My traineeship was the best year of my life!

Published : Fri 17th Jan Author : Hajira Mahomed

I decided it was time for a change of career and it wasn’t long before I stumbled across the advert for National Trust Your Future Your Hands traineeship in House and Collections. It sounded really interesting and I’ve always had a love for heritage, so I applied for the Taster Day and went along.

I had a brilliant day meeting the team and getting stuck into some exciting conservation demonstrations. Everyone was so friendly and the day gave me a real feel for what it’d be like as a trainee. I knew straight away that it was something I wanted to do. Two and a half years later and here I am. I undertook the traineeship over one year and have been working at OsterleyParkas as a Conservation Assistant for the past 18 months. I’ve had the time of my life. Working at the National Trust is completely different to anywhere I’d worked before; it’s lovely being surrounded by people with similar interests who share your passion and actually enjoy the work they do.

A lot of people have this view of Conservation being all white gloves and brushes but it’s so much more. It’s a specialist skill. On the traineeship, you get to learn all about these incredible objects – how they’re made, how they come together, how to manage conservational change and so much more. Over the year, I worked between two beautiful properties, Fenton House and 2 Willow Road. And as well as growing my heritage and conservation expertise, I picked up valuable career skills – like networking, time management and working with volunteers and visitors. The training and support you get is fantastic. The entire property team were always there to help me, there were useful training sessions and I kept in contact with other trainees during the scheme as we were all going through the same experience.

If I had to pick one highlight as a trainee, it’d probably have to be representing the National Trust at the World Skills Conference where I demonstrated conservation in action to a range of audiences. There are so many things I’ve enjoyed, though. The whole experience was key to developing my career in heritage and it’s given me the opportunity to engage with a diverse range of people and get vital advice from experts. And I’ve made some amazing lifelong friendships. In the near future I am hoping to do my Masters in Paper/ Book conservation at a London college so, right now, I’m really looking forward to developing my heritage skills even further!