rebecca dawson ‘Horticulture Apprentice of the Year’

Second award for apprentice gardener Rebecca

An apprentice gardener at Cholmondeley Castle Gardens near Malpas has become Reaseheath College’s ‘Horticulture Apprentice of the Year’.

Rebecca Dawson, 26, from Aldford, Chester, received her award at a college ceremony held during National Apprenticeships Week, a celebration of the benefits which apprentices bring to businesses and to the national economy by increasing productivity and providing workforce succession.

Rebecca was one of 150 apprentices who have gained their qualifications at the Nantwich, Cheshire, specialist college in the past year. She is one of a team of seven gardeners who look after the historic gardens and grounds at Cholmondeley, which attract thousands of visitors each year.

Reaseheath’s award was the second prestigious accolade which Rebecca has received since she became an apprentice just over a year ago. She also holds the national title of ‘New Gardener of the Year 2015’, presented by the Professional Gardeners Guild to the top new entrant to the industry.

rebecca dawson ‘Horticulture Apprentice of the Year’

Barry Grain, Head Gardener at Cholmondeley, who is mentoring Rebecca through her apprenticeship and who nominated her for her Professional Gardeners Guild Award, said: “Rebecca is exactly the sort of person we need to attract into the industry. She is young, committed and passionate and really wants to learn and get involved.

“Cholmondeley Castle Gardens are known as one of the best in the region and are part of our living history. We need young talent to help preserve and enhance historic gardens like ours for the future and are currently looking for another apprentice to join our team.”

Rebecca has completed her Level 2 apprenticeship and has progressed onto her Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship. She attends Reaseheath once a week to learn academic and practical skills and is also supported by college assessors at her workplace.

At Cholmondeley she has worked in all sections, including the popular terraces and temple garden. She also helped to build Cholmondeley’s award winning show garden at RHS Tatton Park Flower Show last year and will work on a similar project at RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year.

Rebecca said: ““An apprenticeship is a very versatile qualification which is becoming increasingly popular with employers. By choosing this route I have not only been able to enter the horticultural industry, but my future prospects have improved through the lifelong skills I’ve learnt and vital networking opportunities I’ve gained.  I’m also very fortunate to work in such a beautiful and historic environment as Cholmondeley.”

Reaseheath currently has 355 apprentices studying agriculture, agricultural engineering, animal care, construction, construction plant, food industry skills, horse care, horticulture, motor vehicle and sports turf.

Rebecca’s assessor Lyndon Smith said: “Rebecca is an outstanding apprentice and we were delighted to choose her as our award winner this year. Her portfolio of work is exceptional and her enthusiasm is infectious. She has become a vital team member at Cholmondeley, taking garden tours and answering questions from the public.”

Cholmondeley Castle Gardens were a personal project of the late Lady Lavinia Cholmondeley, who began work on them in the 1950s. The gardens are currently going through a renaissance, with new landscaping and renovated borders. They have just reopened to the public for the new season.

For further details of Reaseheath apprenticeships visit www.reaseheath.ac.uk/apprenticeships or call 01270 613221

For further details of Cholmondeley Castle Gardens see www.cholmondeleycastle.com

Header caption: Rebecca is joined by Lyndon Smith (left) and Barry Grain at Cholmondeley Castle Gardens

Apprentice of the Year Peter Lewis with boss Craig Gilholm and assessor Lyndon Smith

Accolade for Royal Liverpool apprentice greenkeeper

An apprentice greenkeeper at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, has been crowned Reaseheath College’s ‘Apprentice of the Year’.

Peter Lewis, 17, from Heswall, received his award at a college ceremony held during National Apprenticeships Week, a celebration of the benefits which apprentices bring to businesses and to the national economy by increasing productivity and providing workforce succession.

Peter was one of 150 apprentices who have gained their qualifications at the Nantwich, Cheshire, specialist college in the past year. He is one of a team of 11 who maintain the championship course at the world famous venue. Eight of the staff are former sports turf apprentices who have been trained by Reaseheath College.

Apprentice of the Year Peter Lewis

Reaseheath College Apprentice of the Year Peter Lewis

Royal Liverpool Links Manager Craig Gilholm, who is mentoring Peter through his training programme, said: “Apprenticeships work well for us. They attract committed young people who are keen to learn ‘on the job’ and who quickly become key members of our team. The qualification is well respected by employers because they know that apprentices have proven, practical skills as well as understanding the theory of their subject.

“Peter has shown real passion for the job and really wants to learn and get involved. He is exactly the sort of young person we like to attract into the industry, and he has a great future ahead of him.”

Peter, a former pupil of Kingsmead School, Hoylake, has completed his Level 2 Apprenticeship in Sports Turf and has now progressed onto his Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship. He attends Reaseheath once a week to learn academic and practical skills and is supported by college assessors at his workplace as well as by his colleagues.

He has worked at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club for two years, during which time he has helped to prepare the course for the 2014Open Championship and other major tournaments. Highlights of his career so far have been meeting 2014 winner Rory McIlroy and fellow professionals Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler.

A keen golfer himself, Peter has always wanted to work at a world class golf course and started to gain work experience at courses in Heswall during school holidays.

He said: “Being an apprentice has given me an opening into a great career. It’s fantastic working in such a lovely environment and with such a friendly team. I’ve worked hard and the training is really paying off.”

Reaseheath currently has 355 apprentices studying agriculture, agricultural engineering, animal care, construction, construction plant, food industry skills, horse care, horticulture, motor vehicle and sports turf.

Reaseheath assessor Lyndon Smith said: “Peter’s portfolio of work is outstanding, he works hard and he’s extremely keen to learn. We were delighted to choose him as our Apprentice of the Year.”

Header picture caption: Peter Lewis celebrates success with Craig Gilholm (left) and Lyndon Smith

reaseheath apps praised

Reaseheath’s apprentice stars recognised

A trainee groundsman at one of the country’s top golf courses and a trainee food development technologist who helps to bring new ready meals to the supermarket shelf took the top titles at Reaseheath College’s Apprenticeship Awards.

Advanced Apprentice of the Year James Tickner of Hitchen Foods

Advanced Apprentice of the Year James Tickner of Hitchen Foods

Peter Lewis, an apprentice groundsman at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, was crowned ‘Level 2 Apprentice of the Year’ while James Tickner, a development apprentice with Bakkavor Hitchen Foods, Wigan, was awarded ‘Advanced Apprentice of the Year’.

The event marked the achievements of 150 apprentices who had gained their qualifications at the Nantwich, Cheshire, specialist college in the past year. It was held during National Apprenticeships Week, a celebration of the benefits which apprentices bring to businesses and to the national economy by increasing productivity and providing workforce succession.

Also selected for special awards were Best Horticulture Apprentice Rebecca Dawson, who works at Cholmondeley Castle Gardens, Malpas, Best Construction Apprentice (Brickwork) Adam Platt, who is employed by Greg Lambert Ltd., building contractors in Northwich and Best Construction Apprentice (Joinery) Ewan Collins of Magno Property Maintenance in Whitchurch.

Best Agricultural Apprentice was Jordan Brandrick, who works for his family’s arable farm in Burton-on-Trent and Best Food Apprentice was William Hill, an apprentice butcher with Woolliscroft Butchers, Stoke-on-Trent

Best Agricultural Engineering Apprentice (Parts, Sales and Marketing) was Mary Wallbank, a customer care trainee with Guy Machinery Ltd, Gisburn, Lancashire. Mary, 21, joined guest speaker Lee Webster, Managing Director of Hultons Landscapes, on stage to make a presentation to a packed audience of employers and families.

Best Agricultural Engineering apprentice (Parts, Sales and Marketing) Mary Wallbank addresses guests

Best Agricultural Engineering apprentice (Parts, Sales and Marketing) Mary Wallbank addresses guests

Opening the ceremony, Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David emphasised that apprenticeships were recognised by the government as the preferred training route for employers and that demands for places from young people were currently at an all time high.

The apprenticeship training programme delivered meaningful and highly valued qualifications along with skills and knowledge which were of vital importance to the country’s economy. Continuous upskilling was essential if the UK’s workforce was to be able to compete in European and world markets.

Describing the apprentices as the future leaders of local businesses and communities, he said: “You will be the influencers and the drivers for change. Through the skills and knowledge you have gained, and through your resilience and adaptability, you will prosper.”

Meredydd also pointed out that Reaseheath’s apprenticeship provision had earned praise from Ofsted inspectors last November, with the college’s outstanding work with employers and the industries it serves being particularly commended.

The college’s apprenticeship frameworks and success rates were well above the national average and apprentice satisfaction rates were also very high.

Speaking from the employers’ point of view, Lee Webster confirmed:  “A Reaseheath apprenticeship is a qualification that horticultural employers value highly. Having a Reaseheath ticket on their CV helps to make young people more employable.”

Reaseheath currently has 355 apprentices studying agriculture, agricultural engineering, animal care, construction, construction plant, food industry skills, horse care, horticulture, motor vehicle and sports turf.

Other apprentices to be commended during the evening were:

Certificates of Excellence:

Owen Taylor (Horticulture – Tatton Park Gardens)

Beth Grindey (Agriculture – G Marrow and Partners, Congleton)

Bethan Roberts (Animal Care – Groom Room, Chester)

Dan Waring (Sports Turf – Ashbourne Golf Club)

Joshua Martin (Construction – Mark Pine Joinery, Tarporley)

Certificates of Endeavour:

Nathan Fox (Agriculture – J W Fawcett and Son, Whitchurch)

Benjamin Graham (Construction – Elliot Build & Glaze Ltd., Wirral)

Certificates for Outstanding Achievement:

Rob Clowes (Agriculture – A&JE Goldstraw, Stoke-on-Trent)

For further details of apprenticeships visit www.reaseheath.ac.uk/apprenticeships or call Reaseheath Training on 01270 613221