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.
Lauren Dipiazza, aged 22, started working at Dumfries House at 17 after having enrolled on the first Prince's Trust Get Into Hospitality course at Dumfries House.
Lauren, from Kilmarnock, attended St Joseph's Academy until aged 16. She left school with no qualifications and was then in and out of small cleaning jobs before becoming unemployed.
She said: "I didn’t really have an idea of what I wanted to do when I left school. I always thought I would work in an office or a shop and certainly hadn't considered hospitality. I found out about Get Into Hospitality at the JobCentre and I went through two interviews to get onto the course, which ran for five weeks: two weeks front of house, two weeks back of house, and a week's work placement, which, for me, was at Ayr Racecourse.
"Immediately after I'd finished, Dumfries House needed someone to work front of house and asked me to join the team. I started as a receptionist in 2012, then, a few months later, moved to work in events. I help run events such as weddings, private conferences and Royal dinners, and I also work on the organisational side, meeting clients beforehand.
“I live on the estate now with my husband John, whom I met here and married here last year. I've worked at Royal households and have met His Royal Highness Prince Charles on a number of occasions, and he's always interested in the work our team does.
"If not for the Prince’s Trust's Get Into Hospitality course, I would possibly still be unemployed or doing a part-time job rather than work that I really enjoy. When I first started work at Dumfries House estate, there was just the big house and the Coach House Cafe, and now there are so many new buildings and so many people coming to visit the estate. It's great to see it grow and make such a difference to the local community."