The fine art of training

For art lovers, just the prospect of being able to work among gallery and museum treasures might be reward enough. But a new training programme is adding even more richness to the experience for both staff and visitors at the vibrant Pataka Art Museum in Porirua.

Pataka Gallery Supervisor, Jay Hollows, is right behind the ServiceIQ on-job staff training, which his team is enjoying, and visitors are reaping the benefits. ‘To other galleries I would say – invest in your staff training. I see the positive effects the training has here every week. It really ignites our staff’s passion for sharing art with the community,’ says Jay.

Jody Bank, who has worked as a Gallery Assistant at Pataka since 2011, is one six staff currently completing the training which will give her a National Certificate in Museum Practice. An artist with a Diploma in Art and Creativity (Honours), she is now developing her museum career with the nationally recognised qualification. The advantages of training and refining her skills are mutually beneficial, says Jody.

(L to R) Jody Bank and Natalie Brasell are Pataka Gallery Assistants working towards the National Certificate in Museum Practice.
(L to R) Jody Bank and Natalie Brasell are Pataka Gallery Assistants working towards the National Certificate in Museum Practice.

‘It’s an opportunity to study museum related material, giving me a greater understanding of the industry as a whole, and the role museums play in society. In turn, this will feed back into Pataka as more knowledgeable and informed staff,’ she says.

The training programme for the National Certificate in Museum Practice has been developed by the sector and the Industry Training Organisation, ServiceIQ. It is designed to arm staff with the skills and knowledge they need to be able to offer an even better experience for visitors. The training can be undertaken on the job by staff working in a museum or gallery. Trainees complete a minimum of 60 Credits, selecting from a total of 13 unit standards, covering a wide range of museum activities.

The Pataka team are tackling the training assessments together and it’s working well. One of the highlights was hosting the ‘Maori in Museums’ unit standard at Pataka. ‘Our understandings of certain concepts were enriched by sharing stories with colleagues from other museums such as The Dowse and Govett Brewster. And when it came to assessing our hosting skills, we all learnt a lot from each other’s experience,’ says Jody.

Coming to work each day equipped to deliver an even richer visitor experience is the dream job for Jay and his team at Pataka: ‘We get to share a genuine New Zealand art experience with our visitors, which features top-notch New Zealand artists from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds, who wouldn’t love that?’

The Pataka team are being supported through their assessments by ServiceIQ Training Coordinator Matthew Davies. Matthew specialises in helping to upskill front of house staff in museums and galleries around the country.

If you would like to know how ServiceIQ can help your staff to enhance your visitor experience, please contact Matthew Davies at ServiceIQ: 0800 863 693 or email: