CREAM OF THE CROP

Our wonderful garden team at Mount Stewart was recently nominated by Peninsula Mowers (an agricultural machinery repair and training company in Greyabbey) as an exemplar in staff training and development, and we won!  A total of 17 awards in different categories were presented to Northern Ireland’s businesses and individuals who are outstanding in their field.  After seeing off stiff competition from some of the biggest and best in Northern Ireland, we picked up the prestigious ‘Farming Life and Danske Bank’ LANTRA (land based industries) award for ‘Commitment to Staff Training and Development’.

Garden Manager, Paul Stewart accompanied by members of the Mount Stewart gardening team attended the presentation ceremony featuring keynote speaker, Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Michelle McIlveen, at Belfast’s Ramada Hotel.

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Representatives from Peninsula Mowers of Greyabbey and LANTRA, and garden team members Paul, Neil, Anna, Rachel, and Jonny looking very clean and tidy.  No wellies or garden gear here, don’t they clean up well?

Garden Manager Paul has arranged and 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, 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.

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Paul with John Henning, Danske Bank, Paula Smyth, LANTRA, Graeme Huston, Johnstone press.  Afterwards he spoke of his pride in the team at Mount Stewart.  Paul said “A trained and engaged workforce who are on board with our vision is essential in developing our business and being the best we can be in all that we do. The 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 National Trust in general and Mount Stewart in particular as an employer of choice in Northern Ireland.  They are a very professional and multi-talented bunch and this award is recognition that they are leading the field in Northern Ireland in terms of people development in the land management industries.”

Photos courtesy of LANTRA.

Of course we can always use more volunteers – why not join our award winning gardening team – all you need is an interest in plants and a good sense of humus.

Ellen

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