The properties are selected
Before a bid was put to the Heritage Lottery fund, National Trust properties taking part in the first three years of the project were selected – for years four to six, properties were selected against specific selection criteria.
It was imperative that if the trainees were to receive quality traineeships, they needed to work with a staff team committed to delivering quality training, which had diverse opportunities to offer the trainee and was committed to working with somebody from a group under-represented in the National Trust.
Programme manager, Claire Poulton, carried out the selection process. Properties were selected for:
- The range of quality opportunities that they could offer a trainee relevant to the skills in the Heritage Skills Passport.
- Commitment to taking on a trainee and providing a dedicated management structure, including quality mentoring and coaching in each of the passport’s technical areas.Commitment to increasing diversity at the property.
- Commitment to carrying out the recruitment processes.
- Passion and enthusiasm for the project.
Staff from successful properties met with Claire to ensure everyone understood the project and the sort of commitment required.
It was important to get the whole property team’s commitment. This meant that they worked towards the trainees’ personal and technical development so that the trainees felt part of the team, rather than isolated because people did not understand why they were there or felt resentful at the opportunity the trainees had secured.
One lesson learnt from the earlier years when Claire would just talk to the property’s Line Manager about the project in the introduction session. As a result, there was not as much commitment from the property team and the trainees could feel isolated.
Claire asked for the trainee’s training to be put in the Line Managers’, mentors’ and buddies’ performance development review. This meant the trainee would become a priority, while individuals were recognised for their work with the trainee.
If a property has a number of trainees, each from differently funded training schemes with different priorities and ways of working, the property can become too stretched and the quality of training can be affected. In the traineeship selection process, a property could be asked if they are hosting any other trainees and about the consequences and resource allocation for each trainee.