Placement Experience at Cromford Mills
28th May 2019
My placement was completed at Cromford Mills (Derbyshire), and I was lucky enough to be offered a paid role with them following this. Cromford was Sir Richard Arkwright’s first mill that opened in 1771, and the world’s first successful water powered cotton spinning mill. The site has moved on since Arkwright’s time and is now a visitor attraction with a café. My role is as a Visitor Engagement Assistant (VEA), and it’s very exciting to be stood somewhere where 100’s of mill workers would of trodden all those years ago. The site is a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and cultural organisation) world heritage site, and to work for a site of such great importance is a massive motivating factor for me. It really is a magnificent place, and every time I walk into the yard I feel excited to work there.
My Experience at Cromford Mills.
The Gateway Visitor Centre on site is the main visitor centre for the Derwent Valley and has various displays such as an introductory film and information on the cotton industry. My role as a VEA varies from day to day, sometimes I am around to help promote the site and promote ticket sales, and sometimes I’m up in the first mill performing the Arkwright Experience guided tour. A massive part of my role is informing people about the tours and attractions on offer, which is something I don’t find hard to do as I have a strong passion for history and heritage. My favourite part of the role is seeing people’s reactions as they enter the first mill, as most people gasp in ore of the impressive building!
What I’ve learnt
I’ve learnt so much over my two years at Cromford Mills. I’ve developed from being a volunteer to paid staff and learnt vital skills such a customer service, team working, time management and presentation skills. I think one of my favourite parts of the job is being able to work with such an amazing, supportive and varied team of people. The biggest thing I have learnt through working at Cromford is that Heritage Tourism is the sector I wish to work in when I graduate, and it has also helped developed my passion for historic sites.