Commercial Apprentice (24 month contract) 

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  2. Commercial Apprentice (24 month contract) 
Company: Gainsborough’s House
Location: Sudbury, Suffolk
Salary: £9.50 per hour
Reports to: Commercial Manager
Hours: 35 hours per week, occasional weekends
Holiday: 22 days, public holidays
Closing date: Monday 3rd October 2022
Interview date: Week commencing 10th October 2022
Application Form:

Job Description

Join the team developing Gainsborough’s House as one of the leading heritage attractions in East Anglia! Gainsborough’s House will be a major visitor attraction in the East of England as a world-class museum, art gallery, arts and study centre.  It has just completed building four new exhibition galleries to display historic and contemporary exhibitions of international appeal and expand its ability to attract audiences. Due to open in late Autumn this year, the Commercial Apprentice will be part of the team that helps to provide an excellent visitor experience.

This contract apprenticeship post, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, is responsible to the Commercial Manager and based in Sudbury, Suffolk. The role of Commercial Apprentice will give extensive and varied experience of working in all aspects of commercial activities at Gainsborough’s House. Working alongside staff and volunteers the position will be part of a team delivering service to the highest standard and building a strong reputation for excellence across our commercial offer. Using creativity, good organisational and excellent interpersonal skills, the candidate will develop and enhance this public facing role communicating with people at all levels.

Through mentoring, formal training and practical learning in the daily duties within reception, retail, catering, venue hire, group visits, events and weddings, this role will enable the candidate to gain key skills to further their personal development in a commercial and particularly a retail field. 

The apprenticeship is designed to offer an alternative route for people to access a career in the cultural heritage sector. You will be mentored by a leading external trainer throughout the contract to help support your professional development.

The successful candidate will have excellent organisational skills and demonstrable service skills. Good ICT skills are required. You will be someone who can work under your own initiative and as part of a small team. A flexible, positive and pleasant approach is essential.

Gainsborough’s House

Gainsborough’s House is a national centre for the art of Thomas Gainsborough at the artist’s childhood home. With Gainsborough as its inspiration it seeks to bring his art and ideals to life to inspire a new generation of visitors. Our mission statement is ‘To promote the wider knowledge, appreciation and enjoyment of the art of Thomas Gainsborough within the context of the eighteenth century and the inspiration of the Suffolk landscape and to preserve and enhance Gainsborough’s House and its collections for the benefit of present and future generations’.   

The House explores the life and art of Thomas Gainsborough. One of the greatest artists of his age, he is renowned throughout the world for his portrait and landscape paintings. The house, ‘a most excellent Brickt Mansion,’ was bought by John Gainsborough, the artist’s father, in May 1722. Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88) was born in Sudbury and was baptized there at the Independent Meeting-House in Friars Street on 14 May 1727. He lived here until around 1740 when, as a young teenager, he was sent to London to pursue a career as an artist.  He returned to Sudbury in the spring of 1749 until 1752 when he painted his celebrated Mr and Mrs Andrews. He never lost the influence of his native town and county. ‘Nature was his teacher, and the woods of Suffolk his academy,’ noted an obituary after his death in 1788.

In 1958 Gainsborough’s House Society was formed to purchase the house and establish it as a centre for Thomas Gainsborough. The Museum opened to the public in 1961 and has remained open for over 50 years. The House has completed a major development in its aim to bring Thomas Gainsborough to life for a new generation of visitors. 

Applicants should send their completed application form with a covering letter to:

Trudy Pickerin, Gainsborough’s House, 46 Gainsborough Street, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2EU 

or via email: 

DEADLINE: Return your applications by noon on Monday 3rd October 2022.

Interviews will be held week commencing 10th October 2022.

Job Purpose: 

  • The position will be part of a team delivering service to the highest standard and building on a strong reputation for excellence across our commercial offer. Under the supervision of the Commercial Manager and, whilst following a formal Apprenticeship training programme in Retail, they will assist in all commercial areas on site and across the online retail platforms. Acting as the department lead when the Commercial Manager is away from the office, this position holder will be making decisions and reacting to situations as they arise. Holding areas of responsibility, they will be leading and reporting back on some key tasks and gaining confidence in all parts of front of house, retail, catering & hospitality, group visits and volunteer management. 

Main Duties and Activities

  • Assisting in the planning and carrying out of the day-to-day operation across all commercial activities.
  • Helping to ensure that the reception; café and shop are ready for opening so that Gainsborough’s House can operate smoothly and effectively. 
  • Taking an active role in supporting the front of house & retail areas at busy periods, reacting and dealing with unplanned situations as they arise 
  • Obtaining a detailed knowledge of the till and stock systems, and electronic devises including cashing up procedures
  • Assisting in the buying, range planning and visual merchandising for all retail platforms.
  • Taking an active role in developing and maintaining the GH online shop including processing and dispatching of orders.
  • Maintaining the Instagram shop page.
  • Contributing to the recruitment and welfare of all museum volunteers including day to day management
  • Helping to deliver the group visit offer with booking processing, welcome and activity management
  • Assisting the rota duty manager in the preparation and delivery of functions, events, weddings, corporate hire and venue hire within and outside of normal operating hours
  • Holding responsibilities in some key tasks  
  • Dealing with enquiries from members of staff, suppliers and members of the public.
  • Helping to grow and develop the department and identify new opportunities to increase income streams 


  • Complying with Gainsborough’s House policies and procedures and reporting any concerns to an appropriate person
  • Other related tasks as deemed appropriate
Attributes Description 
Skills & Experience An enthusiasm to learn 
Service and public facing role experience
Excellent administrative skills Excellent communications skills, both written and verbal
Ability to work calmly under pressure and keep to deadlines
Demonstrable experience of working effectively as part of a team 
Integrity, diplomacy and professional skills to work effectively on cross-team initiatives and to consult as appropriate 
Knowledge & Qualifications 
GCSE grade A-D (Level 3 and above) in English, Maths and ICT
Personal Attributes An enthusiasm for the Heritage sector and an interest in developing heritage skills
Reliable and positive attitude
Excellent interpersonal skills in dealing with people at all levels 
Detail orientated
Strong organisation and planning skills 
Ability to work independently and as part of a team
Adaptable and flexible 
Ability to work under pressure, dealing with peaks of activity and deploying resources effectively to meet deadlines 
Interest in art and the 18th century
Willingness to work some weekends, evenings and Bank Holidays

Equal Opportunities

Gainsborough’s House is committed to providing equality of opportunity for all staff and welcomes applications from all individuals for advertised jobs that match their skills and interests. We welcome applications from all sections of the community. We particularly encourage applications from Black, Asian and minority ethnic candidates.