RSNO leads industry in musicians' and staff development

Paul Hamlyn Foundation awards Orchestra over £200,000 for three-year CPD programme

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) is to design and implement a new professional development programme for its 112 musicians and professional staff, thanks to a £212,725 award from one of the UK's most recognised philanthropic organisations, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF).
The RSNO's initiative is the first strategically-driven, fully integrated Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme in the UK performing arts sector. Developed and refined over a period of three years, it will deliver immediate and sustained benefits to the organisation, as well as provide a framework for other organisations to adopt.
The programme is a key to the future development of the RSNO, who in 2010 performed to over 110,000 people and engaged a further 13,500 in its education and community projects. In the first year the RSNO focuses on developing new skills through training, workshops and creative leadership. The primary focus of Year Two is developing effectiveness – implementing what has been learned in Year One – whilst continuing with the development of individual skills. Year Three sees the organisation share what it has learned, internally and with external organisations with the assistance of the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) and the Scottish Government, while continuing the work from years one and two. The three-year programme provides opportunities for musicians and administration staff to learn together and develop new understandings and skills, to broaden and increase their contribution to the organisations' collective success.
The RSNO has sought the expertise of Evaluation Support Scotland in drafting an evaluation model and together with support from the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) and the Scottish Government, the RSNO will demonstrate the operational and strategic benefits derived from implementing the comprehensive CPD programme.
Paul Hamlyn Foundation's Head of Arts Régis Cochefert:

PHF supports the development and dissemination of new ideas to increase people's experience and enjoyment of the arts. This training scheme is highly innovative and we are confident that the increased skills of RSNO's players and other professional staff will mean an even higher quality experience for the orchestra's audiences, both in the concert hall and in community and education activities.

Director of the ABO Mark Pemberton:

The ABO welcomes this hugely important announcement from the RSNO. Professional development of musicians and managers is a growing area of interest among our members, and we know that many other orchestras are eagerly awaiting the step-change that this project is likely to engender. We will be providing the RSNO with opportunities to present the findings from the project at our annual conference and other events, and look forward to being an active partner in helping the sector as a whole benefit from its outcomes.

RSNO Chief Executive Michael Elliott:

This is a significant move for the RSNO. We have an opportunity to be the first professional arts organisation in the UK to not only undertake a development programme of such scope and vision, but be in a position to pass on our knowledge to others in the sector. I am delighted that the Paul Hamlyn Foundation has recognised by its generous level of support, that the RSNO is an organisation capable of creating the greatest benefit from such a programme.