Apprenticeships at Scotland’s Dumfries House

Recently, the EU Ambassadors travelled to Scotland to visit Dumfries House. It was a most inspirational trip organised by the Italian Presidency. It was very kind of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to receive us and present the work of the Prince’s Trust.

The 18th-century Dumfries House was designed by the architect Robert Adam and his brothers, John and James. It happens to be the same architects that designed the Swedish residence in London. The Dumfries House contains magnificent British Rococo furniture, including some exquisite Chippendale furniture. However, the story of Dumfries House is filled with drama. Several years ago the estate was about to be sold and its collections to be dispersed.

Just weeks before Dumfries House and the collections were to be sold Prince Charles intervened. The auction was called off and the trucks with all the furniture were unloaded. Dumfries was acquired by a specially created trust and saved, not just for the British people, but for anyone who takes a great interest in great architecture and furniture collections. Today Dumfries House is open to the public.

The last few years at Dumfries House have elaborate programme of conservation and restoration at the house. The Trust is also focused on creating opportunities for employment and training in an area of high unemployment and relative deprivation. Through apprenticeships young people are offered an opportunity to gain experience, confidence and skills in different crafts and skill set. This in turn increases their chances of getting in to the job market. Overall it was a very impressive programme that should serve as an inspiration for many.

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