The Queen has given the royal seal of approval on the Press and Journal’s Apprentice 100 campaign – and helped us hit a half century of new jobs created in just over a month.
Balmoral Estate, the Royal Family’s summer residence, will take on a trainee joiner for the first time in living memory as part of our mission to give young people a foothold on the career ladder. Our campaign was launched on September 4 with the goal of creating 100 apprenticeships in 100 days.
Balmoral’s pledge, along with the sterling efforts of scores of other employers in the north and north-east of Scotland, mean we have already gathered 50 pledges.
The successful applicant will be given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn traditional conservation techniques on the famous Deeside estate.
The apprentice joiner will work under Balmoral’s clerk of works, Daniel Watson, who oversees maintenance to the castle, the estate’s 100 cottages, and its roads.
A joiner by trade, Mr Watson has lived and worked on the estate for three-and-half years and is part of a team of about 40 full-time employees.
Mr Watson said he loves his job, although the remote location can present its own challenges.
He said: “We are quite rural. We have to plan things a bit better than in towns. We can’t just nip into town and pick up materials and supplies.
“During winter it can be quite hard in terms of the weather conditions, but we seem to manage perfectly well. There are far worse places to be snowed in.”
But despite the idyllic surroundings and the prestigious nature of the role, Mr Watson was keen to stress that the job itself should be treated much like any other.
He said: “Working on the estate is the same as working anywhere else – you do your job to the best of your ability. My team and I would do that for any employer.”
The apprentice will get a rounded education in joinery, learning a combination of modern techniques but also crafts which date back generations.
Mr Watson said: “We need people who can restore original sash windows from the 1850s.
“There are not many joiners who can preserve original features properly. We tend not to work with modern power tools, though there is an element of that. We try to do things the way they were done back in the day.”
Estate factor Richard Gledson said: “We are delighted to be involved in the Apprentice 100 campaign. Skills that are applicable in a rural environment are vital, and to be able to provide a chance in employment in this part of the world is valuable and that’s why we support it and are doing our best to get young people involved.”
Become an apprentice joiner at Balmoral by requesting an application form from firstname.lastname@example.org.