Blenheim Palace is celebrating apprenticeships across the business as it nears its target to train more than 100 new starters by the end of 2027
Here, Aimee Akinola, a project management apprentice, shares her experience of working on restoration projects across the Blenheim Palace World Heritage Site.
What does it mean to be an apprentice at Blenheim and working in built heritage, traditionally a male-dominated environment?
For me, being an apprentice at Blenheim is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime type of opportunity. From working with other apprentices across different parts of the business, to working in and around a World Heritage Site, every day is different.
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 [Kelly Whitton, head of built heritage], who has navigated and led in a male-dominated sector for years. She taught me the importance of resilience and being assertive – skills I also use in other areas of my life.
I hope to complete a degree apprenticeship to become an RICS-accredited construction manager at Blenheim. And I hope to be able to lead on bigger projects in the future – maybe one day becoming head of built heritage
Why did you choose to go down the apprenticeship route?
After five years at university – three on my BA and two on my MA – I wanted a career change. I was also at an age where I needed to start getting some real-world experience under my belt.
Rather than going back to university for another three years, I am able to learn on the job while putting it into practice on a daily basis. This style of learning suits me very well.
What are your career aspirations?
I hope to complete a degree apprenticeship to become an RICS-accredited construction manager at Blenheim. And I hope to be able to lead on bigger projects in the future – maybe one day becoming head of built heritage.
Do you have any advice to pass on to people who might be interested in working in architecture and built heritage one day?
Architecture is all about being creative and working with people and the environment, so travel the world if you can, learn something new from every person you speak to, keep an open mind, and run headfirst towards every problem that comes your way.