HRH The Prince of Wales’ charitable foundation has submitted plans to create a new farming school in Ayrshire, to encourage more people to pursue a career in agriculture.
The Prince’s Foundation has applied for planning permission to build the training centre on the ground of Dumfries House Estate, near Cumnock.
The new school would be built alongside Home Farm on the 810ha estate, and would seek to bring new people into the industry by training those with no background in farming.
This includes secondary school pupils aged 14 and over, school leavers showing an interest in land-based careers, and adults looking for a new career.
The school would also help farmers and rural sector workers looking to gain more skills.
The charity aims to train about 1,800 people a year at the new facility.
Plans submitted to East Ayrshire Council are for a new building made up of two classrooms and accommodation, alongside a new shed that will provide a demonstration space as well as holding and handling areas for livestock.
In a design statement to the council, the foundation said: “Delivery would be hands-on and practical, allowing students to immerse themselves in their subject area, giving them maximum opportunity to grow their knowledge, skills and passion for the industry.
“The aim of the courses would be to ignite interest in potential careers and further study pathways to higher level qualifications and specialisms.
“The Prince’s Foundation also recognises the need to pass on traditional and rural skills (hedge laying, dry-stone walling, fencing, drainage, butchery) within the existing workforce.”
Prince Charles has been a longtime supporter of farming and rural communities, promoting the importance of sustainability and voicing support for smaller farm businesses.