A Master of Arts (MA) graduate from Cumbria has begun a retail management apprenticeship at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Ainsley Brolly, aged 24, who went to Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Penrith, is completing the apprenticeship in the Trust’s gift shop, next to Shakespeare’s Birthplace. She began working at the shop part-time while completing an MA in Shakespeare Studies at the Shakespeare Institute, also in Stratford-upon-Avon.
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is an independent charity, formed in 1847, which cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon, and promotes the enjoyment and understanding of his works, life and times all over the world.
Ainsley is among the first to start the Level 3 Retail Team Leader apprenticeship through Solihull College and University Centre, which recently merged with Stratford-upon-Avon College.
She will have to complete 15 modules that include merchandising and team leadership, before completing a formal assessment and presenting a business proposal in line with the Trust’s strategic plan.
Ainlsey said, “I really enjoy retail because I’m meeting lots of different people and it’s even more interesting in the heritage industry because you’re meeting people from all over the world
“My MA means I have the Shakespeare knowledge and that comes in very useful here, because our visitors all have that common interest of Shakespeare, so the fact that I can engage with them about Shakespeare in the shop as well adds a little bit extra to the visitor experience.
“The apprenticeship itself is giving me that extra layer of knowledge in the retail sector which is always going to be useful in terms of me progressing in this job. This is very much tailored to my work place, but it’s giving me those transferable skills so it’s going to provide good opportunities for me in the long-term.”
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust employs around 280 staff and 165 active volunteers. Since 2010, the Trust has had 16 apprentices. Ainsley is one of four apprentices currently in the Trust’s workforce, with another in retail, one in the gardens team, and one in the IT department.
The Trust has featured in the Sunday Times Best 100 Best Not-for-Profit Organisations to Work For list three out of the last four years, this recognises outstanding levels of employee engagement at the organisation.
All apprenticeships and other job vacancies are advertised at jobs.shakespeare.org.uk