Devonshire Group

Kickstart Scheme Delivers Permanent Jobs For Young People on Chatsworth Estate

Young people on work placements at Chatsworth set up to address rising youth unemployment have praised the valuable experience with several now progressing into permanent roles.

The Devonshire Group created a number of six-month placements under the Kickstart scheme last year across the garden, catering, farmyard, textiles, collections and wider operations at its Chatsworth and Bolton Abbey Estates.

Now several of the young people who have completed their placements have been offered permanent jobs. The good news looks set to continue with further roles being offered to others due to complete their Kickstart placements over the coming weeks, while other candidates successfully used the experience as a launchpad into related employment elsewhere.

Kickstarters Beth Cartwright and Georgia Wilson, who have been taken on as Collections Assistants, found the placements were an invaluable experience.

Beth said: “I’ve really enjoyed my placement here at Chatsworth, I’ve learned lots about conservation and what goes into keeping a collection. This is something I never thought would be available to me and I’m thrilled to be staying on full time.”

Georgia added: “I have learnt so much about the work that goes into running and maintaining a heritage site such as Chatsworth. I am delighted to now have a job as a result of my placement, allowing me to continue working in a field I love, and gain new experience.”

Chatsworth’s Head of Textiles Susie Stokoe said: “ Kickstart has been a great way to bring young people into the workplace giving them the flexibility to work in positions they may not have originally thought of.”

Over in the Chatsworth Farmyard and Adventure Playground, Josh Nicholls will be joining as an apprentice and Jordan Henshaw now has a permanent job as Farmyard and Adventure Playground Assistant.

Melissa Underwood, Farmyard and Adventure Playground Manager, said: “Kickstart has been a great programme and it has been a pleasure to watch our Kickstarters grow in confidence and gain new skills in a variety of ways.”

Farmyard apprentice Josh said: “I’ve had lots of fantastic support from everyone at Chatsworth. I’m absolutely thrilled to be starting an apprenticeship and look forward to learning more about animal care.”

Jordan added: “I feel like I’ve learnt a lot. The placement has also improved my general agricultural knowledge and I enjoy sharing the farming story with visitors. I feel brilliant about gaining a permanent job and look forward to the start of lambing and the new season.”

With Sustainability such an important area for the Devonshire Group, Tom Hendry was keen to create a high quality placement for a young person in this area. Following a successful placement, Ella Thompson has now been offered a full time role.

She said:  “I knew I wanted a job where my work could contribute towards supporting the community or environment and that’s what sustainability is all about. I was happy that this placement allowed me to build experience and then continue into a permanent role, as I felt very welcomed here by colleagues. I hope to continue to become more confident and get involved in more sustainable initiatives.”

Nathan Fairhead, Talent and Training Coordinator, Devonshire Group, said: “We are thrilled at the progress of our Kickstarters and the attitude they have shown to working with us. They have thrown themselves into their placements, becoming valued members of their teams. We are very excited for how their experience with us will influence their careers, especially those who will remain with us.”

The Government’s Kickstart Scheme is open to young people aged 16 to 24 who are receiving Universal Credit, and at risk of long term unemployment.

Chatsworth and The Devonshire Group supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Katie Saunders joins Devonshire Group as People Director

Katie Saunders has been appointed as Group People Director at the Devonshire Group, the company that represents the interests, charities and businesses of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

Having been operating at board level for the past 15 years in High Street retail and during 20 years in the motor industry, including Volkswagen UK and Audi UK, Katie Saunders joins the Devonshire Group with responsibility for more than 1400 employees spread across 65,000 acres at Chatsworth in Derbyshire, Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire, the Compton estate in Sussex, and Lismore in the Republic of Ireland.

Katie Saunders: “I’m genuinely excited by the challenge. My experience is very broad, which I think will be important given the Devonshire Group includes such a variety of businesses from visitor attractions, shops, restaurants and luxury accommodation to farming and forestry, and property development.

“Although there are many different job roles and responsibilities, it’s very clear that there is a strong, shared passion for the organisation and its values, at all levels. Part of my role will be to share my experience and expertise in Learning and Development, and particularly Management Development and Leadership, to enable everybody to make the very best of their skills and reach their full potential.”

“Some great work has been done to introduce young people and apprentices to the Devonshire Group through the Kickstart scheme and there’s more to come. To be an employer of choice we need to listen to our team and respond to their concerns so I’ll certainly be looking at issues like wellbeing and diversity to see what more we can do to further develop a modern, motivated and committed workforce.”

Brought up in Doncaster and now living in Chesterfield, Katie Saunders and her husband are frequent visitors to the Peak District and keen foodies. “We know Chatsworth well and often take walks across parts of the estate. For many years I’ve experienced first hand the professionalism, commitment and good humour of the people who work here – this really is my dream job,” she says.

The Devonshire Group supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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