Castlemilk High School pupils at Dumfries House's educational farm
Castlemilk High School pupils at Dumfries House's educational farm

Pupils consider countryside careers

Hundreds of high school pupils were this week given a taste of working in Scotland’s rural industries at Dumfries House near Cumnock.

The Prince’s Foundation’s inaugural Countryside Careers Day gave 300 secondary school pupils from Glasgow and Ayrshire an insight into work in farming, farriery, agricultural engineering, and forestry, among other areas.

The event was delivered in partnership with the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) Ayrshire and Arran as well as more than 20 volunteers.

Arianne Knowles, food, farming and horticulture manager at Dumfries House, said: ‘We welcome thousands of pupils to our estate each year as part of school group visits to learn about aspects of rural life and industry.

‘Our first-ever Countryside Careers Day intended to open the eyes of older pupils considering their career options to the vast array of stimulating and interesting jobs on offer within farm and countryside settings.

‘The reaction and engagement of the pupils showed that the hands-on activities really helped bring to life and enhance their understanding of the variety of skills and jobs available.’

Castlemilk High School pupils at Dumfries House’s educational farm

Activities took place on Valentin’s Education Farm on the East Ayrshire estate, which was saved for the nation by the Prince in 2007 and is now the headquarters of The Prince’s Foundation, which delivers programmes used to help people engage in learning experiences that promote confidence and personal development, as well as offer training in real-life skills to open up future employment opportunities.

Elaine Bryson, RHET Ayrshire and Arran project co-ordinator, said: ‘Dumfries House estate is the best classroom in the world and all the pupils have had a wonderful opportunity to see a great variety of countryside life.

‘RHET and The Prince’s Foundation are aiming for the same thing: to raise awareness of the practices and opportunities available in farming and other rural industries. After their experiences today, the secondary school pupils visiting the estate now have a better understanding of that.’

The Prince’s Foundation was formed last year as a result of the consolidation of several of The Prince of Wales’s charities.