Want my job? With Ahuti Punja, Learning Apprentice at London Transport Museum

Discover how Ahuti landed an apprenticeship at the London Transport Museum

Want my job? With Ahuti Punja, Learning Apprentice at London Transport Museum

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

Hello, I am Ahuti, a Learning Apprentice in the Young People’s Skills Programme at the London Transport Museum. 

What does your job involve? Give us the typical outline of a day?

My role is to enable positive participation by young people in the museum by giving them the opportunity to work creatively on projects. I do this by delivering workshops and working alongside other departments in the museum to bring in new ideas. I feel very fortunate because no two days are the same! 

I have worked on two different projects that involve supporting young people to create and deliver an activity. Throughout the apprenticeship I am working towards two qualifications, an NVQ in Customer Service and a Gold Arts Award. These will enable me to pursue an alternative route to working in the arts, culture and heritage sector, rather than going to university.

What’s great about your job?

The Learning Team encourages me to make my own decisions with the running of projects but are also always present to assist with any challenges that might happen, which gives me both independence and something to rely on. The apprenticeship is designed to work closely with other departments, so I get to learn how their work contributes to the museum. A department I have worked closely with and found an interest with is the Curatorial Team, and I am currently being mentored by one of the curators to help build my skills in this area.

What are the bits you don’t like or find challenging?

I supported the delivery of the museum’s Skills Late working with Young Volunteers. The brief was to create a resource or activity for the Skills Late, which is a careers fair held at the museum, where young people can meet employers from the transport sector in a more informal environment where they can ask questions they can’t typically ask in a formal setting. 

The project involved a five-day design sprint. This helped provide a structure for the team to develop a service or product, through creative understanding, enquiry, prototyping and testing activities. We had six young people on board for this project. One challenge I faced was being unaware of one volunteer’s special educational needs. Having never worked with people with special educational needs before, I improved how I present and communicate by observing the museum’s freelancers. I now have an understanding on how to adapt projects to work with young people with special educational needs  

What are the highlights of your career to date?

Delivering two Young Volunteers projects successfully and helping these young people to achieve a Bronze Arts Award qualification. One of the Young Volunteer projects focused on the Museum’s Depot Open Weekend. 

I worked alongside a freelancer to give five young people between the ages of 18 and 25 the opportunity to develop a family activity to be delivered at the event on the theme of ‘Moving London’. The young volunteers received a brief to devise an engineering focused activity. This involved the opportunity to collaborate closely with the Museum’s staff, offering them an authentic work experience. It also provided the opportunity for young people to develop vital transferable skills, as well as sector knowledge, which was really rewarding for me. This included developing an understanding of how family activities are successful by researching and testing them throughout their development. Finally, each Young Volunteer was offered CV and employment training.

What was your career path into this job?  Have you also worked outside the arts?

I was first introduced to London Transport Museum after completing its three-day pre-employment Route into Work course. This unique opportunity opened doors to the transport industry. My first apprenticeship was at MTR Crossrail which was a very different experience. It gave me the foundational skills needed to succeed in my current apprenticeship where I interact and engage with a range of audiences.

Can you describe your biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?

I did not know what I wanted to do after college, which is why I chose not to go university, but even looking for an apprenticeship I found challenging. There wasn’t anything that interested me, so I had to just try everything to find something I enjoyed, which landed me here!

Have you noticed any changes in the industry? If so, what?

As I am new to the industry and have only been in the role for six months, I am still learning and soaking everything up as I continue this apprenticeship. I think more museums should offer apprenticeships and an alternative route into the sector other than university; vocational roles seem to be increasingly popular.

What particular projects/events would you recommend to a visitor to the London Transport Museum?

A new exhibit has now opened called Future Engineers. It is aimed at young people, encouraging them to start thinking about a career in engineering. It is colourful and engaging as there are interactives which help young people explore different engineering pathways.   

Do you have any advice for young people interested in doing your kind of job?

Make the most of your experience, try and get involved in projects as much as you can, particularly new opportunities that arise. Knowing your audience is most crucial, talking to them and understanding what excites them so you can make projects more relevant and engaging for them. Being clear what and why we offer these opportunities and how they can utilise what the museum has to offer. Lastly, make yourself indispensable.

Author

Sienna James

Sienna James Museums Reporter

Museums and Heritage reporter.

Instagram: sienna_jamez

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