Why Specialist Professionals are Critical Friends of the National Trust

Published : Tue 6th Feb

Looking after our special places for ever is a big challenge. As well as many diverse locations, we rely heavily on specialists from across a broad range of industries. We’ve talked regularly about specialist roles such as Conservators, Building Surveyors and Collections Managers, but we also use advisory groups to shape our policies and our approaches to certain work.

There are four groups within the Trust which are voluntary groups, made up of respected professionals in their own field. We have a Commercial Advisory group, Natural Environment Advisory group, Collections and Interpretation advisory group, and the Historic Environment Advisory group. Each of these groups are made up of professionals who give their time and act as critical friends to the Trust.

The role of an advisory group member, although voluntary, is critical to us. They advise us on all sorts of queries and issues, including monuments, archaeology, history, parks, gardens and even plant collections. This specialist advice impacts widely in the Trust, affecting decisions of a practical nature, a political nature and even wider policy.

We ask that advisory group members attend bi-annual meetings to help us shape the future of the National Trust There is also a requirement to spend some time on-site individually or working in mixed-discipline groups. The advice we gain from these professional volunteers is critical to our continued progress in these specialist areas.

The Historic Environmental Advisory Group Members focus on all aspects of the estate, rural or urban, and encompassing built or natural assets. we are now looking for four new members to join the team and advise us further. The four areas we are looking to cover are:

  • Archaeology -  Practitioners with strong connections to other national or international partner organisations in the heritage field, with experience of managing research strategies and programmes.

  • Major Infrastructure - Someone with a deep understanding of how major infrastructure proposals are evaluated and approved, their engineering and potential impact on (and mitigation of) the historic and special natural environments

  • Landscapes - A professional with particular skills in understanding cultural landscapes at a larger scale and experience of evaluating the impacts of large-scale proposals affecting landscapes.

  • Vernacular Buildings  - Specialists with skills and experience of evaluating proposals for the adaptation of vernacular buildings and the ability to consider potential impact on both the significance of the building and its setting.

We are looking for colleagues who have a passion and extensive knowledge in these areas, who possess a curious mind, and a professional outlook. The role requires a commitment of up to fifteen days a year, and is for an initial term of three years with the potential for the term to be renewed.. The positions are voluntary, but expenses are paid.

Please get in touch with Isabel Gilbert to discuss the roles further - isabel.gilbert@nationaltrust.org.uk

Find out more about governance at the National Trust.