Year Two take over!

•June 26, 2012 • Leave a Comment

 There has to be a first post, so here it is…

The first year trainees on their collections management traineeship are coming to the end of their year, now they will all be prepared for work out in the big, wide world of conservation. We second year trainees, on the other hand, are still in the full swing of things! Looking at my year plan, I am winding up my sections on Marketing & Promotion, Health & Safety and Project Management. As I proceed into July I shall be looking at the story and significance section, so supporting several guided tours and then conducting them myself.

Your new blogger counting coins at Chedworth

Counting the money thrown into the Nymphaeum, a wishing-well-type-pond. This was a temple to the water Nymphs; the water source was the reason for the Romans originally settling on this site. I believe there was about £120 in all, quite good, but not as impressive as previous years.

I have really enjoyed my recent weeks; last Friday I met Heather Smith, who is the Equality Specialist ORBP (Operational Risk Business Partner) for the Gloucestershire portfolio. The reason for our meeting was so I could get Heather to guide and assist me with my project which is to Assess and Improve the Accessibility of Gloucestershire outdoor places. We had a meeting to discuss Access Audits; first Heather told me about her job and responsibilities. She told me that in the past there had been a focus on producing a large document with a ’22-point-process’ for House and Gardens Places which could be left behind to provide help and assistance. Countryside Places, however, were largely left to their own devices with a self assessment tool completed by the Ranger. Now, however, Heather is trying to change the processes of the past and improve the accessibility of outdoor places. Hopefully this will also cause an increase in the number of visitors who could be considered disabled.

With this in mind she has started to produce access audits for some of the outdoor places, for example she showed me audits for Ebworth estate and Woodchester Park. The audit for Woodchester Park covers several principle topics, namely Pre-information, Arrival and Parking, Getting into the property, Interpretation, Playtrail, WCs and further points. Each of these topics lead on to points of discussion in terms of Barrier, Recommendation, Reason, Priority and Cost. This should give the Rangers ideas of what needs to be done to improve the Place (and why) and how quickly the actions need to be implemented.

I shall now be able to imitate Heather’s Access Audit and create Audits for some of the other Gloucestershire Outdoor places. Hopefully I can implement some of the ideas which Heather has had about Woodchester Park

My main goals for the project are:

  • Improve the information available before the visit – in printed media and online.
  • Create an site trail online, similar to Field Fare.
  • Improve the interpretation for all on site
  • Link each of the above points to several groups of people and ability

I was pleased when Heather gave me an example of the tactile map. It is comprised of sheets of vacuum formed plastic with a map printed behind. This is one way of interpreting the site for Blind or partially sighted people; it gives me more inspiration for alternative types of interpretation.

At the weekend I took a trip to Sissinghurst Castle, near Cranbrook in Kent, with my Grandmother and Auntie. Built before 1305, it housed guests such as Edward I. Expanded in the Tudor period, Elizabeth I spent three nights there in 1573. During the seven years’ war Sissinghurst was used as a prison. Latterly it was used as a workhouse by the Cranbrook workers union and then a home for farm labourers. It was rescued from a derelict state by Vita Sackville-West who restored the buildings and created the beautiful gardens in the style of Hidcote (another NT property, in Gloucestershire).

View from the Elizabethan tower

A view looking down from the Elizabethan tower at the White garden at Sissinghurst. You may be able to spot Roses and even White Fox Gloves, or digitalis alba.

All roads lead to Rome(an Villa at Chedworth with Samuel!)

•May 21, 2012 • Leave a Comment

                                                                     Week  one                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         …                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My first week began on Saturday the 4th of February with a volunteer day at Chedworth. This was a chance to allow those living locally to visit the Chedworth site and have an introduction to the area, with a view to joining later as a volunteer. I arrived and was ushered through to the museum where we were based for a short history of the site.

            We were told of the fist discovery, in 1864, by some men who were out hunting (probably poaching). They were using dogs to run down the rabbit holes and scare the inhabitants out into the waiting nets. One dog got trapped underground, so the men dug down to rescue it. In so doing they found some pieces of mosaic, which they took to the owner of the estate, who, realising what they were, got the men to dig out more of the area and uncover the villa to a great extent.

            My first day properly in the office was on Tuesday the 7th February. I met up with my line manager, Katie Smith, who introduced me to the office layout, computer systems and other members of staff. She told me that I had several training sessions already booked, firstly tomorrow, then the 14th/15th in Heelis and latterly Calke Abbey in March.

            Only my third day of work and I was off to another site for a training session! I travelled over to the Sherbourne office, as opposed to the Chedworth site. Twelve people including staff and volunteers had come to do Customer Care Training with Helen Turner (South West customer services rep) and Kaye Trigg (Chedworth Visitor reception). We were introduced to the new Exceeding Expectations training plan, which is one of the many new schemes based on the National Trust service promise of “Exceptional Service, Every time, for Everyone”. This is broken down into the four ideals of: Think Long Term, Love Places, Inspire People, and Share Our Common Purpose. Each of these ideals is then broken down into salient facts of how to act and think when representing The National Trust.

            We split into four groups and each took a section to focus on in respect to working at our own properties, as the thinking needs to be applicable both nationally and locally. Some key thoughts that came to light were the decision to use disposable cups and plates in the café, and the general maintenance and upkeep of the stonework. With respect to the former point, visitors have said how nice it is to get a lovely pot of tea at a property; but regrettably at Chedworth there is not the water supply to accommodate an industrial dishwasher, so recycled plates and cups are the best alternative. Regarding the upkeep of the site, it has been said that the stonework is quickly damaged by frost in the winter, and the weeds in the cracks have been left for too long to grow. There will be a conservator put in charge of this task at the first possible moment.

            In the afternoon I had my introductory meeting with my mentor, Area Manager Janet Gough. She has quite a large remit, encompassing most of the properties in Gloucestershire. We talked about what role she might take in my development over the year. At this early stage, I said that I didn’t have much of a gauge of the breadth of possible pressures, so decided it would be a good idea to agree to meet for a weekly update at least for the first month.

            Janet also told me about my main project. As part of the Passport to employment, each trainee has to complete a major project which will aid the National Trust in some fashion. We discussed how my previous experience as a carer (for a disabled young man) could help me to study the accessibility of Chedworth Roman Villa and how it can be further adapted for those with disabilities. As part of this I shall also travel to other tourist attractions, including other NT properties, to study their adaptations. I also hope to be able to talk to some disabled prospective visitors to see how we can help them, and indeed if they want to go trekking through the mud in a wheelchair!

            As I had time to spare I logged on to one of the Hot Desks at Sherbourne office to continue with my On Track training. The “On Your First Day” took much longer than the 15 minutes that it said it should take! There were several 5minute long videos telling me about the NT principles and values, and how they are reaching a wider audience, for example taking a “relaxation tent” to the Glastonbury festival. I also took time to find someone at Calke Abbey (where I would be going for training) who would be in a similar role to mine, and hope that if I got in contact with them before my visit I would be able to get a guided tour and have a chat about the disabled access at their property. I emailed Imogen Wood, whose job title is “Visitor Experience & Marketing Intern”.

            Thursday was a day out on the site around the Villa with Max Dancer, the ranger. This was a lot more relaxed than the previous days! We started off with tea and biscuits, then grabbed our tools and out to the bank beside the learning building. Here, we were systematically chopping down brambles, hazel and other small shrubs that covered the area. Clearing up the chopped vegetation was made a little difficult by all the logs and branches which had been left by someone who had done some clearing a few years ago but got lazy before finishing. Our work was also exacerbated by the snow and ice which was covering some of the bank – either you slipped on it or you couldn’t prize the cut branches from the ground. For most of the time I let Max do the chopping while I cleared up the debris. The brambles were raked up into one pile, while the branches and logs were put in a stack which should help to nurture the wild life. By putting the branches all the same way around in a stack this gives good places for insects to thrive and then birds can perch on the twigs to eat them. I also learnt a new tree; the field maple, which has leaves like a maple and bark that looks like an elder.

            My last day of my first week was cut short even before I left the house. I got a call from David, the House and Monuments steward who lives on site at Chedworth, who told me the driving conditions were too treacherous so I should stay at home. I was trusted with the task of reading through my Passport, Portfolio and site history documents.



Week two

            Monday began with catering training. We congregated in the new reception, café and shop building. In fact this building has been here for a while, but is only just in the process of being converted for these purposes. As you enter this building there is a reception desk straight ahead, a gift shop to the right and a café to your left. We took our seats around the large tables which were being stored in the café. There will be smaller ones eventually, the large tables are intended for the learning building but that isn’t quite finished yet.

            We had a discussion about good food hygiene practice; of course the risk of raw meat contamination is avoided by not actually preparing any fresh meat on site, but there are worries of nuts

            We also tried to imagine the problems that customers might present us with,

Unfortunately for a time of food training we couldn’t complete the coffee machine training as that hasn’t arrived yet, ergo we will be travelling to Snowshill Manor on Monday the 20th to complete that part.

            Tuesday and Wednesday I had been really looking forward to from the first moment I knew about them – two day training at Heelis in Swindon with the other people on the Passport Programme. I had checked the map and google maps beforehand, hoping to make sure I took the optimum route, but as I left I got lazy, switched on the SatNav and simply followed it. Firstly I was annoyed that it took me down the motorway to the A419, it would’ve been much better to go up Leckhampton hill (coincidentally, the route it brought me back from Swindon) and then I was annoyed as I got close to Swindon and it didn’t have the Swindon by-pass on it, so it was telling me to turn off roundabouts which had long since vanished!

            I arrived in Heelis car park pretty much bang on 0930, which was lucky but I would’ve preferred to have been there earlier. I reached the reception desk, where the receptionist gave me a visitor card for Heelis and explained how to use the entry machines. Regrettably, I wasn’t quite with it when they explained turning it round and putting the black strip this way or that so each time I tried to enter or exit I had a bit of trouble – you also had to have it a different way up for going in to going out! There was tea clearly visible inside so I perambulated towards one of the boiling water taps and got a relaxing cup of tea.

            I found the other Passport trainees assembled around a table, but since I was last to arrive as I pulled up a chair they left to relocate to the meeting room where we would be sited for the two days. As I entered the room I saw it had pictures of a stone circle, I guessed Avebury, and I saw the name of the room was indeed Avebury. I must note though that at that point I did not connect the dots to realise the photographs were of the Avebury stone circle. I felt a bit stupid the next day when I did realise this though!

            Claire Poulton talked to us about the make up of the Passport,

            It was interesting to hear from Sam Hunt, who was a representative from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The HLF is the main source of funds for the Heritage Skills Passport. He gave us a brief insight into the vast breadth of schemes which the HLF also gives grants to.

            On day two of our training I did try to be as quick as I could packing up my belongings and putting them in my car, but I was slightly waylaid by the fact I couldn’t quite recall the route from the hotel to Heelis. Luckily I did manage to get to Avebury, our meeting room, just as our first speaker was setting up to tell us about Customer Service. This section was very similar to my Customer Care Training at Sherbourne on Wednesday 8th of February. Jonathan Noall, the trainer, said he had been working closely with Helen Turner who had conducted the training at Sherbourne, and he said that the “Exceeding Expectations” training I received was their new scheme which will soon be rolled out nationwide.

            I’m sure a tea break lead into the next section of Health and Safety, which was delivered by Helen Jones. This was as could be expected, some shots of “spot the hazard” and “how not to work”. I’m sure it could get a little tiresome for those delivering these H&S lectures, but in this modern world of popular “No win, no fee” court cases and people not using good common sense, these H&S briefings are becoming more and more important. I was very interested to learn about the different laws and legislations which govern this area of litigation. I was interested to learn, but hardly surprised that the vast majority of these laws and statutes are derived from the European policy.

            Our third speaker of the day was Graham Heard, who is the area manager for Lacock Abbey. He gave us a good overview of Property Management. It was very interesting to learn from him about the scope that the National Trust has for developing business. In his presentation he told us about how the NT in Lacock has brought the village together for a common purpose of attracting custom. As a group the NT with local businesses has produced a glossy flyer which has a map and short description of the multitude of shops and museums to frequent in the village. From cafés and pubs (eg. the Red Lion), to museums and craft shops (eg. Quintessentially English, a soap shop) a whole plethora of visitor opportunities is represented.


Photos, Cockerels and Introductions…by Jon & Kitty

•May 21, 2012 • Leave a Comment


I walked up to the main entrance to Godolphin house this morning and realised how lucky I am to be working here! This place is stunning 🙂 I met Gin & Kitty as they were about to open up the visitor center.

Waking up to birdsong and the cockerel was amazing and reminded me how fortunate I am to be living whilst volunteering at such a beautiful picturesque location. Unlocking the site was not just about opening doors for public to wonder around but turning on electrical appliances in the reception and around the site.

There is much to do to set up before visitors arrive in the morning. Opening up involves opening the Kings room for public viewing then making sure the visitor reception is ready for the days volunteers to welcome the public. The routine for visitor reception consists of collecting the till drawer and float from the volunteer room safe, turning on the lights, heaters, boiler and coffee machine. Also, we move stock to the front of the fridges, open the front doors and leave the reception ready for volunteers to commence sales.

After opening for the public we had the enjoyable task of laminating information posters. These illustrated the beautiful art exhibition being showcased in the Kings room. There are many places around Godolphin that will invite visitors to read them. We placed them in the main and reserve car parks, visitor centre board and customer toilets. Volunteers play an important in advertising as they take posters away and distribute around different places. The art exhibit was not the only posters we put up. We had posters for events managed by the VE team at Godolphin for otherWest CornwallNT(National Trust) sites managed by us.

While we were walking around the site we came into contact with several employees from the main house. There are many volunteers and employees here and will take quite a while to learn everybody’s names. They had just finished preparing the house for use by a party of 12 people who were renting the house for the weekend. They explained to us how the house generates funds by being made available for holiday lets.


After lunch Barbara Moffat the artist turned up and started to prepare for her exhibition of photos capturing the spirit of Godolphin. We helped her to attach and centre her art work within the king’s room until she was completely happy with the overall gallery.

For helping hang the photographs up Barbara gave me (Jon) the choice of whichever piece I wanted. I choose a picture of an old jug from Godolphin which was the only colour piece within the collection. I felt the picture embodies the old spirit of the estate with the modern spirit of the National trust to give a beautiful piece of art representative of the estate in its current form.

During the day we asked several of the customers what they would like to see that will encourage them to return to Godolphin. The resounding theme from visitors was to see more interactivity within the estate; mainly for the younger audience. One couple said that even though they came to have a look at the house they would enjoy seeing the younger audience having fun and getting their hands dirty.

A second couple whom I (Jon) thought would be from the curious minds cross section informed me that they visited heritage sites for their beauty and not to ‘learn’ about their history but would learn about the history if what was presented really stood out to them. Unfortunately I never asked them for an example of this. Next time a similar comment is said I will be sure to try to get an example of this as it may be something I can build on to help improve the overall VE goal of the estate as an NT owned Business.

Overall the first week has been amazing and we both look forward to future events and learning everything there is to know aboutWest Cornwall.

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs at the National Trust… read all about it!

•May 21, 2012 • Leave a Comment


Yes you’ve read correctly. The National Trust are recruiting for Historic gardening and Historic Parkland Management. Now coming from someone whose already done a year in Care of Collections at two NT properties in London, I would encourage anyone and everyone whose interested in this amazing opportunity to apply. Do not hesitate, do not think twice, do not doubt…this is the best opportunity you will ever encounter in your career. So I hear you asking,” Whats’ the catch?” There is no catch.This is the real thing! For those of you who are thinking it could never be you, yes it can …go on, i dare you to have a read below if you dont believe me!

Would you like to learn to work in outdoor heritage spaces?

We are giving you the chance to work in our gardens, historic parkland and our wild spaces from coast to moor to learn specialist skills in Historic gardening and Historic Parkland Management.

We’re looking for people with a passion for the work we do to come and train with us in some of our breath-taking places.  

You don’t need qualifications or work experience, just plenty of enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.

In return, we’ll give you a paid job for a year, full training, a Heritage Skills Passport and a really impressive portfolio from a great organisation.

If you join our Passport to Your Future Training Programme, we’ll share our knowledge and skills with you so that you can continue to work in beautiful places like this for the rest of your career. 

For more information visit or contact the Project Manager at


What is the Passport to your Future Project?

We are engaging thirty people to work at National Trust properties around the country.  We will enable the people we take on to gain knowledge, skills and experience in subject areas where there is traditionally a skills shortage, within the Heritage industry.

Our Trainees will learn these skills through a structured training programme called the Heritage Skills Passport. 

Presently we are looking for trainees with an interest in following the structured training programme in Historic gardening and Historic Parkland Management.  

This programme is open to all, but we’d particularly like to hear from you if you have a disability, a lack of formal qualifications, have been long-term unemployed or are from an under-represented ethnic minority group, as this programme is all about breaking down the barriers to enabling people to succeed.

Each placement will last twelve months. 

A summary of what you will be doing.

You will be based at CharlecotePark and you will take a Heritage Skills Passport in Historic gardening and Historic Parkland Management.  This passport will give you the skills to start a career path in an outdoor Heritage Environment.  You will learn skills from the expert team based at the property and will join courses run nationally through the Passport to your Future project.

The skills you will learn in the passport will depend on the opportunities at the property.  (See ‘The information you will need before applying to be a Passport to your Future Trainee for more information about the opportunities that this property can provide).

 What you will achieve:

  1. Complete a Heritage Skills Passport in Historic gardening and Historic Parkland Management.
  2. Learn the skills that are in the passport through
    1.       On-the-job training from line managers, other staff and volunteers at the property and regional or central specialists.
    2.     Group training opportunities held nationally through the Passport to your Future Project.
    3.     Additional individual training.
    4.     Internal and external job-shadowing opportunities.
    5.     Resources that will be made available to support your work and development.
  3. You will develop a training plan for the year with your Line Manager which will show how you are going to learn each of the skills in the Heritage Skills Passport.
  4.  You will create a plan with your Line Manager to show how you are going to develop personally.  This will help you develop your self-confidence, help you become a better team player and help you to create good relationships with your team, visitors and the local community amongst other things.
  5. You will complete the compulsory and optional skills and units in the Heritage Skills Passport.
  6. You will have an action planning meeting with your Line Manager every month, where you will review the skills you have learned in the previous month and set your actions for the next month.
  7. You will complete a portfolio to show evidence of how you have learnt each of the skills.
  8. You will carry out an individual project which will be a new piece of work for the property and will help us engage with a new audience.
  9. You will send a monthly report to the Passport to your Future Manager on your progress.
  10. You will become a champion for the work of the National Trust and the Passport to your Future programme, both within your own community and the wider world.
  11. You will carry out other tasks that are relevant to the placement.          

 Your working week will look like this:

ü      Half a day a week on the portfolio.

ü      One day a week on the Individual project.

ü     Three and a half days a week on the learning outcomes for your compulsory and optional units

Your Line Management and support structure will look like this:-

What will this information tell you?

Part number Information.
1. What is the National Trust?
2. What is a Passport to your Future  Historic gardening and Historic Parkland Management Trainee?
3. What is the Passport to your Future project?
4. What is the Heritage Skills Passport.
5. Who is this for?
6. What this placement will give you.
7. What will you do during this placement and what will you learn?
8. Where will you work?

What are we about and what do we do at Charlecote Park?

What opportunities are there for you at Charlecote Park?

What will you do as a Passport to your Future Trainee at Charlecote Park?

9. What are we looking for in a candidate? (The selection criteria).
10. How to find out more.

What is the National Trust?

 ‘For places, for ever, for everyone’. 

The National Trust look after a number of really special, beautiful and historic places – each distinctive, memorable and special to people for different reasons.  Our job is to understand and keep the spirit of each of these places alive.

Our places are open to all, and we thrive by involving as many people as possible in what we do – local communities, members, visitors, volunteers and donors.  We help people belong to places and places belong to people.  For more information visit our web site


 What is a Passport to your Future Historic gardening and Historic Parkland Management Trainee?

Would you like to help the National Trust look after its outdoor spaces?

This Passport to your Future traineeship gives you the chance, as one of the next generation of outdoors professionals, to learn the specialist skills to work in outdoor heritage sites.  You will learn all about Historic gardening and Historic Parkland Management.  There will be a focus on engaging the public with your work and you will help promote key themes such as the impact of climate change.

What is the Passport to your Future project?

Imagine being able to tell future employers that you’ve trained with one of theUK’s biggest charities. Exciting, isn’t it. And it’s exactly what we’re offering.

We’re looking for people with a passion for the work we do to come and train with us in some of our amazing places. You don’t need qualifications or work experience, just plenty of enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.

In return, we’ll give you a job for a year, full training, a skills passport and a really impressive portfolio from a great organisation. A year well spent, and an experience that’s sure to impress employers.

If you join our Passport to Your Future Training Programme, we’ll share our knowledge and skills with you so that you can continue to work in beautiful places like this for the rest of your career. We’ve places for 30 trainees over three years. There are 10 placements each year and each placement lasts 12 months.

 The first and second year placements are now up and running and you can find out more about how the Trainees are doing on our web site. .  The year 1 trainees are learning all about House and Collections Management and the year 2 trainees about Visitor Experience. 

You have now got the chance to join this third year placement.  As a trainee in the third year you will learn all about Historic gardening and Historic Parkland Management. You’ll learn the skills of outdoor professionals.  You’ll get the most from this placement if you enjoy working outside. If you would like to find out more about these placements you can visit our web site .

What is the National Trust Heritage Skills Passport?

At the National Trust, we understand that we need to work hard to train people and give them the skills to help us look after our places and help these places be here forever, for everyone.

The Heritage Skills Passport is a tool that helps us do this.  It will allow you as a trainee to create a flexible, tailored training plan for your own personal development which will give you the skills to work in the National Trust or the wider Heritage industry. The training that you will receive allows you to develop your talents and capabilities through practical activities at our properties. 

There are Heritage Skills Passports in three different subject areas.

ü      House and Collections Management. (Started July 2011).

This will engage the next generation of house staff with historic houses by training them with a balanced programme of technical skills in housekeeping and preventive conservation.

ü      Visitor Experience.  (Started February 2012).

This will train the next generation of visitor services professionals with a combination of core visitor services skills that will enable them to engage with visitors and the local community.

 Historic gardening and Historic Parkland Management.  (Will start September 2012).

This will give the next generation of outdoors professionals the skills to work in outdoor heritage spaces by training them with specialist skills.  There will be a focus on engaging the public with their work and promoting key themes such as the impact of climate change.


Who is this for?

We want to become better at attracting people from all walks of life into our workforce. That’s why we’re using this project to help us to reach out to people at present under-represented in the National Trust community.  Although this scheme is open to all, if you have been long term unemployed, have not achieved as well as you could have done at school, have some type of disability or are from the Black and Minority Ethnic community and feel that you would really benefit from this opportunity, we would particularly like to hear from you. We hope to embed the learning we gain from doing this in our long term recruitment processes. If you get a placement on this programme, we’d like you, with the support of your community, to help us promote the National Trust as an employer that provides truly equal opportunities.

What this placement will give you.

As a trainee you’ll receive the minimum wage for your age and you will develop a whole variety of skills in Historic gardening and Historic Parkland Management. 

We also hope you will make new friends, develop social circles and have fun whilst you are on the placement.

 What will you do during this placement and what will you learn?

During the year you will develop a number of skills which will teach you about how to look after our historic outdoor spaces from our gardens, to our historic parkland, to our wild spaces from coast to moor.  These skills are listed in the Historic gardening and Historic Parkland Management Heritage Skills Passport.  The National Trust Heritage Skills Passport gives you a structured learning programme and you will have the chance to be one of the first people to gain one of these. Each time you learn a skill you will record the evidence of how you learnt the skill in your portfolio.  You will also carry out an individual project in an area of Historic gardening and Historic Parkland Management, which will demonstrate the skills you have learnt.


You will have your own line manager and mentors who will support you during the 12 month placement.    You will work with your Line Manager to select the skills you will focus on during the year.

As well as learning skills based on looking after our outdoor spaces, you will also learn personal skills such as team working, self-confidence and interpersonal skills.

In the table below you will see just an example of some of the skills that you may learn whilst taking the Historic gardening and Historic Parkland Management Heritage Skills Passport.   

Skill type What you could learn




Health and Safety


Customer service promise


Understand your audience


Engaging with your community


Project management




Risk assessments


Basic lawn care


Carry out the propagation of softwood and semi ripe cuttings, to include aftercare


Greenhouse work;


Complete herbaceous border care throughout the year




Undertake the pruning of trees and shrubs at different times and using different techniques


Participate in composting, mulch creation and use on borders


Complete weed control by hand, chemical and machine


Pest, disease and disorder awareness identification and control across a variety of sites and subjects


Vegetable and fruit areas maintained and developed


Carry out soil cultivation and preparation for a variety of uses


Carry out the watering of plants regularly


Use and maintain mowers, hedge trimmers, hand tools and brush cutters


Assist in the maintenance (safe access for visitors) paths and other surfaces


Conservatory and or indoor plant maintenance


Identifying plants and trees


Awareness of the National Trust plant database and survey techniques


Green gardening practice


Growing produce
Awareness of period design and planting


Habitat and wildlife surveying
Tree management
Boundary features
Hard landscaping
Awareness of historic parkland  design history and styles
Developing awareness of legislation and designation in the countryside
Management of livestock and deer
Agri environmental schemes and cross compliance
Management of water and soils
Machinery, tools and vehicles in the countryside
Wildlife management

Self-confidence / awareness

Interpersonal skills

Customer-facing skills

Time management

Oral / written communication


IT literacy

Initiative and proactivity

Networking skills

Willing to learn




Planning your own development



You will learn these skills with the support of your line manager and mentor, but also other local and regional staff and volunteers at the property will help you.  You will also meet up with other Passport to your Future Trainees, several times during the year and together you learn some of the skills, when we meet at the National Trust Headquarters or at other properties across the country.  During the year you will also be able to job shadow other trainees or staff at the National Trust.

How is this project funded?

The funding for this project was awarded to the National Trust by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to provide new training opportunities under the Skills for the Future programme.

The National Trust is grateful for this funding as it will support the Trust’s on-going commitment to training and will increase the diversity of people working in the heritage sector.


 How you can find out more.

Have a look at our web site

You are welcome to come to a Taster day in May and June 2012 to find out more.  At this Taster day you will see and try out some of the activities that you would do as a trainee; you will experience the wonderful property that you would be based in and you will meet the team. 

You are then welcome to apply for this role which you will need to do through our web site This you can do during May and June.

We will then try and meet you during July for an interview ready for the placements to start at the beginning of September.

If you would like more information about the Passport to your Future Traineeship, please look at our web site

Alternatively if you would like to find out other ways to have similar experiences within the Trust see and look up:-

Academy programme




Custard or Cream for the double decade…nt Christmas Pudding

•May 21, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The Passport to your Future (PTYF) programme consists of both collections and CMS placements. This means that some trainees focus more on the collections management side of things whilst the other trainees main focus is conservation and care of collections.Being a care of collections trainee at two “small” London properties means that I can get stuck into anything and everything that comes my way, be it cleaning, cataloguing or  caring for collections…key words are multi-tasking, all round team player. The day had finally arrived for us to clean, catalogue, inventory mark and photograph the kitchen at 2 Willow Road (2WR)…WHO…WHERE?

2WR is a unique Modernist home designed by architect Ernö Goldfinger in 1939 for himself and his family. With surprising design details that were ground-breaking at the time and still feel fresh today, the house also contains the Goldfingers’ impressive collection of modern art, intriguing personal possessions and innovative furniture.

During the closed season between November and February a mammoth project was underway to photograph all the objects at 2WR, unfortunately we couldnt get to the kitchen in time…except for tea and biscuits on those bitterly cold dark days…so we decided there was no better time than the present to unravel the contents in the “tiny” kitchen from which Ursula Goldfinger impressively managed to cater for upto sixTY…yes 60 guests at a time…what a legend!

Stage 1: Busy at work!

Stage 2 : Cleaning

Removing 20 years of dust…priceless

Stage 3: Into the photography department, position object in middle of sheet, position lights so there are no shadows, capture image so that depth, marks and damage are all visible.


Stage 4: Inventory marking: clean surface with acetone, apply thin layer of paraloid, wait to dry….write number in hidden location to last for 100 years, wait to dry…apply second layer of paraloid…wait to dry before handling!


eye for detail and a steady hand both essential for inventory marking


Stage 5: Each tin has been marked, photographed and catalogued…oh and before you ask they are all empty

Look what we found in the kitchen cupboard

Stage 6: The most interesting object most of us have ever catalogued…20 year old Christmas Pud.Looks alright to me!

Anyone for Xmas pud?

Curveballs and Care of Collections at Chastleton!

•March 11, 2012 • Leave a Comment

On Tuesday 6th March ten Passport to your future trainees from all over the country headed to Heelis for “moving to employment” and Housekeeping training. The career development day focused on all important CV writing and how to sell yourself to possible employers- celebrity style! Emma and Sian gave us an insight into what goes on behind the recruitment scenes and secrets on how to make the shortlist. The scariest bit for most was the mock interviews and there was no getting away from the curveball questions.After a hard day at work, we headed off toward scenic cotsworld town Moreton in Marsh to check into our posh “penthouse suites” at the Redesdale Arms Hotel where we were spoilt with jacuzzi baths and complimentary sherry- a taste of the good life!

On Wednesday morning after a full English we headed toward  NT Chastleton, a Jacobean country house built between 107 and 1612 by a prosperous wool merchant as an impressive statement of wealth and power. Shortly after being built the family ran out of money and the house remained essentially unchanged for nearly 400 years as the interiors gradually succumbed to the ravages of time. With virtually no intrusion from the 21st century, this fascinating place exudes an informal and timeless atmosphere in a gloriously unspoilt setting, truly taking a step back in time- dust, cobwebs and all!

                                           Entrance to Chastleton House


The Housekeeping training at Chastleton was presented by NT conservators and began with Light and RH training by Nigel Blades. Light monitoring involved doing spot readings with the hand held Elsec monitor,record keeping and the use of basic controls to reduce light e.g black out blinds, UV filters and blue wool dosimeters. RH training involved monitoring and basic controls also with the Elsec and existing Hanwell Monitoring systems in rooms.

                                            Monitoring outdoors               

Everybody loves creepy crawlies and us NT lot particularly love getting rid of em.’ Thats where Assistant conservator Catherine Harris came in- IPM or Integrated Pest Management. We got to I.D them bugs, looked at ways of trappin em’ and we were involved in the serious bit of record keeping…to end off we all did the woolly bear dance 🙂

                                        Food for worms

After lunch we got down and dirty with the nitty gritty looking at depth of cleaning in relation to location/visitor numbers/object condition. Identification of material types and related cleaning techniques, planned a House Keeping plan for a room and review of display mechanisms/protective measures/packing and moving techniques. 

                                        Uncovering the wierd and wonderful on our private tour of the house

                                           The bold…the beautiful…the Bible


Meeting Queen of the Castle…trainee Sarah Johnson

•March 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

After much anticipation and excitement as well as a good deal of nerves my first day at Castle Drogo arrived. The excitement has grown each and every day, the nerves have all but disappeared as the whole team have been so supportive and made me feel at home. My feet did not touch the ground during the first week. My line manager has been awesome and quickly set up a computer for me to access the on-track training. I was delighted to be spending my second day with the conservation team, it was such a privilege to be working alongside such a knowledgeable, experienced team. Helping the team to wake up the house in readiness for visitors, we moved furniture back into place in the Drawing Room. Dusted inside cabinets with secret drawers, and put up curtains in the Boudoir.


 It was a privilege and rather daunting to attend a Project meeting with National Trust experts. A building project to save the castle is due to get underway later this year, and this is the main focus of the team. Water has been invading the castle through the roof and the granite walls. This problem caused a piece of the ceiling to come down in the Scullery & larders, unfortunate for the castle, but lucky for me as I was able to complete my first piece of interpretation.

 My second week started with a very busy Monday, an all too brief chat with the volunteers, a meeting about future community engagement, and observing the visitor reception team. Being on the front line at visitor reception was wonderful, to be able to greet visitors warmly, and see the delight on the children’s faces whilst choosing their prize after finishing a trail. Then of course the training at Heelis. It was fantastic to meet all the other trainees, and I look forward to keeping in touch with each and everyone. Again, I felt so privileged to be at Heelis, and enjoyed the excellent training. The past two weeks have been overwhelming, I feel incredibly lucky to have been chosen for this placement. I fully intend to make the most of every day.