Work Experience Week at Holkham

Posted: June 07th 2019

by Emily, Work Experience student

Work Experience Week at Holkham

Monday 3rd June

I arrived at the Holkham estate office on Monday morning very nervous but excited to do something new throughout the week. After meeting the lovely kind people who work in the various different departments, and the marketing team where I was based for the week, I felt very welcomed and ready to start the week. First, I was taken to Pinewoods to discuss the brand development and have a look around the caravan site. It was so interesting to learn about the different aspects they have to look at when developing the brand of the company, the decisions even include how thick or thin the font of the text should be, after this I certainly had a better understanding of how updating the parts the public see can help attract more people, of all ages, to the peaceful naturalistic holiday site. Following that meeting, I had a tour of the caravan site which allowed me to know more about the site, as part of brand development and marketing is knowing and understanding the product you’re trying to sell to people. Continuing with my introduction to Holkham, I was shown around the hall and the walled gardens where I was able to see the immaculately kept grounds and the history throughout each area of the estate. I was able to ask questions and the guides were friendly and willing to share the interesting history about the whole estate. For the last part of my first day, I went through the ‘Field to Fork’ Experience where I learnt all about the agriculture of the estate and how it actually came to be, as well as the gift shop where I could see the local produce that was sold.

Tuesday 4th June

For my second day, I attended a photo shoot with the Wedding team, to promote one of the wedding suites at The Victoria. As I’m interested in photography and it’s actually one of my GCSE choices, I was happy to help with anything as it gave me some experience on how working at a shoot works and how much attention to detail you as the photographer must have. I also learnt how to use a reflector which I hadn’t been taught yet to get this practical, hands-on education was great and really helpful. After the shoot I was taught how to use Facebook as a business account and how using social media can inform people about upcoming events on the estate. In addition, it allows people to ask questions quickly and with ease. Moreover, I also learnt how to reply to good and bad reviews appropriately on google reviews and trip advisor. This taught me how you should react when people dislike something or think you can improve something about the work you’re doing, even though sometimes it cannot be helped. Tuesday afternoon I was taken around a Behind the Scenes Cellar Tour. This was really interesting as I could see the workings of the house; how servants would have seen the house many years ago and interesting facts such as that most of the food produced was eaten and made for the estate. It really helped that our tour guide was so enthusiastic about the hall and the history behind all the uses of the rooms.

Wednesday 5th June

Beginning of Wednesday, I caught up on any Facebook and Twitter notifications that I missed overnight, and I discovered that the post I had made the day before with my photo had done really well on social media, which was a nice surprise. Later that morning, I went on a Parkland heritage tour which looked deeper into the development of the estate agriculturally and as a family home. This was a really interesting tour as I learnt a lot about farming and how various buildings were used throughout the ages, such as the monument which was paid for by the tenants of the estate to remember Coke of Norfolk. Again the tour guide was so enthusiastic and the knowledge of the estate was clear and in depth. Returning from the tour, I went to an informal lunch with two marketing members and an interviewee for the marketing team. Although this was a friendly meet up, it was good for me to meet another person interested in marketing and someone who had just been through the interviewing process. For the rest of the day, I was responding to more good and bad reviews on a number of social media platforms, which gave me more practice with the use of Facebook business and Twitter.

Thursday 6th June

Thursday morning I went to the walled garden and talked to some of the volunteers who were working. They started out with planting some herb plants around the borders of the vegetable plot and then started to take out the weeds in the neighbouring plot. I spoke to a number of people who had been volunteers, some had been helping there for about three years and I imagine some even longer. I later found out that there are 70+ volunteers (either full time or part time) who can work Wednesdays, Thursdays or Fridays. They are accompanied by 4 full-time gardeners and together they make the gardens the immaculate and beautiful place they are. All the gardens are full of pretty flowers and big vegetables and are always full of wildlife such as the bees and the oystercatcher who has found refuge in one of the old greenhouses. Throughout the morning I learnt a lot about the gardens and the volunteers who help run them. After returning from the busy morning I met Jo, a member of the marketing team, and one of my teachers from school. We showed him around the house, where he was surprised to find that the house was still lived in today. He enjoyed the house and the tour guides who gave us so much information on the individual rooms and were equally as knowledgeable and keen to talk about the hall and the predecessors of the grounds. For the rest of the day, I learnt more about the use of social media for a business as big as this and how it can be used effectively to make more people see the posts you’re making or how to get more comment and likes. As well as that I learnt how to use Expression Engine which allowed me to write this blog and how to use that properly.

Friday 7th June

This day was dedicated to writing this blog, which I enjoyed as much as the other days as I was able to learn what a normal day in the office would be like. This has been an amazing week and I have learnt so much about the estate and the kind of work people do to make the running of this place so efficient. Thank you to everyone who made this week a great learning experience week!

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