Blenheim Palace launched its apprenticeship scheme in 2017 with the goal of training 10 apprentices each year.
Despite challenges posed by the pandemic, Blenheim Palace is now celebrating meeting the halfway point. Since the heritage site started its apprenticeship programmes in 2017, Blenheim Palace has successfully trained 49 apprentices.
38 apprentices are currently contributing across various departments such as built heritage, forestry, events and hospitality, game, finance, security, and construction.
This includes the 24-month Blenheim Estate apprenticeship program, a pathway which leads to full-time employment with Blenheim Estate Homes and Pye Homes, an Oxfordshire house builder affiliated with Blenheim Palace. The company recently welcomed five new apprentices specialising in trades ranging from bricklaying to carpentry and plumbing.
Speaking to Oxford Mail, Blenheim Palace CEO Dominic Hare said: “The Blenheim and Pye apprenticeship programme is something I am immensely proud of. We are helping young, local people learn and develop skills and set them up for a blossoming career.
“Our apprentices are some of our best people, and they are also injecting a new lease of life into the veteran staff who are being given the opportunity to teach their trades to a new generation.”
The apprenticeship scheme develops younger individuals, but also offers a chance for existing staff members to develop their skills and change the direction of their careers at Blenheim Palace. The apprenticeships on offer range from level 2 to level 7, with a level 7 apprenticeship equivalent to a master’s degree.
Aimee Akinola, a 26-year-old apprentice transitioning into a construction project manager role, shared her positive experience within the programme.
She said, “Working in what is a traditionally male-dominated environment can be daunting especially as a young woman.
“However, I am in a fortunate position to have a female line manager who has navigated and led in a male-dominated sector for years. She taught me the importance of resilience and being assertive.”
Commitment to community and future growth
As part of its commitment to community development, Blenheim Palace collaborates with local colleges, offering apprentices full training in their chosen subjects. The programme is open to individuals over the age of 16 who have completed secondary education, providing on-the-job paid experience, additional qualifications, and support for career growth.