Traineeship So Far With Our Heritage Joiner

This piece was written by Graham, HES Heritage Joinery Trainee at Jericho Joinery from September 2019 – 20

Graham started his Heritage Joinery placement with us and his host Jericho Joinery in the summer of 2019. He’s done a great job learning joinery skills and contributing to the project. Read on to find out how he’s been finding the experience so far.

My name is Graham and I am currently 10 months into my yearlong traineeship specialising in restoration joinery, working with Jericho Joinery.

Prior to starting my training I had predominantly worked in catering for the last 10 years, it is a fast-paced environment and definitely a challenging industry. I learned a lot and developed a good work ethic; however, it was never the job for me. I always felt there was something else for me to do.

A little over a year ago I applied for the traineeship not expecting to hear much and I was elated when I got an interview, and even more excited to find out I’d be chosen for the placement.

It was rather overwhelming, to begin with. I met the majority of the team at Jericho Joinery and they were all very welcoming, I had a full tool kit and PPE waiting for me on my first day, I couldn’t believe it.

For the first couple of months, I was based in the workshop doing bench joinery. My first real piece of work was restoring 16 very large sash windows for the Nottingham Castle bandstand. My mentor was very patient in teaching me the basics, but we also progressed to removing and splicing any rotten areas of wood and I learnt to remove and refit windows using traditional techniques and materials.

Once my confidence and skills had increased a little I moved on to working at Nottingham Castle. It was an amazing site and I felt very fortunate to be able to see it inside and out.

My main role at Nottingham Castle was replacing windows, some small and some gigantic! It was very challenging but even more rewarding.

At the moment I am currently working on Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham. It is an incredible building; it was recently taken over by SAVE Britain’s Heritage who set up the new Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust to look after the estate; however, prior to the buyout, it was the largest private estate in the UK, amazing.

All in all, to summarise my experience so far it has been life-changing. I will attempt to not sound cheesy but before starting this I was growing restless and frustrated in life, I had no idea what to do or how to apply myself. I am so excited to revisit the buildings I’ve worked on and show off to people how awesome my job is. I take a lot of pride in my work.

Undertaking this traineeship has been the biggest challenge I have faced yet and I can happily say I wouldn’t change a thing. I have learnt so much, not only about joinery but about myself and what I’m capable of.

I feel humbled every day to be working on such historical sites, it’s a privilege to continue work carried out hundreds of years ago and it is fascinating to see the old forms of construction. I have also discovered quite a few very old signatures and marks from previous joiners, it never gets boring.

If anyone reading this is feeling a little unsure and directionless about their future career prospects then I can’t stress enough how much I recommend these traineeships.

I was looked after every step of the way by Jericho but also by Lizzie, the Project Coordinator. I’ve met some wonderful people and can’t wait to see what the future holds.