The Trust – which maintains the UK’s historic buildings – is now inviting youngsters to apply for the 16 places on the new training scheme.
The programme is designed to tackle the severe building skills shortage in the heritage sector as a quarter of the current workforce is due to retire in the next six years.
Apprentices will learn traditional crafts during a three-year programme, which begins in September, at National Trust properties across the country.
Trainees will work alongside staff due to retire within that time. The National Trust currently employs 130 direct labour staff with an average age of just under 50. Nearly 19% of those staff are due to retire within four years, rising to 25% in six years.
Rory Cullen, Head of Building at the National Trust, said: “The severe shortage of people with heritage building skills has made it extremely difficult for the Trust to recruit appropriate staff and this situation is common to the industry as a whole.
“We have responsibility for the upkeep of more listed and historic structures than anyone else, so we are in a prime position to generate awareness of the issue and take action to address it.”
Philip Venning, Secretary, The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, said: “The National Trust has a huge range of different kinds of buildings, and this scheme will give the apprentices a unique chance to learn from some of the best in the field.”
The Apprenticeship Scheme will be funded by the Trust’s own funds and places will be offered on a three year contract basis. Each apprentice will be paid £12,000 a year and college and tuition fees will also be covered.
To apply for a place on the Apprenticeship Scheme, beginning in September, visit www.ntjobs.org.uk or telephone 01793 817799.