Millie Ashworth-Ritch is a 5th-year student at Leith Academy. Earlier this month, she completed a week’s work experience here at Historic Environment Scotland. Millie found this opportunity as part of our commitment to Scotland’s Year of Young People. Here she describes what she learned during a busy week.


On Monday I worked with the Cultural Resources Team. In the morning I was given a tour of the building and was introduced to everyone. I was asked to look at Trip Advisor and look at reviews to find out what was important to a person when visiting the site. For example, if they enjoyed the walk up approaching the site instead of whether there where bathrooms and how good the service was. This information is important because it is often looked over and forgotten about.

Screengrab of the Fort George reviews on Tripadvisor website

I was also given the opportunity to talk to people who worked in Cultural Resources to find out what their jobs were and what they entail and what their day to day tasks are.


On Tuesday morning I worked on illustrations and photographs. I was given images to code and label so they could be stored away. It was interesting to see all the images that artists had done from the sites.

A table filled with drawings of historical interpretations

These drawings help people understand what places would have been like in the past.

In the afternoon I worked with the Scran team. Scran is a Historic Environment Scotland website that stores photos and audio clips on historical and cultural themes. It also lets people add things that have more significance to a person today -such as a pub or some graffiti.

Screenshot of the Scran website homepage

There are also photos of people as well as historic buildings – different from what you would normally expect from HES. Here I was asked to find images for an expedition that is happening in winter.


On Wednesday I went to Edinburgh Castle for a workshop on digital content-making with the Digital team.

View of Edinburgh Castle from Grassmarket area

Edinburgh Castle was a great setting for the Year of Young People workshop on creating digital content.

At the workshop I learned how a piece of writing for the internet should be written and how people read when looking at writing on the internet. For example the average reading age for adults in the UK is eleven, so when writing a piece you need to use simple English so it is accessible to a wider range of people.

We also have a shorter attention span when reading on a screen rather that reading on paper. That means when writing it needs to be short, snappy and to the point. We also read in an F shape so when reading we tend to start to scan-read the further we get down the page. To keep someone interested you should use header and bullet points to keep restarting the F shape.


On Thursday I worked in the Collections store near Holyrood, looking at photography and documentation of the Trinity House collection. Here I looked at items that had been taken from Trinity House Maritime Museum in Leith. I was asked to photograph and pack them for storage.

Image of the exterior of Trinity House

Trinity House holds an outstanding collection of maritime treasures

It was interesting to see the different methods used to preserve the items. The room I was working in was filled with hundreds of different things taken from different sites – from coins, clothing items and paintings to human bones.

Historic Environment Scotland sometimes borrows items from other places to use in their museums and exhibitions. It also loans items from its collections to other museums.

The store room at John Sinclair House. Neat boxes on shelves and stored paintings

Just one of the store rooms at John Sinclair House.


On Friday I worked with the Interpretation team on writing and picture research. This meant that I was able to put into practice some of the skills I’d learned earlier in the week with Scran and during the digital content workshop.

Reflecting on my week of work experience

If you get the opportunity you should do work experience with Historic Environment Scotland. It will give you more of an idea of all the different jobs there, and help you understand what you would like you do and the range of things you could do.

If you’re interested, you can get in touch with them here.


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