My name is Ed Jones and I am 20 years of age. I am currently an Apprentice for the National Trust based at the Kingston Lacy Estate in Dorset. Previously before my employment I studied carpentry and joinery at college. Starting with the basic level 1 carpentry, I continued to stay on and did a further two more years, finally achieving a level 3 diploma in joinery. As well as the college side of things I started to make basic joinery products at home using the skills I had gained.
As I started to look for possible apprenticeship placements, I knew I wanted to do something a bit more out of the ordinary and try and get away from the typical builders sites. I always had in my head that the National Trust would be ideal for me for many reasons; I grew up in the forest and really appreciate the natural green surroundings. As I got older my appreciation for traditional and historic buildings grew, I found myself looking at the architecture and seeing how the buildings would have been made back in the time. Working inside all day every day in a work shop just wouldn’t do it for me.
Whilst I was at college, the application of this particular placement was suggested to me by my tutor, I couldn’t believe that what I was searching for came to me. I applied for the job, a few days after my interview I got it!
There are many reasons why my apprenticeship is different from a modern construction apprenticeship; our building team is a close knit group of 6, ranging in trades from decorators, bricklayer, stone mason, carpenter and joiners. We all benefit from each other and I have learnt many skills from them. In particular, my mentor is a font of all knowledge! His enthusiasm and love of working with wood has rubbed off on me. I now look at a piece of wood in a different way, imagining how it could be worked or carved, and what it may finally become.
I am always working somewhere different, with a change of scenery whether it is inside Kingston lacy house, in one of the many tenanted cottages or the kitchen gardens. Everything we make is individual as every door and window on the estate buildings is a different size with a varied style, so needs to be bespoke.
Recently I have worked on a couple of restoration projects. We replaced a section of the laundry block canopy, replaced windows and doors from the kitchen gardens and re-instated skirting boards and panels in the main house. In order to follow conservation guidelines for listed buildings, you have to achieve a like for like fix and avoid using modern glues and adhesives.
Since working for the National Trust, I have already been on a residential Traditional Building Course to the beautiful Fountains Abbey National Trust property in Yorkshire, and look forward to further opportunities to enrich my knowledge on future courses.
My confidence and knowledge has gone from strength to strength during my time here at Kingston Lacy and I would recommend my apprenticeship to anyone serious in pursuing a future in joinery.