Emily Bennett: BA (Hons) History 2015-2018 Reservicing Programme Moves and Operations Assistant, Buckingham Palace

3 Mar 21

How did you achieve getting into your role after university?

I count myself extremely lucky to have gone straight from studying History at the University of Winchester, to supporting Royal Collection Trust’s Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace as a Warden. There are multiple Winchester graduates that have worked the summer at Buckingham Palace, and I lived with two others throughout my time at Winchester – they inspired me, and pushed me to apply for the contract. From there, I secured a permanent role as the Visitor Services Project Assistant, also for Royal Collection Trust, and worked over two years in this role planning, executing and evaluating projects that sought to improve aspects of the Visitor Services operation. As I developed on skills I learnt at Winchester and throughout my time with Royal Collection Trust, I was honoured to join the Buckingham Palace Reservicing Programme as the Moves and Operations Assistant late last year. Buckingham Palace’s infrastructure is in urgent need of replacement to prevent long-term damage to the building and its contents; being part of a team preserving one of the most iconic buildings in the world for future generations is a privilege.

How did your degree at Winchester help you with this?

My History degree at Winchester supported me in so many ways to get to where I am today. The History course itself was not just focussed on learning different parts of history – yes I got to study vast topics, such as Europe from 1300-1500, The Wars of the Roses, Soviet Russia, Queenship from 1600 onwards, the Moon Landings, and the United Kingdom in the 20th Century, to name but a few - but we also learnt to read and write history, to support heritage sites and to understand the issues that heritage sites face. Here I am today, working on a project to replace the Palace's electrical cabling, plumbing and heating which have not been updated since the 1950s. To ensure that the Palace is fit for purpose for the next 50 years, opening up improved visitor access to the Palace in due course and supporting the Monarchy is something I am so pleased to be doing, using the skills I learnt at Winchester. 

What would you like to achieve next and how will you do this?

Having only started as the Moves and Operations Assistant late last year, I have had only a little while to think about my next steps and how I am going to achieve this! But the Royal Household is hugely supportive of Personal Development and there are a variety of training sessions available to support my growth as a professional.

How did your involvement in extra-curricular activities benefit your career search?

From being the History representative on the Student Academic Council, to singing with the King Alfred Singers and Consort choirs, to being an active member of the History Society; I definitely made the most of extra-curricular at Winchester. The Student Academic Council taught me how conduct myself in important meetings, a skill I use daily in my current role. Being a part of multiple choirs meant I was used to working in a team to create something harmonious; working hard and dedicating time to make things the best they could truly be. And being part of the History Society connected my passion with my academic degree – as I walk through Buckingham Palace I am reminded that I am a part of living history by making the Palace fit for future generations.

What is your best memory as a student at the University of Winchester?

To try and pick one is impossible! Within my first term I’d sung at Alan Titchmarsh’s inauguration as Chancellor of the University with the King Alfred Singers; in second year I met the greatest group of friends a girl could wish for, friends who are still very much a part of my life; and in third year I handed in a dissertation that I was immensely proud of. Getting to work with Dr Sian Edwards so closely to produce a piece of work that encapsulated two of my passions - the Royal Air Force and Gender Studies – was an amazing experience!

How do you think Winchester shaped you as a professional in your career?

Winchester shaped me in so many ways! I learnt resilience, passion, organisation, communication, adaptability and tenacity. That is genuinely only some of the skills I developed over my time at Winchester that I have carried forward in to my professional career. But overall, my lecturers and friends gave me a confidence in myself that I did not have before attending Winchester. I have thrived personally and professionally since my degree and I’m very grateful to Winchester for their help along the way!

What advice would you give current students?

It’s only fair to recognise that you are studying for your degree in unprecedented times. But as much as you can, enjoy every minute, because it truly will go by too fast. Take every opportunity offered to you and utilise the knowledge of your department staff. Dream big and remember that, whatever your degree, Winchester has taught you skills that you can take to any job, in any location, and at any level.

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