Jess Nicoll, GEM’s digital marketing and training officer, shares the highlights of her six months with GEM.

Let me just start by saying that working for GEM has been fantastic. From the interview right up to my last day, the GEM team have made me feel welcome and comfortable in an environment I never thought I would see myself in.

One of my favourite things to do when I was younger was to go to museums, art galleries, castles, and other historical places, so going “behind the scenes” and seeing how activities, exhibitions and other amazing events that take place in the museums and heritage sector are organised, and meeting people with similar interests, has been an exhilarating experience.

I have met so many fantastic people with interesting stories and have been given some wonderful opportunities to participate in things I never would have thought about doing before I joined the GEM team. Visiting the GEM office at Chatham Historic Dockyard was always great fun. Having so much history right on the doorstep was a gateway to many educational experiences. Touring the Ropery, learning about the history of the place and watching a demonstration of how rope is made with all the original equipment (in a building that is half a mile long!), and touring the Ocelot Submarine, seeing the conditions the crew had to live in, and learning about the work that took place inside, were truly fascinating experiences.

The amount of personal growth I have experienced has made me hopeful for the future. I have found myself taking on more challenges, being braver and wanting to be more involved.

A great example of this was the Museums + Heritage Show at Olympia, London. Travelling has always been a huge struggle for me and the fact that I was able to get on a train to London, make it through the underground and attend a huge event full of people is a massive achievement for me. The team were endlessly supportive and kept checking in to make sure I was doing okay throughout day which gave me a lot of reassurance and made it so much easier knowing that I had people around me who understood my struggles and were there to offer me any help that I needed. Being given the opportunity to represent GEM at the M+H Show was an absolute pleasure and I had so much fun meeting other museum and heritage professionals and learning about their organisations and experiences in the sector.

The last 6 months have been amazing, and I just want to express my gratitude and thank everyone for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the GEM family.