A key aim of the Learning in a Heritage Lanscape - Transforming Work project was to help members of the community develop key life skills and improve their employability. A total of 58 people from the local area engaged with a mix of practical and creative tasks at Abbotsford that developed a range of skills for life and work.
Participants gained skills in horticulture, foresty and estate management through a variety of tasks in the gardens and woodlands. The groups planted over 200 native trees, cleared paths and woodland culverts, as well as carrying out important maintenance tasks in the formal gardens.
They also took part in activites that taught essential literacy and numeracy skills. One of their favourite activities was using quills for the very first time. Participants engaged with the legacy of Sir Walter Scott, learnt about the technology of Scott's time and admired the beautiful estate that inspired Scott's writing. Several of the participants filled the journals, they created in previous sessions, with beautiful poetry, sound maps, personal musings and drawings.
Numeracy skills were developed with practical activities in the woodland and gardens. For example, several participants experimented with various methods of measuring trees, introducing the concept of geometry in a way that was task-orientated and engaging. Similarly, another group measured the new vegetable patch, whilst others explored arithmetic utilising the vegetables they had harvested.
Feedback from participants and staff members consistently praised the programme for developing other life skills such as confidence, communications and independence:"it school I wasn't confident, and I feel confident now."