National Trust Employee

‘One of my favourite things about the scheme has been the variety. One day I could be putting up fencing in the parkland, the next day I’m in the gardens with a mower and then helping a tenant farmer choosing sheep for market the day after. I think the breadth of skills I’ve acquired has worked very well, and it is the mentor system that has allowed me to do this.’

Year 6 trainee

National Trust Employee with quote below

The structure of the Heritage Skills Passport

The passport is designed to be flexible and extendable to meet your specific requirements, without the constraints of traditional programmes or qualifications. It contains a range of units, allowing you to focus on areas of interest and need. For each passport, there are mandatory units you must complete, and a number of optional units you can choose from.

Each programme is available at three levels with simple progression from one level to the next. You can start with either passport 1 or passport 2. Before progressing to passport 3, you should have completed passport 2 or have met an equivalent standard.

  • Passport 1 will prepare you to work at an assistant level or to gain the basic knowledge and skills required to perform tasks if you are new to the National Trust.

  • Passport 2 will prepare you for jobs where you need to take responsibility for tasks and work on your own initiative.

  • Passport 3 will prepare you for roles where you will be involved in decision-making and taking responsibility for others.

This is the line management structure supporting the trainee on their passport:

Tree Diagram


The HSP is another tool in our managers’ toolkit to help develop and improve the skills, knowledge and understanding of our people. As with other programs of learning and assessment, this will run alongside employees’ day to day work. The HSP offers the following benefits to managers:

  • A robust mechanism to demonstrate the capability of staff members
  • An opportunity to support the development of staff members within their existing roles
  • Involvement in the development process, with regular reviews but without significant additional workload
  • An opportunity to match staff members with mentors more experienced in different topics

Managers will help each candidate to complete the passport by planning with them which units they’ll undertake and when it would be best to do them, providing them with support to access any training that they need, reviewing their progress and submitting each unit as it’s completed.

Managers will also ensure that there are mentors available at their site to help each candidate progress through the units and gather the information that they need. Where appropriate, managers may also act as a mentor, in which case they’ll take on additional responsibility.

The National Trust is lucky enough to have an excellent base of professional individuals nationally, regionally and at property level who can help deliver the Heritage Skills Passport.

Each area in the passport will be supported by specialist mentor colleagues. The mentor will help candidates to develop new skills and knowledge, ensuring that they meet the required standard and that there’s enough evidence included in their portfolio to support this. The mentor reviews the evidence collected and submits the unit once it is complete. These supportive relationships remove the need for unfamiliar external examiners and means that you can work with your everyday colleagues, themselves experts in their field.

Mentors may work with a candidate on one or more units of the passport, depending on their experience and the time available. Being a mentor for the HSP gives an opportunity to pass-on your knowledge and expertise, and support your colleagues in a structured way.


NT Employee, Quote from Claire Poulton and how are trainess assessed header

Trainees can be assessed by:

  • Direct Observation
  • inspecting the end result
  • Oral or written questions
  • Trainee written or collected

The method for assessment
will depend on:

  • The trainee: What type of
    assessment do they best
    respond to?
  • The learning outcome and
    assessment criteria
  • The assessor: What type of
    assessment method works
    best for them?
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