Dumfries House is a stately home in Scotland that was saved for the nation in 2007 by The Duke of Rothesay (as The Prince of Wales is known in Scotland). Today, Dumfries House is a public visitor attraction and offers a diverse educational programme focusing on employability skills.
Dumfries House Education and sister charity The Prince’s Trust deliver three separate ‘Get Into’ programmes four times each year. The programmes are designed to get young people aged 16 to 24 who are not in employment, education or training into a positive destination at the end of their five week course through opportunities in employment or college. Find out more about the Get Into programme.
“Before I got the opportunity to go to Dumfries House on the Prince’s Trust Get Into Hospitality course, I was unemployed and registered homeless," explains Johnny Cowley, 23, from Mossblown.
"I went to the job centre and was advised that the Prince’s Trust was carrying out interviews and running taster days at Dumfries House involving some work in front of house and in the kitchen.
“I wasn’t sure, as I had been to college and studied bricklaying and considered myself an ‘outdoorsy’ person. The taster went really well, and I loved it. After my first week, spent in the kitchen, I wanted to be a chef. After the second week, in front of house, I said ‘I’m not going back to the kitchen!’
“My third week was spent on placement at The Marine Hotel in Troon, and they eventually offered me a job. Looking back, the experience I gained there was fantastic, but six months into the job Dumfries House called and wanted me to go back.
“To commute there, I knew I’d have to drive, but I saw a great opportunity to return to a fantastic place to work and booked myself onto an intensive driving course in Blackpool and had my licence within a week.
"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. 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.”