This month, we opened our doors to many young people for the Discover! Creative Careers event, and introduced them to all the weird and wonderful jobs at the National Trust. Our Director of People and Legal Services, Tina Lewis, reflects on the event and how a career with us can go in so many directions.
Over the last week (18-22 November), we’ve been taking part in Discover! Creative Careers, a week-long event where we’ve opened our doors and invited hundreds of young people to come and see the breadth of what we do. The Discover! programme is a campaign led by the charity, Creative and Cultural Skills. It aims to show young people between 11 and 16 years old how many options are available in this fantastic sector.
We opened our doors in Heelis on the Monday, inviting two local Swindon schools to hear from our staff in a broad range of roles. They took part in a ‘speed networking’ session, where they got to grill staff on their jobs and the skills they needed – an eye-opening experience for both sides.
Another 20 events have been hosted at our places and I was so proud to see our teams really engaging with young people in a way we simply haven’t before. It was great to hear that some teams had used this as an opportunity to forge new relationships with schools in their area, including some who perhaps had never thought of us as a natural partner.
Students have had a chance to see the inner workings of properties of all shapes and sizes along with our regional hubs and head office. I think it’s changed more than a few perceptions about us as an organisation and the careers available with us.
We have more than a thousand different jobs to keep our places looking amazing and our supporters happy. These include countryside management, supporter development, finance, curation and experience, communications, visitor experience, archaeology, gardening, not to mention our bat surveyors, spade makers and castle keepers. So, it was great to welcome the next generation and help open their eyes to just how many amazing opportunities are open to them.
" Surprisingly, when we asked some young people what skills they thought you need to work at the National Trust, their top pick was ‘survival skills’!"
Surprisingly, when we asked some young people what skills they thought you need to work at the National Trust, their top pick was ‘survival skills’! Whilst I hope none of our people have ever had to put their survival skills to the test, it showed me just how important it is to have a conversation about the work we do. Even more vital is showing young people the work we do through placements, careers events like this and apprenticeships.
I’m really proud that we as an organisation have phased out unpaid internships and are diversifying the entry routes we offer. We recently welcomed our 100th apprentice too, with more opportunities opening up in the next few months.
Of course, this is just the start of our ambitions. We want to broaden the number of people we are reaching and test new ways of working with children and young people, making sure everyone feels welcome to come and work for us or volunteer with us. The feedback from both staff and students was great to see, with the passion our people have for our cause being a common theme.