Heritage Building Traineeship


An exciting Heritage Lottery Funded Heritage Building Traineeship

Traineeship Title: Heritage Buildings Trainee

Hours: 40 hours per week
Some bank holiday, weekend and evening work will also be required from time to time for which time off in lieu will be given.

Salary: £16,765 pa

Contract: 18 months starting 1 August 2017

Holidays: 28 Days including bank holidays

Chiltern Open Air Museum

We are an independent Museum and charity with a collection of 34 historic buildings, including a traditional working farm set in 45 acres of traditional Chilterns landscape.

Following a successful award from Heritage Lottery Fund for Skills for the Future, the Museum is pleased to be recruiting  a Heritage Building Trainee. This new training scheme offers high quality, paid museum/heritage work placements for 18 months and trainees will leave the scheme with a range of work-based training and a wide variety of heritage building and rural skills to support future careers in these areas.

The Traineeship

These traineeships require a practical aptitude for learning new physical skills and a desire to work outdoors in all weathers implementing those skills in construction, as well as a love of historic buildings and landscapes. The nature of the work will be very physical for the majority of the traineeship.

Individuals will be expected to work independently once they are deemed competent by their supervisor. They will also be expected to take on responsibility for themselves and their work where appropriate.

Heritage Buildings Trainee

As a buildings trainee you will be learning about and carrying out the maintenance and rebuilding of the historic buildings at the Museum, which will include reconstruction projects such as the rebuilding of a World War 1 Nissen Hut, as well as carpentry/joinery, roofing repairs, masonry skills (in brick and stone), the use of lime mortars in the repair of traditional buildings and painting skills for repairing the existing collection of 34 historic buildings including timber framed, brick and cast iron buildings.

You will be assisting the Buildings Manager on historic buildings maintenance jobs and projects around site often juggling multiple projects and responsibilities so good organisational and prioritisation skills are key for this role as is an awareness of health & safety regulations.

You will also have the opportunity to work with and supervise volunteers where you will use your strong communication skills and people skills to get the best out of them while they work with you as well as continuously learning from them.

The role includes working with the Front of House Team as a duty staff member on up to two weekend or Bank Holiday days per month during the open season from April to October after training.

As a trainee you will be offered a supportive learning environment, with a close working relationship with a supervisor, and an individually-tailored training programme.

Short Placements

The project includes funding for you to travel and participate in additional training that you can chose according to your interests, including a number of short placement with another heritage organisation such as partner Owlsworth IJP, a local heritage building individual contractor and day study visits or training courses organised by you with support from your supervisors. Some of these opportunities may offer certification for your portfolio of achievements and qualifications for future employers.

Social Media

Trainees are expected to write a regular reflective blog about their learning and experiences at the Museum during their traineeship, these will be posted regularly on the Museum Blog section of the website. They will also be expected to keep photographic and video records of their achievements which may be used on the Museum’s social media channels.

Preparing for future employment

You will also receive support in developing employability skills including preparing your CV, interview training, tailored support in short-listing potential employers and guidance on accessing heritage opportunities.

About you

To apply for this role you will need to have a strong interest in and a passion for heritage buildings and conservation.

You should have some practical experience in building conservation work or another relevant field as well as the ability to learn new practical skills and think creatively.  You will need good problem solving skills, great interpersonal skills and the ability to work both in a team as well as on your own initiative.

You should be prepared to work outside in all weathers and often performing very physical tasks so a good level of stamina is also required along with a sense of humour!

If you have any previous experience of working with volunteers or volunteering yourself or experience of working in a heritage setting this would be highly beneficial as would any relevant qualification around traditional building skills.

You will need to be a car owner due to the location of the Museum, where there is no public transport and the nearest station is over 30 minutes walk away on narrow and unsafe roads. For reasons of health, safety & welfare, COAM takes it’s ‘duty of care’ to employees seriously, and as you may from time to time have to work long days, depending upon the tasks that need to be competed, we also need to be assured that you are prepared to find lodgings locally.

Principle tasks

  • To participate in the training plan for this trainee role
  • To assist the Buildings Manager
  • To work with and supervise buildings volunteers
  • To learn and implement heritage building construction skills and the use of vernacular building materials
  • To participate in the management and practical application of heritage building project work
  • To assist with administration and routine operational tasks
  • To assist with historic buildings maintenance
  • To ensure compliance with health & safety regulations
  • To assist with the operation and maintenance of traditional plant, machinery and vehicles
  • To assist front-of-house functions with support when necessary and volunteer management
  • To lock and unlock Museum buildings on a regular basis
  • To take part in the duty staff weekend rota (approx 2 weekend days per month / Bank Holidays in open season)
  • To assist with any task required for the operation of the Museum when necessary
  • To promote the Museum to external organisations if required

Person Specification


  • Some practical experience in buildings work
  • An interest in and a passion for heritage building
  • Understanding of the crucial role played by volunteers in the heritage industry
  • Ability to learn new practical skills
  • A positive attitude to learning
  • Ability to think creatively
  • Good problem solving skills
  • A positive and conscientious attitude to work and people
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Commitment to achieving high standards
  • Good stamina levels
  • Ability to work well in a team and with people from different backgrounds
  • Ability to work on own initiative
  • Attention to detail
  • Good IT Skills using MS Word packages
  • Ability to work flexible hours to suit workload and needs of the Museum
  • Sense of humour
  • Car owner


  • Any relevant qualification, for example:
    • CSCS card
    • NVQs in Building conservation, construction or site supervision
  • Volunteering (in any sector)
  • Experience of working with volunteers
  • Experience of working in a heritage setting
  • Good IT Skills including use of Microsoft word packages, internet and social media

How To Apply

Please complete the COAM HLF Application Form, supported by a current CV and email this to Sue Shave at director@coam.org.uk

If emailing is not possible for you, please send by post to: COAM HLF Recruitment Team, Chiltern Open Air Museum, Newland Park, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles, Bucks. HP8 4AB

Please fill out our Equal Opportunities Form and submit it with your application.

Deadline for applications: 16th June 2017 (extended from 12 June)

Interview process: Initial telephone interviews. Successful candidates will be invited to one assessment day, which candidates must attend on that day.

Heritage Building Skills Assessment Day: Monday 26 June / Wednesday 28 June 2017


We regret that we are unable to contact all applicants regarding the outcome of their application. If you have not been contacted by the date of the interview, please assume that on this occasion, your application has been unsuccessful. Thank you for your interest in this post and our Museum.

Chiltern Open Air Museum is an equal opportunities employer. This post is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. The appointment of the post holder will be subject to an enhanced DBS and satisfactory references.






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