learn some new skills and gain vital work experience. It wasn’t what I was expecting – in the best way possible.”
Ellie, from Penryn, applied for the apprenticeship in Business Administration after completing a degree at Exeter University’s Penryn campus. She worked with provider Cornwall Marine Network to complete the course and gain a Level 3 BTEC qualification and diploma. Working alongside the Cornwall Marine Network allowed Ellie to complete her training in a flexible way, taking part in sessions with an apprenticeship supervisor as opposed to the traditional one day a week in a classroom.
Amy Shakespeare (pictured, left), Innovation Manager with Cornwall Museums Partnership, has worked closely with Ellie since the start of her apprenticeship. With work on Coastal Timetripping increasing, the charity needed an apprentice that could hit the ground running and they were pleased with both the ease of taking Ellie on, and with the creative and dynamic skills she brought to the role.
“It has been amazing to have Ellie join our team, we couldn’t have completed this project without her,” said Amy. “We really didn’t expect her to be as brilliant as she is, she is at the next level. Through the apprenticeship, she identified areas that she wanted to develop and the elements of experience that she wanted to gain.
“Inclusivity is something that Ellie feels really passionate about and she supports other members of the team to incorporate new technology into their roles. Her work with us has been invaluable.”
This inclusivity also inspired Amy and Ellie to launch the Museums Immersive Network, bringing together museums and technology companies in a bid to encourage more collaboration between the two sectors. Ellie has so far organised two webinars for the network, with the second attracting over 300 participants from around the world.
Amy added: “The reward of watching someone like Ellie as she grows has been amazing. For me, this has changed my perception of apprenticeships. They can be incredibly useful to any type of job and sector and provide hands on experience that will support apprentices throughout their careers.”
Ellie’s role has become so vital to the organisation that she has now been offered a permanent position with the charity as an Innovation Officer.
“Cornwall Museums Partnership has been really supportive of me,” Ellie said. “The team is so keen to help apprentices to grow and find those next exciting opportunities. It is really great to be staying on with them, I have learnt a lot and I will hopefully keep learning.”