Passport to your Future - Bethany Phelps
“I applied for Passport To Your Future almost by chance and I’m so glad I did. I was looking online for jobs and happened across the website. From reading the introduction to the scheme, and the aims of the project, I was immediately drawn to everything about it. Being given the opportunity to learn so many new skills and discover the organisation of the National Trust and the heritage industry, whilst working in some beautiful places, seemed almost too good to be true.
I’ve now been training in Care of Collections Management for almost four months. I love the fact that my role is so varied and I do different things every day. In open season I am more focussed on the visitor experience, through daily housekeeping and other activities to make sure the house was ready for the public. There were several occasions when I had sole responsibility for managing the house volunteers on open days: everything from daily briefings, to assigning guides to rooms, to making sure there was enough cake! I particularly enjoyed burrowing into archives to find information requested by our visitors. Now the house is closed for winter, the more in-depth projects have begun. I’m completing a full check of the collections and ensuring our records are completely correct and up-to-date. I’m also working on a project to promote this work using a blog, and designing new room interpretation sheets.
The amount I’ve learnt over the past four months is incredible. The first main learning curve was to understand the structure of the property and the National Trust. Getting the hang of the history and the family tree here at Dudmaston was also tricky, due to so many of the past occupants being called Thomas or William! More specifically to my role, I’ve been trained in Housekeeping by National Trust conservators, I’ve mastered the Collections Management System (CMS), learnt about environmental monitoring and I’m becoming confident with visitor engagement. My mentor has been brilliant at training me and is always supportive of my enthusiasm at finding other opportunities for further learning and experiences. I’ve also received a lot more informal training from various members of staff at Dudmaston, in fact, whenever I’ve come into contact with any member of staff throughout the Trust, they’re always extremely happy to help me. It feels amazing to know that I’m using my new-found skills to help preserve historic items for many years of future enjoyment.
Every day I find myself thinking how lucky I am to be here, and how much I love my job. It’s definitely lived up to my expectations in every way. In fact, it’s far exceeded them.”