The National Trust has launched a Pounds 3 million lifelong learning programme to enhance its links with higher and further education. The project, part of the trust's centenary celebrations, involves the use of trust properties as an "open university of the nation".
The National Institute of Adult and Continuing Education has advised the trust on pilot projects in Northumbria, and Kent and Sussex. Discussions are under way with the Open University on other joint ventures.
Tricia Lankester, the trust's education manager, said: "The trust's properties are a huge resource for projects in areas like architecture and horticulture. It also holds significant archives."
The trust is now looking for sponsors to pay Pounds 10,000 a year for four graduate internships. These could enable students to delve into areas like textile conservation, visitor management and coastal erosion. They would be able to apply for a National Trust bursary, with three months' study.