A group of young people standing in the dry pool of a historic Victorian municipal baths building.
Our four historic environment apprentices, Peter Layfield, Michael Clarke, Josie Parry and Adam Vamplew on a site visit to Moseley Road Baths in Birmingham. Michael and Josie’s posts are funded by a generous grant from Benefact Trust. © Historic England
Our four historic environment apprentices, Peter Layfield, Michael Clarke, Josie Parry and Adam Vamplew on a site visit to Moseley Road Baths in Birmingham. Michael and Josie’s posts are funded by a generous grant from Benefact Trust. © Historic England

Meet Josie Parry, Listing Assistant Apprentice

In 2022, we asked Josie Parry, Listing Assistant Apprentice about her role and her experiences working for Historic England. Josie's apprenticeship is generously funded by Benefact Trust.

  • Name: Josie Parry
  • Job: Listing Assistant
  • Apprenticeship programme: Historic Environment Advice Assistant (Level 4)

What is your day to day job role? Where are you based and what does this job typically involve?

I work as a Listing Assistant in the London and South East Region Listing team. I am based in the London office. My role involves dealing with applications for buildings to be listed on the National Heritage List for England. This includes applications for a variety of buildings, ranging from a granary building to a department store. I research the building and its historical and architectural significance, utilising the Historic England selection guides to discern whether an application should go through to the next stage. I also help respond to listing enquiries.

What is/are the main reason(s) why you chose to complete the Historic Environment Advice Assistant level 4 apprenticeship programme?

I have always loved history, heritage sites and community events ever since I was a child. I volunteered as a Family History Consultant during secondary school and sixth form, which sparked a passion for researching heritage and helping connect the past with the present. I wanted to be part of something that protected the historic environment and gave me the opportunity to develop skills that would help with this long term. I also wanted to learn more about subjects I had not studied before, such as Prehistoric archaeology.

What has been the highlight of the programme so far?

I have loved meeting people from a variety of departments at Historic England. That’s the great thing about an apprenticeship, you are working amongst experts and learning from them and their experience. The passion individuals have for their field is infectious, and I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to experience that. It has helped me understand how many career paths and roles there are in the heritage sector, something you aren’t taught at school growing up.

Please could you briefly describe one area that you feel the programme has helped you develop in so far?

My ability to research has grown vastly. I have learnt how to utilise the resources available to me, using everything from Historic Mapping to the British Newspaper Archives. This has definitely resulted from learning from others around me, and the techniques they use in their own role. The apprenticeship allows you to grow through experience and not simply having someone tell you everything in one go. It has also helped me develop the skill to collate this research together to produce a strong argument, which is valuable in my listing role, and I know will be useful in the future.

What would you say to anyone else who may be considering applying to complete the programme? Why would you recommend it?

Historic England is an amazing organisation, and the Historic Environment Advice Assistant programme gives you a real insight into how the heritage sector functions. I have learnt about every role there is, from the Planning department to Strategy and Policy. It has really widened my perspective and helped me understand the possibilities there are for me in the future. I would also recommend the programme as it allows you to meet apprentices from other organisations, such as the National Trust and different councils. Learning from them has been great and provides me with a support system. I have already learnt so much about the listing process and historic buildings within three months, the combination of practical experience with learning is very effective.

This year's theme is 'build for the future'. Do you feel that this opportunity enables you to build for your personal future or that of the heritage sector?

The apprenticeship has definitely enabled me to build a future career. Through networking and learning about all the different roles in the sector, I have a much better understanding of what I can progress into. I have honed skills that will be useful to me in the future, such as understanding the listing process and the policies of heritage protection. I have learnt how to communicate with the public when dealing with enquiries, and how to research thoroughly when presented with an application. I know that I will be able to use these skills going forward, and they will be useful for roles in many different areas of the heritage sector.

Funded by

Benefact Trust logo