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Training Manager Damien McKnight receiving the award from HRH the Princess Royal

ERC partner wins Princes Royal Training Award

Local business Dovecote Park have been awarded a Princess Royal Training Award for putting employee development first. 

The firm is celebrating after being commended for their commitment to training and skills excellence by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. Damien McKnight Training Manager and his team were presented with the award at a ceremony at St James’ Palace in London.  Nigel Adams MP then visited the company’s Pontefract operation to congratulate them personally on receiving the prestigious Award.  He said, “I applaud Dovecote Park for their commitment and investment in the long term skills development of their staff.  Not only has that paid off in a significant return on investment, it has guaranteed employment and career opportunities for the next generation of employees.”

The Princess Royal Training Awards are delivered by the City & Guilds Group, to highlight the value of training and employee development and celebrate examples of best practice. Applications are assessed against three Hallmarks of Excellence by the Princess Royal Training Awards Commission, which comprised of HRH The Princess Royal and seven leading figures in the business and training community. Dovecote Park was particularly acknowledged for tailoring its provision to meet young people’s welfare as well as educational needs, focused on supporting people with potential to achieve.  Working with apprenticeship provider East Riding College, Dovecote Park have created an impressive talent pipeline, including establishing an Apprenticeship programme to ‘grow its own’ butchers, encouraging young people and women into the profession, and producing impressive retention rates.  Dovecote Park now have 48 apprentices in total, from shop floor to management level across its sites in Pontefract and Lincolnshire. 

Commenting on this year’s recipients, Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group said, “It’s fantastic to celebrate the third annual Princess Royal Training Awards and honour Dovecote Park. In an ever changing world, it continues to be important for Britain’s businesses to invest in training to boost their productivity, address skills gaps and further develop their teams. I congratulate all of the 48 organisations who have achieved the standard this year and presented examples of the innovative, inspiring and impactful training that’s taking place across the UK today. They are truly worthy recipients of this rigorously assessed royal award and we are delighted to be able to honour their achievements.”

Andrew McAllister, Dovecote Park’s Managing Director said, “We welcome the Princess Royal Training Award as recognition for the impact our approach has had on our business.  I feel we are reaping the rewards of our sustained commitment to training and our investment in our employees.  The development of the butchery apprenticeship programme has been central to our success, but the long-term planning, overall training structure and employee development ethos in all areas of the business are also what has clinched this award.  We couldn’t be prouder of our team.”

Mike Welsh, Principal and Chief Executive of East Riding College said, “I am very pleased to see our partners acknowledged in this way for their long-term investment in their employees’ skills and the future of their business. Dovecote Park are a model apprentice employer in every way.  The butchery apprentices are well supported and made to feel valued as employees from the very start of their programme, and apprenticeships are used across the business to help existing employees develop in their roles.”

Dovecote Park supplies the very finest British beef, veal and venison to a leading British supermarket nationwide and prides itself on maintaining the highest standards of animal welfare and husbandry. 

Now in its third year, the Princess Royal Training Awards honours employers in the UK who have created outstanding training and skills development programmes which have resulted in exceptional commercial benefits. The Princess Royal Training Awards recognise the achievement of a standard of excellence rather than selecting overall winners. The awards are supported by the City & Guilds Group President, HRH The Princess Royal, who is an active advocate for skills development.


Nigel Adams MP gets the guided tour of the Apprenticeship Training Centre from Dave Stringer Apprentice TrainerNigel Adams MP with staff and apprentices at Dovecote Park

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