The National Trust garden team at Mount Stewart in County Down have been awarded the prestigious ‘Farming Life and Danske Bank’ land based industries award for ‘Commitment to staff training and development’.
A total of 17 awards in different categories were presented to Northern Ireland’s businesses and individuals who are outstanding in their field. Mount Stewart were up against some of the biggest and best in Northern Ireland but saw off the stiff competition to pick up the ‘commitment to staff training and development’ category sponsored by Lantra.
Mount Stewart gardens have devised a number of training programmes ranging from back to work placements, training and employability skills for the long term unemployed to bespoke heritage garden apprenticeships working in partnership with the local South Eastern Regional College, Peninsula Mowers of Greyabbey and other gardens in Northern Ireland. Most of these initiatives have largely been funded by a wide variety of external bodies and supporters such as the Pilgrim Trust and Ulster Garden Villages.
National Trust Garden Manager, Paul Stewart accompanied by members of the conservation charity’s team picked up the award at Belfast’s Ramada hotel at a ceremony with keynote speaker, Minster for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Michelle McIlveen.
National Trust staff have benefited from ongoing training and development and as Paul explains they have also been central to delivering the training programmes for others.
At the award ceremony Paul said: “A trained and engaged workforce who are on board with the conservation charity’s vision are essential in developing our business and being the best we can be in all that we do. Our staff have bought into this vision and have been instrumental in mentoring and developing our trainees, volunteers, less experienced members of staff and indeed each other. They are a great team and we are very proud to achieve this award. Recognition for staff development like this can only help the reputation of the National Trust in general and Mount Stewart in particular as an employer of choice in Northern Ireland.”