Rural skills boost as Prince’s Foundation hatches plans for new education centre at Dumfries House

The Prince’s Foundation has applied for planning permission for an education centre at the Dumfries House estate in East Ayrshire, in a boost for rural skills.

The charity, whose president is Prince Charles, known by the title Duke of Rothesay when he is in Scotland, has earned recognition as a flagbearer for promoting education, training and employment in the farming and rural skills sector.

Under plans submitted to the local council, a rural skills training facility would lie adjacent to the estate’s commercial operation Home Farm and host events and workshops for some 1,800 participants each year. It would be targeted at secondary school pupils, school leavers showing an interest in land-based careers and adult learners looking for a new career, as well as farming and rural sector workers looking to upskill.

Gordon Neil, an executive director of The Prince’s Foundation, said: “The Prince’s Foundation recognises the need to pass on traditional and rural skills such as hedge-laying, dry-stone walling, fencing, drainage, and butchery within the existing workforce, and our proposed new facility next to Home Farm on Dumfries House estate will further broaden the agricultural education offering.”

At Dumfries House in East Ayrshire, The Prince's Foundation already engages with people of all ages to promote rural careers through a series of annual events, including a festival of farming for primary school pupils, Women In Wellies, to encourage women to work in rural industries, and a countryside careers day for secondary pupils.

At Dumfries House, near Cumnock, the foundation already engages with people of all ages to promote rural careers through a series of annual events, including a festival of farming for primary school pupils, “Women In Wellies”, to encourage women to work in rural industries, and a countryside careers day for secondary pupils.

Valentin’s Education Farm, which is home to a dozen rare breeds, and the Kauffman Education Garden form the setting for education programmes that attracts thousands of school pupils each year.

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