Generalists Have a Wealth of Powerful Transferable Skills: A Message to Anyone Who Wants to Work in the Heritage Sector

Policy Letters of Advice - Debate 2023

Dear Colleague,

In our careers, we often find ourselves at crossroads. Whether you’re a mid-career professional seeking opportunities for advancement or someone considering a change in direction, it’s crucial to explore how to navigate these transitions successfully.

Allow me to share my own journey, which has been a testament to the adaptability and resilience of professionals in the heritage sector. I have come to realise that our superpower lies in our ability to cultivate a generalist skill set, which can be invaluable in navigating the challenges of a rapidly changing landscape.

My own story began in corporate event and operations management, where I honed skills in project management. Little did I know that this experience would become the foundation for my future adventures in heritage. It was during my time at The National Lottery Heritage Fund that I recognised the true value of these transferable skills.

Transitioning into heritage was a significant leap into the unknown, but it opened up a world of possibilities. My background proved to be an asset, enabling me to offer crucial support to the Digital Skills for Heritage initiative among other projects I led. It was an eye-opening experience as I witnessed firsthand the transformative power of digital skills in preserving our heritage and making it accessible to all.

However, my journey didn’t end there. It was after my time with The Fund that I delved into another passion – accessibility and inclusion. Drawing from my experience and training enabled me to support others in creating inclusion, bridging gaps, and breaking down barriers.

To address the question of how to future-proof the heritage sector workforce, I believe the answer lies in nurturing and recognising the versatility of our skills. Embracing a generalist approach is the key to remaining adaptable and resilient. The heritage sector is dynamic, with ever-changing demands and opportunities. Your skills, regardless of your current role or industry, can be the bridge to future prospects.

As you stand at your own crossroads, remember that each experience, each skill acquired, has the potential to shape your future in ways you might not yet imagine. Don’t underestimate the power of transferable skills and the impact they can have on the heritage sector.

In conclusion, take risks, welcome change, and be proud of your generalist abilities. Your journey in the heritage sector has the potential to evolve and surprise you. Your superpower, your transferable skills, will undoubtedly be your guiding light.

Wishing you success, fulfilment, and endless inspiration on your journey ahead.

Kind Regards

Ruth Dench
Operations Lead, KultraLab