Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham is proudly supporting National Apprentice Week 2021’s Build The Future campaign.
The annual event showcases the positive impact apprenticeships have on communities, local businesses and regional economies – and urges organisations to give young people that vital first step on the career ladder. The Trust which owns the mansion now employs two apprentices and hopes to set on more in the near future. The Woodhead group, which has undertaken much-needed renovation work is also a keen supporter.
Rebecca Vickers began a Finance Apprenticeship at the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT) in November 2019 and is aiming for a career in accountancy. The Doncaster 20-year-old had always thought she would go to university, but changed her mind and when she saw the vacancy at Wentworth Woodhouse, she looked into the work of the Trust. “I thought it would be amazing to be part of that,” she says.
Rebecca has already completed her Level 2 modules and is now working towards a Level 3 qualification. She has been on furlough for most of the pandemic, but is studying hard online and is learning to play the guitar and piano.
She certainly hits the right note with Finance Manager, Penny Ramsden, who said: “Rebecca shows enormous potential – she is enthusiastic to learn and always keen to take on more tasks. She is exactly what we had hoped for in an apprentice.”
History-lover Victoria Kica knew she had found the perfect apprenticeship when she walked into Wentworth Woodhouse. The 19-year-old from Goldthorpe began her Business Admin Apprenticeship with the Trust in February 2020. Sadly, just a month later, the UK went into its first COVID-19 lockdown and Victoria has been on furlough since.
She’s using her time to study for her qualification, train her dog, Willow – and improve her baking skills! She can’t wait to get back to work though: “The Trust has lots of potential for growth and it’s an exciting opportunity to be a part of that,” she says.
Office Manager Keeley Stephenson, whose own career began as an apprentice when she was just 16, said: “I feel sure that, had it not been for the scheme, I wouldn’t be doing the role I am in today. I hope to see Victoria flourish in the same way and look forward to supporting her on the journey. I am very keen to have her back in the office. Victoria has great potential.”
Employed by contractors working on the mansion’s 18th century roof, further trainees got to work alongside skilled heritage specialists. Owen Nightingale is an apprentice site manager with Woodhead Group and is studying at Barnsley College for a Level 3 qualification in construction and the built environment.
Owen, of Thrybergh, has now set his hard-hat at a career in heritage construction and conservation. “Being a part of restoring Wentworth Woodhouse has been a pleasure. I am eager to work on heritage buildings as a career,” he said.
Specialist Lincolnshire masons Heritage Masonry Contracts were called in to work on repairs and restoration of the roof’s centuries-old stone features – life-size statues, giant urns and hand-carved balustrades and portico detailing. The company’s two apprentice stonemasons enjoyed working alongside their MD, Sean Knight.
Ben Halifax is completing his a Level 3 banker masonry qualification and Oliver Atkin has recently completed his Level 2 banker masonry qualification while at Wentworth.
“Ben and Oliver are our first apprentices. It has been a thoroughly positive experience. A project on the scale of Wentworth Woodhouse has enabled them to learn, experience and hone a plethora of different conservation and restoration techniques,” said Sean.
Heritage Masonry Contracts are soon to take on another apprentice. Louis Harrison will begin a fixer masonry course, this September.
images: WWPT / Woodhead Group