Paul Mellon Centre Graduate Traineeships

  • 29 May 2024

We have recently introduced two new graduate training programmes at the Paul Mellon Centre (PMC): one in the archives and library team and the other in the digital team. The two programmes are structured differently, but both are designed to provide important training experiences and bridge the gap between graduating from university with an undergraduate degree and entering the world of work or further education.

Digital Marketing Trainee, Shai Mitchell filming the reel for Tudor Liveliness at Westminster Abbey,

The digital traineeship, with the job title Digital Content Assistant (Graduate Trainee), recognises the frustrations of recent graduates leaving university with little or no work experience, which even entry level jobs usually still require, and where ways of gaining this experience are often limited to volunteering. We aim to bridge this gap and enable graduates to take up one of the many competitive roles in the arts, which at the time of writing also frequently require a degree. The role is an eighteen-month contract with the last six months of the contract partly focusing on a guided job search.

The archives and library traineeship, with the job title Archives & Library Assistant (Graduate Trainee), provides individuals who already have an interest in the field twelve months' paid work experience. During this time postholders receive on-the-job training across a range of archival and professional library tasks The experience is designed to help individuals determine whether they wish to pursue a career in the field. It is also a prerequisite for many of the UK postgraduate qualifications in library, archive or information management. The Archives & Library Assistant (Graduate Trainee) post provides a pathway to a career in the information professions.

Both graduate traineeships are designed as a route to entering the working world, or pursuing an additional qualification, and are part of our strategic thinking around the role the PMC’s staff can play in sharing our professional knowledge and creating career pathways through the different areas of our work in the organisation. By the time each trainee has completed their contract with us, they are equipped with the tools required for finding a suitable role beyond PMC or applying for their next training opportunity.

In July and September 2022 our inaugural PMC graduate trainees began their contracts. From hundreds of applicants Shai Mitchell and Hannah Jones were selected to be our first Digital and Marketing Assistant (Graduate Trainee) and Archives & Library Assistant (Graduate Trainee) respectively.

Hannah’s post was a twelve-month contract aimed at helping her to gain the experience required for an archives or library masters degree. Shai’s post was an eighteen-month contract aimed at helping her to gain the experience required for roles in digital or marketing departments in not-for-profit organisations, in particular those in the arts.

Shai has now gone on to become Visitor Experience and Marketing Officer for the Museum of Brands and Hannah is in the process of completing her MA in Archives and Records Management at University College London.

Shai said of the traineeship:

"My time as a graduate trainee at the PMC was an invaluable launchpad into the arts and culture sector. It provided me with so much training and support in navigating the early stages of my career in a highly competitive industry. The role itself also gives you the freedom to nurture your creative skills in digital content production. A memorable experience was filming an Instagram Reel in the BFI national archive to promote Kirsty Dootson’s latest book – being treated to a personal tour afterwards was a bonus!"

Hannah said of the traineeship:

"The Archives & Library Graduate Traineeship has been an excellent pathway into the profession. Throughout the traineeship, I participated in a diverse range of professional tasks and training sessions which provided me with a solid foundation, understanding and practical experience of what is involved in a career working in both archives and libraries, and I am now studying for an MA in Archives and Records Management at UCL. One of the most memorable aspects was the opportunity to visit other institutions and connect with fellow trainees, including the Guardian News and Media Archive, the Royal Opera House Archive and the Tate Library and Archive."

Nida Shah was selected to be our second Archives & Library Assistant (Graduate Trainee) and started with us in August 2023 and is currently in the process of applying for a postgraduate degree in archives and records management.

Lewis Johnston was selected to be our second graduate trainee in the digital department with a slightly adjusted job title of Digital Content Assistant (Graduate Trainee) and started with us in March 2024. Lewis will be working across our digital marketing campaigns supporting work for our website, social media channels and mailing list.

We have just appointed our third Archives & Library Assistant (Graduate Trainee) who will start in post at the end of May 2024 and we will look to recruit our next Digital Content Assistant (Graduate Trainee) in September 2025.

If you have questions about either of these roles please contact Gabriella Rhodes, our Human Resources Officer.