On a typical day I worked on the dishwasher, cleared tables, ran food and cleaned the tea rooms after closing to the public. With a slow dishwasher and a lot of customers it meant a lot of dishes piling up to the point where there was too many to fit on the rack and leaving them anywhere. As soon as you got started on cleaning dishes the cooks/supervisors would have you do something else such as run food or clear a table which just added to the pile of dishes. Supervisors would then shout and moan that we had run out of cutlery, teapots, plates, etc despite staff trying their hardest to sort it out. Most staff are on 0 hour contracts with very inconsistent hours, one week I would be in 4 days the next I would be in 1 day. Staff would also be sent home early if the cafe was overstaffed, leading to even more inconsistent hours. Expect to be doing a hundred different things at once, and being told off when you're not able to do more. The work was also soul wrenchingly tedious and physically demanding, but that is to be expected in an environment such as this.
Workplace breaks were in violation of the law, being only offered a 15 minute lunch break when working a full day shift of 8 hours (the law states that workers are entitled to a 20 minute break when working for 6 hours or more). But management wanted to keep breaks to a minimum to keep us working through busy periods.
Training opportunities were few and far between, I was offered a very small amount of training on the cof
ProsColleagues, Customer interactions, free lunch, national trust membership
Fantastic places to work in. Wonderful people. Low pay and no job security.
Really amazing places to work within, particularly the bigger outdoor sites. Fascinating landscapes and buildings which you see so much more of than any visitor. Very knowledgeable staff and many useful processes being established but dated IT and office/retail equipment.
Very variable management capabilities from site to site. Some are excellent, hands on and really hardworking and thoughtful. Others have limited experience, are hands off and distant, but some how got a job which is beyond their ability.
The company has been working through a lot of hard decisions and changes and this has left scars, which is inevitable. Mistakes have been made. They get a lot of bad press, much of which is not deserved and often based on false statements or incorrect association with other organizations.
Visitors generally have a great time with a very high return rate. Job satisfaction, if not pay and security, is high. You need people skills far more than degrees. They really should stop hiring graduates with no experience or ability in a business environment.
The work can be really intense and requires a lot of energy and dedication, particularly at busy holiday times. It is not a sleepy, slow-paced sinecure, as many think.
Seasonal pay and low rates only suit a few people, hence high turnover of staff. If you can afford to work for minimum wage, for short hours for six months a year, with little security in a fascinating and variable environment then this is for you. If you need to p
ProsAmazing places to work. Free entry to sites. Great teams. Friendly and supportive staff.
ConsSeasonal work, low pay, part days, no job security, extra hours at basic rate, high turnover of staff, benefits linked to basic hours.
Work as a Catering Assistant is long hours on your feet. No appreciation of your hard work. Customers can be lovely but many are rude demanding and condescending. The usual mix of team members, some lovely and you make life long friends, The management on the other hand just a full scale mess. The management are young adult, so its young adult in charge of young of adult which = 100% shambles. Are there favourites member of staff,of course there are. Should the management team who was full adult actually do their jobs, yes. The clean in the evening is completed by staff who have been on their feet all day and are desperate to leave and get home. Hence no attention to detail. Pay is minimum wage and the management at Tyntesfield house liked to hide our slips in the office for some strange reason! Then there is the 0 hour contract that the management dont understand the definition of which is
'A zero-hour contract is a type of contract between an employer and a worker, where the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours, while the worker is not obliged to accept any work offered.' Not giving us the shifts and us having to do it or the threat of being kicked out of the job is hang over our head. Whatever they are still doing or were doing at Tyntesfied isn't an 0 hour contract. That's complete difference thing when the person working chooses when he/she is going to work not the management team.
But on the lighter note the food was great, and all locall
ProsFree lunches, Good people, lovely location ( not to get too if not driving)
A typical day in season, April - September, very busy especially when the boats were running to Skomer Island. As a point of interest, I found to my experience, this is where the majority of visitors wanted to go. I found the majority of my time was giving out information about the Island and boat times !. My main duties were assisting in parking the cars , retail sales of goods and importantly, recruiting new members to the trust which entailed giving out information and promoting the values about the Trust and the value of benefits on offer by joining. My co -workers at Martins Haven were brilliant, the job itself was marvellous, as stated before, it was very busy at times due to the large numbers of visitors. I re-applied for the position in 2015 but failed the Interview. I was to be informed of the outcome the next day,10th February, but as of the 24th, nothing, verbal or written. It soon became apparent that they were not going to ! On contacting the manager the next morning ,after profuse apologies, I was informed that I had answered the standard questions given to me at the Interview, incorrectly. Funny that, they were the same questions as last year and I got them right !!...and the job !. It appears that never mind the your attributes, personality or skills, or how many new members you`ve signed up, you have to get the questions right!... Apart from this, I enjoyed the work,
the visitors were marvellous and I met some wonderful characters and made long lasting frie
ProsLovely place to work, enjoyed every day !. The job was superb.
Quite pleasant overall, although I wonder if the organisational problems regularly lead to loss of volunteers.
Met many interesting visitors to NT house. It's wonderful being able to spend an afternoon in beautiful surroundings and talk to interested people bout it. But the organisation seems haphazard. The house was going to be closed on the last day due to illness of various people. I offered to go in and open up. Just as well, as there were a lot of people who came in from a misadvertised estate walk. If they had found the house closed as well as probs with the estate walk, there would have been many complaints to the NT. So we in fact saved the day!
Had very interesting time transcribing ELP's memories for the Oral Archive, learning about history of the Stonehenge Landscape, which were just within living memory eg that there were large horse pens near the stones, to quarter the farm horses that were going to the WWI battlefields. That the land on and around the stones was bought by a private individual in early 20C and given to the Nation as heritage to be preserved. Otherwise, the stones were being threatened with demolition as they were in the way of WWI planes coming in to land at the nearby airfield. Made several friends in both sections of the NT. But found the NT management frustrating, especially when it seems that these transcriptions are going into a big hole somewhere. No official feedback or response to these transcriptions, even though meeting to allocate proofreaders was held 6 months ago.
Prostravel allowance. spending time in beautiful & inspiring surroundings.
A typical day at work would include signing in, getting the coffee machines prepared for opening, getting the floats in the tills or washing up. Front of house would include being on tills all day taking orders, heping when can to clear and wipe down tables. Kitchen would include making up orders, running trays out, running food out, washing up and stacking. I some times help on the chef's side this would include food preparation, making up of orders, keeping the area clean and presenting food correctly on the plates using the correct amount of food. End of day would include cashing up if supervisor is absent, hoovering restaurant, filling sugar pots up, cleaning of tables. In kitchen would include washing up, stacking, sweeping floor, mopping floor, recycling, taking wastage bags, cleaning of surface, restocking drinks fridge, cleaning of drinks machine and dishwasher.
Management has changed since i first started it was more strict but seems not so much now. Manager is located between two National Trust properties which isn't easy if something needs sorting out. My co-workers aare all hard workers and energetic. Lovely people to work with and always feel part of one big family/team. The hardest part is on busy day (bank holidays) I have to deal with a fair amount of complaints about waiting times. The constant movement around the restaurant and kitchen. The most enjoyable part of my job is the customers as we have regulars who are always polite and friendly.
ProsFree hot drinks and squash.
ConsSoup and bread for Break. Long hours. Need lots of energy.
A typical days work includes preparation for beginning of service, operating the till, making hot beverages, taking food orders and serving these to the customers, clearing tables, washing dishes, re stocking produce,helping chefs with food production, cleaning down at end of service, money handling.
Days are often long and when experiencing busy days are often made to work all day without a break. You may often experience having to work alone, a contradiction to its claim in its job advertisements. These are the results from the understaffing issue which is a consistent problem every year. No additional pay for working evenings, weekends or bank holidays just accumulate an extra days holiday, which you never seen to be able to take when you want as they are constantly short staffed. No pay for overtime and yet regularly expected to open for longer than actual opening hours. Poor treatment to seasonal staff, mostly made to go on a zero hours contract so they can use them and drop them as and when they feel.
Co workers are they only pro to working here, would say the free dinner as well but the whole reason why we get paid £6.31 an hour and yet someone who works on admissions is on £7.51 an hour is because we get this 'luxury' so can't even call it free . Regular customers always a pleasure to serve however expect alot of whingers. High prices for produce only to be met by long queue waits and frantic staff who cant provide as good a service as they should as there is not
Loved it. The mixture of customer service and outdoor work was a nice feeling to see my accomplishments and then for visitors to compliment and appreciate them. I worked earlier most times in the morning and slightly later in the evening simply because I enjoyed my job and am more than willing to help others out if needed. I picked up a multiple of new skills when working along side the rangers and they made me feel part of the team for the duration I worked there. Every single person there, rangers and volunteers, aided me in every way they could and made me feel welcomed. The hardest part of what i did, had to be when I had to work in the pouring rain building structures, as well as the 9 mile ride i had to endure in the morning and then the 9 mile ride back home, however that did not bother me too much as I enjoyed every opportunity they threw at me. There were many enjoyable moments whilst I worked there, but i have to say the most enjoyable parts were when I worked alongside both the rangers and volunteers, simply because the laughs we had, but the work still got done. I enjoyed building a raised footpath for the younger visitors to use as is was very rewarding seeing all of the children run up and down it,and the parents complimenting us saying what a wonderful job we were doing. I enjoyed it there so much I am currently in the process of signing up for volunteering for Lyme Park.
The NT is not the employer I had hoped it would be.
Very please to work for the NT to begin with, whatever the job, because I assumed it would be a forward thinking, upstanding, employee focussed organisation. After all this is the National Trust !
My job - Holiday Cottage caretaker/cleaner. Working with one other, and in teams for larger properties. Half hr lunch break. All sounded great at the start, high cleaning standards, colleague support and teamwork, no lone working, free annual membership.
Sadly things became clear within 6 months:
Buy cottage flowers & milk from your own money until you found time to apply (via a very complicated photo & computer process) for your refund which could take months (At one point I was owed over £200)
Pressure from Supervisors to do extra work, at very short notice and be available for work 6 days a week.
NT Membership Card never arrived (I worked for over a year).
Uniform took 4 months to arrive.
Risky lone working jobs at dilapidated cottages with no mobile phone reception.
Expectation that cleaners will have the time and knowledge to fix broken, damaged fixtures and fittings.
And all for minimum wage. Not even The Real Living Wage.
Sadly the NT is not an employer I would recommend.
ProsHalf Hour lunch break. Nice bunch of people.
ConsLone working in risky conditions. Use own money to buy flowers & milk, refunded months later. If you work harder and faster than others you will 'carry' their workload
Being the public face of a popular tourist attraction
The best thing about being a volunteer at Petworth House is the chance to meet and interact with the visitors and to share knowledge with them in a friendly manner. I love answering their questions and sharing information with them. On a typical day, I can be giving a series of introductory talks in the morning each lasting about 15 minutes bringing the people who occupied the house over the centuries to life, and spending the afternoon as a steward in any one of the state rooms or kitchens. As a founding member of the Costumed Interpreation Team, I can be bringing to life the role of the House Steward or the Chef, explaining their lives to visitors of all ages. Being a house of art as well as a historic home, I have found out a huge amount about paintings and sculpture that I missed in education. Through good management, I have been able to make the most of my inter-personal skills, and encouraged to participate in the Volunteer Steering Group, representing the views of my co-workers and working with staff at a strategic level. Like many organisations, the National Trust simply could not function without us as effectively. Hardest part of the job? Keeping warm in the winter months undoubtedly!
ProsInteresting co-workesr from all walks of life; 20% discount on all NT products
Questions and answers about National Trust
What would you suggest National Trust management do to prevent others from leaving?
Asked 5 Oct 2018
Not treat staff like robots. Give proper training before expecting to work on shop floor. Encourage rather than constant criticism. Be friendlier rather “ you versus me” attitude. Not one rule for management and another for staff.
Answered 19 Jul 2021
Treat employees and volunteers with the respect they deserve. Just because you are in an office and meetings does not make you a good manager!!
Answered 22 Nov 2020
How is feedback from management delivered at National Trust?
Asked 5 Oct 2018
Across all the National Trust sites there is regular updates from the managers on individuals progress and with ongoing and upcoming events.
Answered 1 Apr 2022
usually very professionally the right mix of encouragement and constructive ways forward. usually involves some element of noted baseline acknowledgement .
Answered 4 Aug 2021
What questions did they ask during your interview at National Trust?
Asked 7 May 2017
Mostly concerning your pulling power at the weekend
(it’s a bit sad really)
Answered 31 Aug 2019
Answered 17 Feb 2019
How does someone get hired at National Trust? What are the steps along the way?
Asked 24 Mar 2017
Be a man - boys club.
Answered 23 Sept 2019
Do some volunteering first, they like that. Show interest in the company, do your homework.
Answered 2 Aug 2019
As a visitor assistant, can you wear nail polish?
Asked 1 Mar 2018
and bright colourful hair is definitely not allowed or infact pierced ears/bone through the nose is a definite no no
Answered 31 Aug 2019
Have no idea but would of thought so. as i never had any issues with dress and grooming