Moulton College Partnership

Students to get hands-on learning experiences at historical site

The Chester House Estate near Wellingborough, Northants, has announced it is partnering with Moulton College to offer students a wide range of on-site work opportunities in all aspects of a unique estate that combines history with agriculture, education and visitor experience

Chester House Estate at Irchester is a £14.5m project funded by North Northamptonshire Council and West Northamptonshire Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Due for competition by autumn 2021, the site, which sits on the remains of a Roman town, will be a popular heritage visitor attraction, educational facility and archaeological archive centre.

This week the Estate has announced a partnership with Moulton College which will enable students to learn the practical side of their studies while working on all aspects of the entire estate as it develops – from land management to social media, from finances to wildlife habitat from September.

Jack Pishhorn, Business Manager of Chester House Estate said: “We are delighted that Moulton College Students will be based here as a part of their campus. There’s an educational aspect to all of our commercial aims and objectives, and we’ll be welcoming them to get involved in every single aspect of what we are doing here.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has wrought havoc on the job market, so we will be doing our bit by training up young people and providing really relevant work experience to enable them to be successful in securing worthwhile jobs.”

While students will be getting involved with the running of the farm which, given that it is a scheduled monument, offers unique challenges, there is way more on offer. Jack Pishhorn added: “We want them to get involved in the farm business and its diversification, so that means having trainee chefs in the café, students creating educational programmes, becoming tour guides, and carrying out market research, for example.”

Students will be actively involved in helping the site progress on from the clearance work funded to the tune of £35,000 last year by the Countryside Stewardship which created access across the estate, work which is due to finish this month (March). They will be assisting with the running of the estate, including the Natural England Stewardship scheme and wildlife areas.

Moulton College is a further education college based 12 miles away from the site in the village of Moulton. Initially established as the Northamptonshire Institute of Agriculture in 1921, it expanded its teaching curriculum to cover a wide range of land-based subjects, sports, and construction. Full and part-time courses at the college include agriculture, animal welfare and management, countryside management, and horticulture to support education and training for the land-based, construction and leisure industries.

Jack Pishhorn said: “There is no shortage of ideas and enthusiasm from heads of department. Moulton College has its own artisan bakery, run by the students, and this September it’ll have its own microbrewery, so produce could potentially be sold in the café and our wedding venue.”

Vice Principal at Moulton College, John O’Shea said: “We are absolutely delighted to be forming a partnership with Chester House Estate. The opportunities the partnership opens for our students to gain real hands-on experiences across the whole project are incredible and we look forward to developing these further, and contributing to the development and evolution of the project.”

Among the first buildings on site set to open this summer is the Education Centre which will offer educational programmes focussing on heritage, history, archaeology, geography, farming, sustainability and farm business diversification. The Chester House Estate is currently recruiting full-time staff, including an Education and Heritage Officer, details of which can be found on the Team Vacancies page.

The Chester House Estate was recently awarded £35,000 by Countryside Stewardship to clear scrubland and create access with stunning views across the estate. Money is awarded by the Government as an incentive to farmers and land managers to look after and improve the environment. The work was carried out by Gary Akehurst, Facilities Supervisor and involved educational and community incentives.

Thanks to @HeritageFundUK and the Government’s #CultureRecoveryFund, we can continue to be #HereForCulture