Furlough Courses Allow Blenheim Staff to Flourish in Lockdown
Blenheim has been supporting its furloughed staff and those having to work from home by funding online training courses of their choice. The aim of the courses, which include everything from dog grooming and floristry to sports massage, game design, Spanish, German, music and accountancy, is to keep employees active and engaged throughout lockdown. The Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site invited all of its furloughed staff and those working from home to choose a couple of different online training courses; providing them with the opportunity of either developing their existing skill sets or learning something new.
“We really wanted to boost people’s morale, develop their confidence and allow their creativity by giving them the opportunity to develop their skill sets, with courses relevant to their role and general interests – or anything that took their fancy,” said Megan Carter, Head of HR at Blenheim.
“For people that work from home or are on furlough some of these courses have given a real focus for them – we are so proud of everyone who has taken up something new.
Among those taking part in the scheme is Palace Host Joanne Woodward, who decided to learn floristry to build on her creative skills, having completed a degree in art and design.
“With a love for nature and flowers it made sense for me to undertake a course in floristry,” she said.
“It’s been a great opportunity for me to learn something new, which I would not have done if it wasn’t for Blenheim. I have even started to grow my own seeds to use late spring into summer as fresh cut flowers,” she added.
Fellow Palace Host Heather Blair is completing a course in Sports Massage, alongside iPhone Photography.
“Although I have now and then done some intuitive and uninformed massaging, I do not think I would have ever got around to learning to do it more systematically without the encouragement from Blenheim ‘to try something new or just completely different’.
“I am so glad I did: not only have I learned new skills but the whole family has enjoyed the learning process. My two children spend a lot of their spare time dancing, so being able to help them recover and relax has been a great joy. Learning something new also gives one a confidence boost,” she said.
Alice Bennett, Deputy Guest Services Manager, opted for an Arts and Heritage Management course at the Bocconi University in Milan.
“I was drawn to this course as it covered brand loyalty and looking at the relationship visitors and staff have with the company,” said Alice.
“I enjoyed learning more about other UNESCO Word Heritage Sites and many of the case studies were on museums and attractions in Italy, which I liked as it was nice in lockdown to think about when we can travel again,” she added.
Among the other subjects on offer are: Teaching & Childcare, Media & Arts, Design, Fashion & Beauty, Accountancy & Finance, Sports & Fitness, Music, Photography, Personal Development and Lifestyle.
Issued on behalf of Blenheim Palace. For more information please contact Samantha Vaughan on 07469 129743 or SVaughan@blenheimpalace.com or Niamh O’Sullivan at NO’Sullivan@blenheimpalace.com.