Laura – Work Experience placement at the National Trust

RNC student Laura is standing, smiling at the camera, holding her cane. She is in the Berrington Hall gardens with lots of round bushes beside her with grass and trees in the background. It’s a cold day and Laura is wrapped up wearing with coat, hat and gloves.

Every year at RNC (Royal National College for the Blind) we arrange a work experience week where our students have time off their academic timetables to observe what happens in a real life work environment on a day to day basis.

We are looking at different student placements in a range of industries this week; today we will be concentrate on Laura who had her placement at Berrington Hall, a local National Trust property in Herefordshire.


Laura O’Boyle, 19 from Derbyshire, spent time in the grounds of the National Trust property and in the visitor centre seeing what goes on behind the scenes in the mansion house, the visitor experience centre and the gardens. Laura provided assistance with the marketing team on how to make the centre more accessible, Ellie from the National Trust said “I think I got more out of the placement than Laura, she explained about how to make things come to life with describing what things look like as well as explaining the history and enhancing the sensory experience with sounds and smells etc. They are all practical things and common sense suggestions which we are now looking at adopting.”


Work experience is about students learning about different organisations and how they work on, but it is also about them getting a sense of how they can fit in with these people in these environments when they leave RNC. Laura says “This is the best placement I’ve ever had, I was actually treated like a grown up rather than a child. Sometimes people talk to me in a high pitched voice, or they talk to me really slowly. I appreciated that everyone I met spoke to me and to me directly rather than talking about me and just referring to me as ‘she’. I actually felt like I was listened to and that my suggestions were being considered.”


We look forward to working more closely with Berrington Hall, starting with braiile transcriptions. Ellie goes on to say  “The National Trust properties in Herefordshire can play a big part in working closely with the RNC to develop more inclusive visitor experiences for individuals with visual impairment but there is also potential for developing work and skills based experiences through both organisations working collaboratively together to achieve this.”


View our Facebook gallery for more photos from Work Experience week


If you are aged 14+ with visual impairment and you are thinking about your future, come to the RNC Open Day on 23 March. If you have any questions about this, please call the student enquiries team on 01432 376 621 or email

If you are an employer and you are interested in offering a student work placement, speak to the RNC transitions team on 01432 376 621.

Article written by Bik Lee, Digital Media Officer at RNC


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