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This story takes you into the world of three young Scots who tell how they managed to secure their jobs thanks to the Prince of Wales, in his initiative to restore Dumfries House.

Prince Charles began the restoration project of Dumfries House, in order to bring hope in areas of Scotland where the economic situation is quite difficult. Thus, people from one of Scotland’s most deprived areas, benefited from this initiative.

The project includes building a cook schools where staff members between 16 and 25 years, can participate in a variety of courses.

Charles speaks about regeneration of Dumfries House in documentary The Prince’s Vision

The complex includes an all-purpose gymnasium and a science, technology, engineering and maths centre.

At the age of 24, Mark Burns of Auchinleck said that the Prince’s initiative changed his life in a positive way. He works as a butler at Dumfries House and lives in Knockroom, the estate’s eco village.

After a difficult period when he has been unemployed for 10 months, he managed to recover and to turn his life around: “I came to Dumfries House on a day’s trial and met the Prince. Then I got the phone call the next day to say I’d got a job. Now, I’ve got a house on the estate.” says Mark.

Mark Burns lives in Dumfries estate

As part of the training sessions, Mark has worked in various royal residences including Buckingham Palace, and feels that he found his vocation.

“I want to stay for another three or four years and progress my skills as a butler. I’m hoping to keep working for the Royal Family.” says Mark.

Lauren Dipiazza, age 21 from Kilmarnock, works as an events assistant.

“I had never heard of Dumfries House before and couldn’t believe how close it was to me. I was amazed. […] The prince has completely changed my life and I have to pinch myself when I’m driving to work every morning.” says Lauren.

Lauren Dipiazza is an events assistant

The Skills Centre helps young people to make the first steps on the road to learning a career that would help maintain jobs in the communities where they live, without having to leave to seek work elsewhere.

At the age of 36, Thomas Breckney from Cumnock, still lives in the city where generations of his family have worked in the mining industry. When the mines closed, unemployment  became a way of life.

“The Prince bringing in a project like this has not only created jobs but also training opportunities for people to take skills out into the community and get jobs elsewhere. […] What he has done, I can say from a perspective of having seen the area at its worst, has been quite fantastic.” says Thomas.

Thomas works as a collections assistant at Dumfries House. In his childhood, access in the complex was forbidden to locals. Now that he’s working here, it’s like a childhood myth that became reality.

Ceiling in the entrance hall

The challenges that have emerged in the development of this project were not at all small, but it brought jobs in an area that was left devastated after the demise in 1980 of the mining industry.

Dumfries House now reflects the glory that it once had with furniture that represents approximately 10% of all global Chippendales. For example, one bookcase is estimated at £20million.

Chippendale four poster bed

“One of the main reasons I thought it was worth taking this appalling risk was to see if at the same time as saving the house, I could make a difference to the local area. It has been so battered and deprived particularly since the loss of the mining industry.[…] If we hadn’t stepped in, it would have joined the list of derelict country houses. All this wonderful furniture would’ve gone everywhere and we’d be left with an empty shell” says Charles.

Great Stewards Dining Room

The Prince’s vision was to use the house as an opportunity to help train young people and to restore traditional skills such as dry-wall construction,woodwork and stonemasonry.

“How do you raise people’s aspirations? How do you build self-esteem? How do you develop the necessary skills to substitute for the previous traditional industries? […] These are all things I think are of huge importance. I felt we could do an awful lot to develop educational opportunities and training, and skills, so we could show we can produce some of the best-skilled young people in the country. This is what we’re trying to do” says the Prince of Wales. 

 

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