September 2018

Blenheim Palace placements are jewel in crown for international students

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International students on a variety of hospitality courses are receiving the right, royal chance to do work placements at the famous Blenheim Palace thanks to UCB and its employability service, hired@UCB.

So far, a dozen students from universities worldwide have completed a six-month work placement at the palace as part of UCB’s study abroad programme, whereby they also complete a taught semester at UCB.

The placements, launched on the back of a partnership formed between Blenheim Palace and UCB in 2016, involve working as a welcome host or guide to build up students’ language and customer service skills.

Duties include aiding with palace security, assisting with daily and specialist tours, language tours and private apartment tours, and with the set up and guiding for evening functions and events. Students also get to assist with front door introduction and ticket checking and support the front retail desk.

Visitor services supervisor Eleanor Paice said the relationship they were building with hired@UCB – the University’s careers, placements and employability service - was really positive.

“Working with UCB for the past three years has been a pleasure,” she said. “Every season, we take on new and exciting students who are always enthusiastic and willing to learn. They bring a new set of skills and a freshness to the team, which really benefits our business.”

Katie Bytheway, employability manager for hired@UCB, said students on the placements so far loved the prestige of working at what is dubbed ‘Britain’s Greatest Palace’ and gave it their all.

“Expectations on the students are high and they need to demonstrate a high level of customer service at all times,” she said. “They are expected to excel in ‘soft’ employability skills and have the ability to create a positive impression, deal effectively with difficult situations and meet the needs of a constantly changing visitor flow. We’ve had great feedback and look forward to the next cohort receiving this opportunity.”

The relationship with Blenheim Palace is going from strength to strength following a visit by hired@UCB staff Katie Bytheway and Stephanie Jones in March. There are now plans to expand the placement opportunities to include longer term options for students looking for 48-week placements and hired@UCB is already working towards setting up the study abroad opportunities for January 2019.

Find out more about hired@UCB.

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