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regional heat contestants with Jody Lidgard lead judge BRIGHTER

WorldSkills journey begins for landscapers

regional heat contestants with Jody Lidgard lead judge BRIGHTER

The contestants are joined by APL lead judge and trainer Jody Lidgard

Future garden landscapers, including three from Reaseheath, demonstrated their skills at the north west regional heat of the WorldSkills UK competition.

Level 3 Diploma in Horticulture students Nathan Webster, Matt Fletcher and Aaron Byrne challenged students and apprentices from other training providers in tests of block paving and decking construction and were marked on the quality of their work and attention to detail. The competition, run by the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL), was held at Myerscough College.

Aaron Byrne, Nathan Webster and Matt Fletcher compete at the WorldSkills UK regional round

Aaron Byrne, Nathan Webster and Matt Fletcher compete at the WorldSkills UK regional round

Selection of contestants for the semi finals, to be held at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park in July, will be made once all the regional heats have concluded. The highest scoring competitors at Tatton will  progress to the national final, to be held at The Skills Show at the NEC Birmingham in the autumn.

Jody Lidgard, APL lead judge and trainer said: “The competitors represented their colleges well and produced work to a good standard. This is very pleasing as we are putting all our efforts into increasing the standard of skills coming into the industry.”

WorldSkills UK feeds into the Olympic-styled Worlds Skills final, held every two years to showcase the world’s top young talent in vocational industries. Former Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture student Matt Beesley was a member of the GB squad in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in  2015 and successfully brought home a silver medal – Britain’s first ever medal in landscaping.

Landscape gardening

Talented students prove they are among the best

Chris Shore preparing for his WorldSkills UK final build (photo thanks to Steve Burden Photography)

Chris Shore preparing for his WorldSkills UK national final build (photo thanks to Steve Burden Photography)

Three talented Reaseheath students proved they were among the best in the country by successfully competing in the WorldSkills UK national finals.

Garden landscaper Chris Shore and florists Fiona Davies and Robyn Longden battled it out in front of record crowds last week at The Skills Show, the nation’s largest skills and careers event.

Fiona Davies' final pieces from the competition

Fiona Davies’ final pieces from the competition

Although none brought back a medal, all three classed the show ‘an amazing experience’ and Robyn has been selected to join the potential squad for the next WorldSkills GB team. She and the other young people on the long list will be offered further training opportunities before final selection nearer the 2017 world finals, which will be held in Abu Dhabi.

Robyn will be encouraged to follow in the footsteps of Matt Beesley, a former Level 3 Diploma in Horticulture student who, with fellow team member Jonathan Gill from Northern Ireland, won GB’s first ever medal in landscape gardening at the WorldSkills final in Sao Paulo, Brazil this summer.

Robyn is a Level 3 Diploma in Floristry student while Fiona, who manages our Level 2 Diploma in Floristry course, is studying for her Level 5 Master Diploma in Professional Floristry. Chris has gained his Level 3 Diploma in Horticulture with us and has now progressed onto his Foundation Degree in Garden and Landscape Design. He was one of just six students or apprentices nationwide to qualify for the finals.

Our florists had to create five designs – a hand tied bouquet, a wreath, a bridal bouquet, a decorated lampshade and a pair of customised high heeled shoes – while Chris built a garden to plan which included hard and soft landscaping.

Robyn Longden competing at The Skills Show 2015

Robyn Longden competing at The Skills Show 2015

As well as supporting our competing students, we also took an impressive stand showcasing horticulture, floristry, countryside and environmental archaeology. The Skills Show, at the NEC Birmingham, attracted 80,000 visitors. Many colleagues who helped to staff the stand over the three days said that in their opinion it was the best event they had ever attended.

 

WorldSkills UK

Silver for Reaseheath landscaper in world finals

Talented Reaseheath College trained landscape gardener Matt Beesley has proved he is among the world’s best by taking silver at the WorldSkills finals in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Matt, from Winsford, and fellow team member Jonathan Gill, from Northern Ireland, achieved Britain’s first ever medal in landscape gardening at the global, Olympics style final last week (finished Sun 16). The pair had to prove their skills and stamina in hard landscaping, plant knowledge and management by building a garden from scratch in four days under the gaze of 259,000 spectators.

WorldSkills runs the competition bi-annually for students aged 23 and under to showcase the skills and value of young professionals in industries ranging from construction, engineering technology and transportation to IT, communications and social and personal services. The GB team recorded its best ever performance with 33 medals.

WorldSkills Sao Paulo closing Ceremony Team UK Matt Beesley with Rianne Chester

WorldSkills Sao Paulo closing Ceremony Team UK Matt Beesley with Rianne Chester

Matt, 21, completed his Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture at Reaseheath College in Nantwich in 2012. He now runs his own successful business, Beesley’s Landscapes in Winsford, and employs two apprentices. He first competed in the British selection rounds for WorldSkills while a Reaseheath student and has continued to train intensively as a potential squad member.

The former Hartford High School pupil said: “Winning silver in the world finals has been the best experience of my life. The whole WorldSkills programme has been awesome. I have learned so much and gained such a lot of confidence. I’d particularly like to thank my hard landscape instructor at Reaseheath, Jason Hinks, and my parents for their support.”

Said Jason: “I’m really proud of Matt and how he’s developed as a professional landscaper through WorldSkills. This programme is all about benefiting the students through training and helping them to realise their potential.”

Another former Level 3 Reaseheath horticulture student is a potential member of the GB squad for WorldSkills 2017, to be held in Abu Dhabi.  Christopher Shore, who is about to start his Foundation Degree in Garden and Landscape Design, has successfully  qualified for this year’s WorldSkills UK national finals. The competition is run by the Association of Professional Landscapers for WorldSkills UK.

 

Members of Reaseheath’s show garden design and build team are joined by representatives of WCHG as they complete an eyecatching mosaic for the show garden

Reaseheath students gear up for RHS Flower Show Tatton Park

Members of Reaseheath’s show garden design and build team are joined by representatives of WCHG as they complete an eyecatching mosaic for the show garden

Members of Reaseheath’s show garden design and build team are joined by representatives of WCHG as they complete an eyecatching mosaic for the show garden

Reaseheath College garden designers and florists are gearing up for the prestigious RHS Flower Show Tatton Park (July 23 – July 27). We have an impressive medal record for our show gardens and floral designs and our students are hoping to add to the tally with this year’s entries.

 

Feast 291 A Taste of Wythenshawe

The show garden team busy growing on their vegetables

The show garden team busy growing on their vegetables

A team of Foundation Degree Garden and Landscape Design students, helped by  fellow learners from all horticultural courses, are creating an edible show garden in the ‘Feast’ zone, an area which celebrates fresh produce and the joy of growing and cooking home grown food.

Sponsored by Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (WCHG), the garden incorporates innovative and creative approaches to growing edible plants including hydroponics and sculptural features. It celebrates Real Food Wythenshawe, a five year £1 million Big Lottery-funded community food campaign led by WCHG which promotes ways that people can grow their own fruit and vegetables and cook healthy, economical meals.

After the show the garden will be rebuilt in Wythenshawe Park, where it will be shared by the local community.

Said WCHG Chief Executive Nigel Wilson: “The Real Food Wythenshawe campaign supports and encourages residents to take control over what they and their families eat. It demonstrates that healthy eating is possible for everyone, regardless of age, budget, ability or time constraints.

“We are delighted to be partnering Reaseheath College with this innovative show garden and even more excited about the prospect of bringing it back home to Wythenshawe.”

The garden re-instatement at Wythenshawe will be carried out by members of the Turnaround team, who have also assisted in the show build. The Turnaround programme was developed by WCHG to offer training and potentially employment opportunities to those with criminal records. All team members have been trained by Reaseheath and have successfully gained their NPTC Level 2 horticulture award.

 

Inspire 149 Cheshire Gardens of Distinction

Reaseheath RHS students are helping to build a carnival themed show feature for the Cheshire Gardens of Distinction, which this year celebrates its 10th birthday. The group will be represented by eight leading visitor attractions: Arley Hall and Gardens,  Adlington Hall and Gardens, Cholmondeley Castle and Gardens, Fryers Roses of Knutsford, Biddulph Grange, Norton Priory, Bluebell Cottage Gardens and Nurseries and the Cheshire Gardens Trust.

Reaseheath Horticulture lecturer Tracey Walker has helped to co-ordinate the stand, which is in the ‘Inspire’ zone, an area dedicated to cutting edge design and fresh ideas. Each of the eight gardens will feature ‘The Rose of Distinction’, a new floribunda rose being launched by Fryers Roses to celebrate the group’s centenary.

 

Floral Design Studio

Reaseheath florists will showcase their talents with a creative, carnival themed stand.

Five floristry students will also compete in the new Floristry College of the Year Competition. Level 3 Diploma in Floristry students Anna Eite, Zoe Sillito, Wendy Anderson, Carron White and Christine Roberts will be supported by Programme Leader for Floristry Sue Poole.

The students will create five designs using flowers with a colour theme of red, green and yellow: a mask, a wall hanging, an arrangement, a wired bouquet and a planted design. The winning college will go through to the final at the Chelsea Flower Show 2015.

Hopes are high for a good result, as Anna and Zoe won second and third places respectively at a recent WorldSkills UK competition.

 

WorldSkills UK Landscape Gardening Semi Finals

Talented Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture Richard Carden will represent Reaseheath in this prestigious competition. He is one of eight students (divided into teams of two) challenged to build 2m x 6m gardens designed by Alexandra Froggatt.

Competition entries were the highest yet and Richard successfully completed a theory test and tie-breaker exercise to claim his place in the semi-finals. The judges will be Association of Professional Landscapers chairman Mark Gregory, garden designer and four times RHS gold medal winner Adam Frost, landscape firm owner Jody Lidgard and 2011 WorldSkillsUK medal winner Simon Abbott.

Winners from the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park will compete at the WorldSkills UK finals, to be held at The Skills Show, Birmingham NEC, in November. There they will fight for the national title in front of 70,000 people and will also be in the running for selection for the international WorldSkills Competition in Sao Paulo, Brazil, next year.

 

You can find out more about Garden and Landscape Design, Horticulture and Floral Design courses on the Reaseheath website.