Charles Gerring’s current protégé Tom Pritchard- Pitts is nearing the end of his time at the UNESCO World Heritage Site and he is now keen to recruit someone to replace him in the autumn.
As part of his apprenticeship Tom was able to help train Jess, a sheepdog puppy, assist with the birth of a record 5,000 new lambs onto the Estate, take part in shearing and much more.
“During his time with us I’ve tried to give Tom every opportunity to experience all aspects of the work of a modern shepherd,” said Charles.
“I have been really impressed with his interest and enthusiasm and am hoping he will be able to take the skills he has learned here forwards.
“Now we’re looking to recruit a new apprentice to take over from Tom. A typical day starts with checking the sheep, then we carry on with our routine jobs such as feeding, treating lame sheep, fencing and, depending on the time of year, there’s lambing, shearing, vaccinating and worming to do too,” he added.
The shepherding apprentice is part of a 10-year plan which will see Blenheim offer up to 10 apprenticeships each year with the goal of having trained in excess of 100 apprentices by 2027.
Apprenticeships are available for a variety of roles within the Estate’s businesses including; Marketing, Gardens, Maintenance, Operations, Game and Retail.
Blenheim is one of only a few employers to offer apprentices’ positions within rural businesses.
The apprenticeships start throughout the year and are open to anyone who is over the age of 16 and has completed secondary education.
“It’s really important to us that we encourage, nurture and develop individuals at the beginning of their career journey through our apprenticeship scheme and it is these types of frameworks that will shape the future of organisations and their communities,” said Blenheim’s Head of Human Resources Sarah Morris.
Each apprentice is assigned their own personal mentor and ‘buddy’ who is available to give support, advice and training.
In addition to on-the-job paid experience, successful candidates can gain additional qualifications as well as get help with CVs, interviews and career choices as part of their training.
At the end of their programme all the successful apprentices will attend an awards ceremony with their families in Blenheim Palace.
Apprenticeships are available across the Estate, Forestry, Gardening, Marketing and many more.