Experience Baddesley Clinton with trainee John Lavelle

Published : Wed 7th Mar Author : National Trust

Hello, my name is John Lavelle, I have just started the second year passport in visitor experience at Baddesley Clinton in Warwickshire.

I have had a very varied past, having worked in construction, warehouses, bars and nightclubs and the royal mail. None of these jobs left me feeling fulfilled, they were just a way of paying the bills and I was always looking for something to interest and challenge me. I had never considered working for the National Trust before as I had no experience and precious few formal qualifications. The chances of being successful seemed so low it just wasn’t worth the effort of filling in the application. Purely by chance, during one of my recently all too frequent periods of redundancy, I chanced upon an advert for the passport to your future. At the time of applying I had very little faith in my chances of success but I just had to give it a go. After all you have to be in it to win it.

After the taster day I was convinced that I didn’t stand a chance, having met quite a few the other candidates and I left it until the very last day to submit my application. The initial response came a day or two later, telling me that I would be contacted regarding the next stage of the application process. I waited for what seemed like an eternity then I received an email inviting me for a first stage interview. The first interview was very informal and held in the main house next to a roaring log fire, very welcome in the middle of December. I found this method really put me at ease. I was still nervous and didn’t say all the things I wanted to say but I still found the experience very positive. I thought to myself if I was lucky enough to get a second interview I would be happy just to get that far. The second interview was a bit more formal but my interviewers managed to create a really friendly atmosphere that helped to put me at ease. At the end of the interview they told me I had made it to the last four, so I gave myself a pat on the back and resigned myself to returning to my boring warehouse job for the foreseeable future. When I received the call of confirmation the rush of euphoria nearly knocked me over, I thought oh my god I’m going to work for the National Trust. Then the panic set in and I thought oh my god I’m going to work for the National Trust. I couldn’t believe they chose me and I still find it difficult to believe, even though I’m three weeks into the passport.

On my first day I was a bag of nerves. I have never done anything like this before. What would my colleagues be like?  Would I fit in? Could I cope with the work? Would I be creative enough? There were so many things going through my mind I didn’t really give myself chance to enjoy it. My fears were unfounded, I could not wish for a nicer, friendlier bunch of people to work with. My line managers, mentors and my “buddy” have all assured me that not only do I have the potential but I have everyone’s support to help me achieve. There is a lot to take in and it can be a bit daunting. The first two weeks feel like being caught in a whirlwind. There are so many people to meet, names to remember and a stack of information about national trust policy and procedure. There was also a trip to head office in Swindon in week two where all the trainees met and had the opportunity to meet all of the people behind the passport to your future programme. I also got to meet a year one trainee who told us about his experiences so far. I had a wonderful time there and I had great fun with rest of the trainees. We all felt the same way, a bit scared, a bit bewildered that we were chosen, but most of all really excited about the year ahead and eager to start learning.

Republished by kind permission from the NT Passport To Your Future blog (http://ntpassporttoyourfuture.wordpress.com)