Mount Stewart garden team win prestigious award

Published : Mon 28th Nov

The garden team at Mount Stewart in County Down have been awarded Commitment to Training at the prestigious Farming Life and Danske Bank Awards 2016.

A total of 17 awards in different categories were presented to Northern Ireland's businesses and individuals at the award ceremony in October. The Mount Stewart team were up against some of the biggest and best in Northern Ireland but saw off the stiff competition to pick up the Commitment to Training category, sponsored by Lantra and designed to encourage excellence across the land-based sector.

The Mount Stewart garden team 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.

Garden Manger Paul Stewart, accompanied by members of his team, picked up the award at Belfast's Ramada hotel at a ceremony featuring keynote speaker, Northern Ireland's Minster for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Michelle McIlveen.

Our staff have benefited from ongoing training and development, and as Paul explains, they have also been central in delivering the training programmes to others.

At the award ceremony, Paul said: "A trained and engaged workforce who are on board with our conservation charity 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. It's very timely for the Trust considering the launch this year of our 10-year people strategy, which has building capacity and confidence as a cornerstone. Recognition for staff development like this can only help the reputation of National Trust in general and Mount Stewart in particular as an employer of choice in Northern Ireland."