King Charles opens new rural training centre in Scotland

King Charles has officially opened The MacRobert Farming and Rural Skills Centre at Dumfries House in Ayrshire – a new training base designed to help young people into the farming industry.

Run by The Prince’s Foundation, which is also headquartered at Dumfries House, planning permission for the new centre was first submitted in early 2022, with building commencing in May of that year.

Now completed and featuring two indoor teaching spaces, including a laboratory and a working barn, the centre will provide training opportunities to people already working in agriculture and looking to upskill, but also to those with no current connection with farming.

See also: Prince Charles seeks to build new farm school in Scotland

During the opening event held earlier this month, the king met students, staff and local farmers, before observing workshops on the importance of good soil health for the environment, nutrition in animal feed, and sheep and cattle handling.

It is envisaged that more than 1,800 participants a year will attend the centre, including secondary school pupils, school leavers with an interest in land-based jobs, and adults looking for new careers.

Iona Murray, farming and rural skills manager for The Prince’s Foundation, said: “If you don’t come from an agricultural background, it can be incredibly difficult to break into the industry.

“We want to make sure that opportunities are there for anyone who aspires to pursue a land-based career, regardless of their background.”

The centre has been funded by The MacRobert Trust, a grant-making charity based in Aberdeenshire.

The Prince’s Foundation already engages with people of all ages to promote rural careers at Dumfries House through a series of annual events, including a Spring Festival of Farming for primary school pupils, Women In Wellies to encourage women to work in rural industries, and Countryside Careers Day for secondary pupils.