How Dumfries House became a centre for education, training and employment.
“My initial jobs have been in the walled garden, doing day-to-day maintenance, weeding and dead-heading, meeting with visitors and answering their questions,” explained Julie.
“The visitors are so complimentary and that boosts your confidence and makes you feel appreciated for what you do."
"I'm going to be going around the other parts of the estate, such as the arboretum and education garden. I could not see myself ever working in an office; I have always worked in glasshouses and outside. It's not a job to me – it's my life.”
A theme which centres around the natural elements – Earth, Water, Air and Fire – is incorporated into a landscape design, which uses high quality engineering and scientific enquiry play equipment.
Visitors can explore the elements using sand, gravel and water in this multi-sensory facility set into the woodland surroundings.
The park is free and open to school/youth groups and also public visitors to the Dumfries House Estate.
During school term time it may be closed at certain times to allow exclusive use by pre-booked schools parties as part of the education programme.
When not in use by the Prince’s Charities or youth groups, the outdoor centre becomes the hub for schools locally and nationally attending Dumfries House Estate.
The outdoor centre also offers the opportunity to link with schools and youth groups from abroad offering a wider impact on young people who may benefit from the programmes under development.
It has access to a parade square and a half acre activity area, incorporating a ten stage obstacle course and leadership zones. There are also indoor facilities, including an archery range and indoor sports hall, which features a climbing and traversing wall.
The Get into Hospitality course is designed to cater for twelve young people aged 16 to 24 who are not in employment, education or training.
Provided in partnership with The Prince’s Trust, the course offers experiences and outcomes to open up future employment opportunities.
The Belling Hospitality Centre also supports school education through activities based around the Primary School residential activities allowing pupils to experience introductory cookery skills.
"Immediately after I'd finished, Dumfries House needed someone to work front of house and asked me to join the team. I started as a receptionist in 2012, then, a few months later, moved to work in events. I help run events such as weddings, private conferences and Royal dinners, and I also work on the organisational side, meeting clients beforehand."
"If not for the Prince’s Trust's Get Into Hospitality course, I would possibly still be unemployed or doing a part-time job rather than work that I really enjoy. It's great to see the Dumfries House Estate grow and make such a difference to the local community."
"From being depressed and homeless, I am now living in a beautiful apartment with my partner and our daughter at Knockroon in Cumnock and have a great job as one of the house butlers. Our team looks after VIP guests during Royal visits, weddings and other events. With other members of the team, I have had the opportunity to work at events at other palaces and royal households," Johnny said.
"It’s quite scary how my life has changed. If it wasn’t for Dumfries House and the Prince’s Trust course, I don’t know where I’d be. I used to be really quiet and nervous when I started here, but now I’m far more outgoing and can approach people because I feel better in myself.”
Students from The Royal Drawing School in London also benefit from Dumfries House Estate's state of the art training facilities.
The Royal Drawing School Dimplex Artist Studios at Dumfries House offer four high quality studios as a base for exploring the peace and tranquillity of the house and estate.
The Royal Drawing School Artist in Residency programme offers an unparalleled opportunity to up-coming and established artists locally, nationally and internationally.