The browser you are using is out of date and is no longer supported. To view and use this site correctly, please update your browser to the latest version.

We're changing

We have created a new public body, Historic Environment Scotland. While we work on shaping our future we can reassure you that all services and products will continue as normal. Please follow our progress and find out more about our new organisation.

Would you like the keys to Edinburgh Castle?

4 March 2011

Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop and Tourism Minister Jim Mather are offering young people across Scotland the opportunity to take the reigns at one of the countries top tourist attractions.

Historic Scotland is teaming up with Springboard Scotland to mark Scottish Tourism Careers Week (Feb 28 – Mar 7) to encourage young people with an interest in tourism and hospitality to enter a new competition The Keys to the Castle Challenge.

Minister for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:

“I am delighted to announce this new competition which will give young people Access All Areas passes to some of our most popular attractions for a day and have a hand in how they are run.

“We have an incredible tourism industry in Scotland which is absolutely crucial to our economy. It continues to perform well and provides wonderful opportunities for a whole range of diverse jobs and careers.

“It is vital that we encourage excellence and support our tourism and hospitality industries as it is the people within them who can make a real difference in helping Scotland live up to the expectations of our guests from around the globe.”

Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism Jim Mather said:

"Tourism is one of Scotland's strongest assets, making a vital contribution to the economy and carrying significant potential for future growth.

"Key to achieving the growth we all want to see, will be the industry's work with employers, colleges and training providers to ensure Scottish tourism attracts a new generation of people and equips them with the right skills, expertise and desire to make each visitor's experience of Scotland as enjoyable and evocative as it can be.

"The Scottish Government, through Skills Development Scotland and other partners, is determined to work with the industry to help make this happen - as underlined last week with the publication of our updated Economic Recovery Plan, which sets out our focus on sustaining and strengthening growth and employment and delivering a strong recovery for Scotland.  

"Throughout Scottish Tourism Week, Springboard Scotland's efforts to promote the range of careers available across Scottish hospitality, leisure and tourism, are making an important contribution to that aim. The Castle Keys challenge is just one great example."

The Keys to the Castle Challenge will be open to teams of up to six from schools across the country. Entrants will be asked six questions and have until May 20th to submit their answers.

Organiser of Scottish Tourism Careers Week, Carolyn Baird, of Springboard Scotland, said: “ We are thrilled to be running this challenge in partnership with Historic Scotland. As part of the Tourism Framework for Change Skills Strategy our role is to raise the profile of tourism and hospitality and attract new talent to join the industry. This imaginative and exciting project will bring the significance of cultural and heritage tourism to the attention of young people across Scotland.”

Competition entry forms can be downloaded and submitted via the Springboard website at

Four winning teams will be chosen - one from the Highlands and Islands area, two from central region and one from the Borders or Dumfries and Galloway.

Each winning team will then be invited to visit a Historic Scotland property in their area as VIP guests for the day. This will include seeing behind the scenes

Stephen Duncan, HS Head of Commercial and Visitor Operations, said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming the winners to our sites.

“Skilled and knowledgeable staff is at the heart of any good attraction and we are very lucky to have many exceptional people here that are willing to share their experiences with the teams and I hope will inspire them to pursue their interest in tourism and hospitality.”

The properties participating in this challenge include:
Edinburgh Castle; Stirling Castle (dependant on timing); Fort George; Elgin Cathedral; Doune Castle; Urquhart Castle; Craigmillar Castle; Dumbarton Castle; Melrose Abbey; Blackness Castle; Linlithgow Palace; Arbroath Abbey; Stanley Mills and St Andrews Castle/Cathedral.

Notes to Editors

  • Scottish Tourism Careers Week runs from 28 February to 7 March

  • Scotland’s tourism industry contributes around £4 billion to the national economy and accounts for eight per cent of all jobs (Careers Scotland)

  • Springboard UK provides educational support in hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism. For more information and to enter the competition visit

  • Historic Scotland is Scotland’s heritage agency. It safeguards and promotes the nations historic environment and manages more than 345 properties in the care of Scottish Ministers, including Edinburgh Castle, Scotland’s number one tourist attraction (ALVA 2010).

For further information

Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07920 768096

Springboard Scotland
Carolyn Baird, 07530 241249