Customer Services Apprentice, Nicole Nielsen-Pike, is to take on the starring role in Blenheim Palace’s ‘Alice in the Palace’ festive celebrations.
Nicole’s exciting new adventure is part of her varied apprenticeship at the Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nicole, 18 from Woodstock, has been visiting the Palace with her family for many years before becoming an apprentice in 2017 after finishing her GCSEs.
“The chance to study customer service at such a huge organisation which deals with all types of visitors was a great way to start my career. It gave me the opportunity to learn on the job, gaining experience, earning money as well as studying for a qualification.”
“I love meeting and interacting with visitors from around the world and helping to make their visit extra special. Over Easter I had the chance to play Elsa from Frozen and I enjoyed it so much I volunteered to become Alice for the Christmas celebrations in the Palace.
“Blenheim has given me the opportunity to expand and work within different departments, this has helped me learn other aspects of the business and widen my knowledge.
“I work very closely with my line manager and I also have the opportunity to work and learn from other hugely experienced members of the team and also the senior management team.
“The best thing is that every day is different and brings new challenges and opportunities to learn new skills,” she added.
Nicole has also won an award for Apprentice of the Month from Abingdon and Witney College.
Sonja Milovic, Assessor/Tutor/IQA at Abingdon and Witney College said “Over the last two years, Nicole has been exceptionally busy and committed to her work and learning, she embraced challenges and turned those into opportunities. Her commitment to the job role and the team around her is extraordinary, with confidence in herself and others.
“Nicole was nominated for her overall progress, commitment to development and achievements so far.” She said.
The customer service apprentice role is part of a 10-year plan which will see Blenheim offer up to 10 apprenticeships each year with the goal of having trained in excess of 100 apprentices by 2027.
Apprenticeships are available for a variety of roles within the Estate’s businesses including; Marketing, Gardens, Maintenance, Operations, Game and Retail.
The apprenticeships are open to anyone who is over the age of 16 and has completed secondary education.
Each apprentice is assigned their own personal mentor and ‘buddy’ who is available to give support, advice and training.
In addition to on-the-job paid experience, successful candidates can gain additional qualifications as well as get help with CVs, interviews and career choices as part of their training.
The apprenticeship scheme is also enabling Blenheim to offer new and existing staff a structured way of unlocking their potential through training and experiences.