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Purcell’s Oxford studio has been hosting week-long internships for students at the University of Oxford since 2018. These are organised by the University’s Careers Service and offered in Spring and Autumn of each year. Will Holborow, Associate and Senior Heritage Consultant, has been devising a series of research projects and providing mentoring.

These ‘micro-internships’ have enabled the individuals at the beginning of their careers to develop insight into the world of heritage consultancy. For Purcell, it has provided valuable intelligence on a series of research questions on heritage-related topics. So far, we have hosted seven interns under this scheme and plan to host a further opportunity in December when the task will be to prepare a foresight paper on trends in the higher education sector.

Here, two former interns, Amanda Westcott and Tom Goodwin discuss their research projects with Purcell.

When I was a Master's student in History at Oxford, with help from the University's Career Services, I applied for several different ‘micro-internships’ to supplement my studies with experience in the British heritage sector. In March 2020, Purcell offered me the opportunity to research the historical environment of a building just across from the History faculty in central Oxford: the Old Fire Station. Just as I began this internship, however, the pandemic had other plans, and I moved back to the United States to complete my work from home.

Amanda Westcott, MSt in British and European History, Keble College

Despite these challenges, my supervisor, Purcell's Will Holborow, was very accommodating, and I was well-supplied to complete my report. This was also an unexpected chance to show my persistence and skill working remotely. Purcell followed up with a paid opportunity to perform research for their project with Historic England on High Street Heritage Action Zones in Gloucester, Redruth and Keynsham. I am very happy to have continued my work at Purcell, even remotely, and appreciative of the insight it has provided on the architectural fabric of cities across England.

In December 2019 I completed a week-long micro-internship with Purcell at their Oxford studio. It provided a unique opportunity for me to experience being a Historic Environment Researcher. I was given responsibility for finding and collating information about a range of listed buildings owned by government departments.

Tom Goodwin, Undergraduate studying for BA (Hons) in History, St Catherine’s College, Oxford

I found my micro-internship rewarding and interesting; so much so that it helped me decide I would like to enter the field of historic building conservation. Purcell further helped my development by offering me the opportunity to do further work for them on a paid basis over the past summer, carrying out research as part of a project run by Historic England. I would thoroughly recommend this internship to an applicant interested in heritage.

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