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Our ProjectScotland placements can change someone’s life, by providing them with valuable work experience or even a whole new direction in life. But don’t just take our word for it - read on to find out more about one volunteer's ProjectScotland experience in the Trust!

We asked Katie Palmer, based at the David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, about her experiences as a ProjectScotland volunteer with the National Trust for Scotland.

How did you find out about Project Scotland, and what made you decide to take part in the programme?

"I was already volunteering at the David Livingstone Centre when one of the Project Managers approached me about the Events Assistant placement. I hadn’t heard of Project Scotland before, but the opportunity really appealed to me as I was keen to gain as much experience as possible, particularly in the heritage sector. As a recent history graduate, I found myself looking at vacancy listings and application forms for jobs with the increasing awareness that despite my degree and extra-curricular experience, I was going to find getting a job extremely difficult without solid experience. I jumped at the chance to enhance my employability skills and the opportunity to gain valuable experience and insight into the heritage sector and the general management of museums before I chose to pursue a possible career in that area."

What have you enjoyed most about being a Project Scotland volunteer?

"Well I think I have been particularly lucky in my placement as it is a really exciting time to be at the David Livingstone Centre. 19 March 2013 marked 200 years since Livingstone was born at Shuttle Row in Blantyre, so there have been lots of really interesting and exciting events that I have been fortunate enough to be involved in coordinating. This has included a visit from the President of Malawi and First Minister, and also the opening of a new exhibition to coincide with the bicentenary.

"I also really enjoy the variety of a day at DLC. When I’m not organising events I help to deliver the learning programme to visiting schools which is a lot of fun and an area I would like to take further. The children really enjoy the workshops and tours, and I get to spend half the day pretending to be a Victorian!"

What has been your biggest challenge during your placement?

"Other than staying away from the homebaking in the café? Well, I suppose the toughest thing about organising events at the DLC is the limited budget. As I am sure is the case with many of the properties, there is very little money to spend on the events and therefore we have to source a lot of things for free, for example musicians, and we really have to use our imagination to come up with exciting events to bring in visitors."

And finally...is there anything you would say to people considering a Project Scotland placement - would you recommend it?

"I would definitely recommend a Project Scotland placement, particularly to recent graduates like myself. It has been a great way of gaining priceless experience in the heritage sector and making connections. In particular I would recommend a placement at one of the properties, it is a great way to see the different sorts of jobs that exist in heritage, and if their experience is anything like mine at DLC, then they will receive fantastic support from the other staff and volunteers. The team at DLC are like a quirky extended family, but each one of them is entirely and utterly devoted to promoting the Centre and Livingstone. I feel quite privileged to have been given the chance to work so closely with them this last year, and hope to keep volunteering there after the Project Scotland placement finishes."

To find out more about ProjectScotland, head to our main article at www.nts.org.uk/Volunteering/Story/267 !

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