Reaseheath College’s dairy technologists celebrate first year success

Twenty four trainee dairy technologists reached a significant career milestone when they completed the first year of their Eden training programme at Reaseheath College in Nantwich, Cheshire, earlier this month.

The technologists work for leading companies in the dairy industry and attend the Eden International Dairy Academy for block release training, spending the rest of their time in their workplace. They will graduate with a globally recognised foundation degree in dairy technology on completion of their three year course. The education initiative is supported by key players in the dairy industry and is aimed at producing world-class staff. There are currently 75 trainees on the programme.

While at college, the technologists gain hands-on practical experience in Reaseheath’s industry-standard, food and dairy processing plant. The facilities enable the students to see food production from start to finish and also to carry out new product development.

Three of the first year cohort were in line for special honours as they celebrated completing their initial year of study.

Darius Barkunas, who works for Arla Foods, was selected as the Best Practical Student. The 27 year-old began working for Arla in Settle, Yorkshire, six years ago as an agency worker and has progressed to becoming a process technician. He was selected for his practical skills and for his ability to explain his practical knowledge to others.

He said: “Being offered a place on the Eden programme was like winning the lottery and I cannot thank my company enough for supporting me. Coming to Reaseheath is brilliant. The lecturers are totally dedicated to their job and the facilities are wonderful.”

Mike Reid, 29, a Dairy Crest employee, received the Best Academic Student award. for consistently achieving outstanding exam and assignment results and for his exceptional attention to detail. Mike has worked for Dairy Crest in Gloucester for 11 years and has immersed himself in the academic content of his course despite having done no serious studying since his ‘A’ levels in 2002.

He said: “Coming to college after such a long break was a big cultural challenge but everyone at Reaseheath has been extremely friendly and helpful. I am delighted that my company has chosen to support me through this qualification.”

Shaun McKenzie, 18, from Muller Dairy was voted the Dairy Culture Student of the Year after receiving the student vote for the way he supports his colleagues. The former apprentice is now a permanent staff member at Muller’s Market Drayton base and is mentored by Eden graduate Mitchell Tullett.

Presenting the awards, Adam Brazendale, Business Development Manager for the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink said: “Eden students are at the forefront of an exciting future for the UK dairy industry. This is a unique training programme aimed at supporting and developing skills within the dairy processing industry.

“The Eden programme is an excellent qualification and we are proud to have Reaseheath as our Dairy Champion for Food and Drink.”

Read more about the Eden programme here.




Reaseheath construction students build on skills for competition

Three Reaseheath College, Nantwich, construction students proved they have outstanding skills by impressing judges at an Olympic style competition to find the nation’s most talented young tradespeople.

Advanced carpentry apprentice Matt Williams, 18, won the senior carpentry and joinery section in the north west regional round of Skillbuild and qualified for the national final in September. Winners from there may go on to represented Britain in WorldSkills International, a global event which in 2015 will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Advanced bricklayer Dave Ford came third in the senior bricklaying section and remains in contention for the final while advanced bricklaying apprentice Leonard Thomas impressed the judges but missed out on a place in the same section.

The regional round, held in Burnley, was for college trainees aged 21 and under and attracted entries from colleges from throughout the north west. The contestants had to interpret a drawn plan and demonstrate a range of skills on different challenges over a five hour period.

Matt, who attends Reaseheath on day release, is a site joiner for Ewson Contractors of Malpas and lives in Whitchurch.

He said: “A lot of good joiners took part in the competition and I was really surprised to win. I just tried to remember all the tips that my tutors had taught me.”

Dave Ford, 19, of Northwich is currently a full-time construction student at Reaseheath while Leonard, 19 is a bricklayer for Farmer and Tapley Ltd of Market Drayton and lives in Childs Ercall.

Construction Instructor Danny Collins, who has organised Reaseheath’s Skillbuild teams for the past seven years, said: “The students represented Reaseheath extremely well and the whole department is very proud of their achievements.

“The competition was very stiff but they all gave a very good account of themselves and gained valuable experience at the same time. We were delighted that the outstanding quality of their work was recognised by the judging panel.”

Find out more about Construction courses at Reaseheath here.


Reaseheath rowers to raise funds for cancer charity

Forty staff from Reaseheath College in Nantwich have signed up to take part in the Chester Dragon Boat Festival to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Two teams of Reaseheath rowers will take on other dragon boat teams in the charity race, which takes place on Sunday June 22 on the River Dee at Chester.

Rowing the 40 foot long boats, the teams will complete three timed races over a short course of around 250 metres, with their single fastest time used for qualification into the grand final.

The volunteers are now busy collecting for Macmillan Cancer Support at

Reaseheath Student Services Assistant Manager Greg Otto organised the teams after being contacted by Carl Fisher, a Cheshire volunteer for the charity. College staff previously took part in the dragon boat festival five years ago, successfully raising £550 for BIRD (Brain Injury and Rehabilitation Development).

Greg said: “We really enjoyed the 2009 event and everyone is looking forward to this year’s challenge. Every department has a staff member who is taking part, so it’s a truly cross college effort. Our new gym has just opened, so hopefully our team members will be using the new facilities to prepare for the big day.”

Sarah Page, Senior Fundraising Manager for Cheshire, said: “We love this event because it really puts the ‘fun’ into fundraising and we are delighted that Reaseheath has nominated us as their charity. Macmillan needs to raise over £1million for cancer services across Cheshire each year. Our mission is to support local people and fund raising efforts from companies like Reaseheath is vital to our work.”

There are boats still available in the Chester Dragon Boat Festival. Other companies who would like to get involved and support Macmillan Cancer Support can email or call 0300 1000 200. Alternatively businesses can choose another local charity to support.


Speedy learning curve for future engineers

Future engineers from local primary and secondary schools learned about the science and technology behind a 1,000 mph record attempt during a visit to Reaseheath College in Nantwich.

Twelve schools from Nantwich, Crewe, Sandbach, Haslington, Stoke and Cannock were invited to take part in activities involving the Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC), the vehicle which will attempt the 1,000mph land speed record in South Africa in 2016.

Georgina Hardy and Adam Caunt, both 13, from Brine Leas School with their Kinex car

Georgina Hardy and Adam Caunt, both 13, from Brine Leas School with their Kinex car

A replica of Bloodhound SSC, along with its education team, was a key attraction at Reaseheath’s Family Festival in May and remained on campus for a week to allow local pupils to learn more about the exciting project.

The event was run in support of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths), a national education initiative to inspire young people to consider engineering as a career. The UK needs to attract 100,000 new engineers into the industry each year and currently recruits just 30,000 annually.

Up to 120 pupils at Key Stages 2 and 3 visited Reaseheath each day to learn about Bloodhound SSC’s development, which is being supported by some of the world’s leading engineering companies including Rolls Royce.

Braden Jones, Ben Jackson and Bloodhound ambassador Claire Stewart watch Joshua Malkin on simulator

The young people had a chance to look at the car and those who asked the best questions were rewarded with a drive on a simulator. Other activities included constructing and testing an air driven Kinex car, 3D printing and planning a specially prepared desert base for the car and its support teams.

Brine Leas School, Nantwich, Year 8 pupil Georgina Hardy, 13, who had just tested the aerodynamics of her Kinex car, said: “I don’t know what I’m going to do for a career but this has definitely given me an insight into engineering. The whole day has been very interesting and a lot of fun.”

Reaseheath FE Marketing Officer Stephanie Owen explained: “We invited our local schools into college so they could make the most of the wonderful opportunity offered by Bloodhound and its team. Reaseheath totally supports STEM projects and we hope that some of our young visitors will be inspired to become the engineers of the future.”

For more about careers in engineering and science see and


Results prove Reaseheath makes a huge difference to students and to its local community

Reaseheath College contributes £85.7 million in additional income per year to the local business com­munity, a new report shows.

This was one of the key findings in a recent independent analysis of the social and economic impact of the Nantwich, Cheshire, college by Economic Modelling Specialists International (emsi).

Figures from the report show that Reaseheath generates income equal to 0.3% of Cheshire and Warrington’s total economy, a figure which represents 3,426 average wage jobs.

Statistics show that the skills and qualifications acquired by former Reaseheath students bolstered Cheshire and Warrington’s economy by enabling employers to increase outputs. This added £65.7 million in income to the regional economy per year.

The analysis also found that the expenditure of Reaseheath and its staff generated approximately £19.6 million in new income to the total regional output per year. In addition, non local students attending the college brought in over £407,000 in new income by spending on goods and services.

Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David

Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David

Summing up, the report states: “Reaseheath College makes a significant positive impact not only on its students but on society, taxpayers and the local business community. Not only does the college spend money within Cheshire and Warrington and employ a large staff, it also trains students to be valuable employees in the region’s workforce. These roles all add value to local businesses by increasing their level of outputs and generating a need for further jobs, creating additional income.”

Students also benefit financially from studying at Reaseheath. The report found that every £1 students paid for their education yielded £7.30 in higher wages in the future – an 18.9% annual return on investment

Statistics showed that students paid a total of £2.5 million to cover the cost of tuition fees, books and supplies in 2012 -2013 and that they also lost £21.9 million which they would have earned had they been working instead of learning. In return they should expect to receive £178.1 million (present value) in increased earnings over their working lives.

The report declared: “Reaseheath’s mission is to deliver excellence to its students. The experiences they receive at college have the power to shape the rest of their lives and put them on the path to becoming happy and productive members of their ommunities. Reaseheath also plays a key role in helping them increase their employability and achieve their individual potential.”

Another key point to come out of the report was that the general public will receive £6.00 in return for every £1 invested in Reaseheath – an annual return of 18.4%. The gain was through added income and in savings to society

Figures showed that society in general invested £66.8 million in Reaseheath through direct outlays and the loss of potential output from students who were studying rather than working. In repayment, society received £401.3 million (present value) over the course of the students’ working lives through higher taxes and social benefits such as reduced crime, lower unemployment and increased health and well-being.

Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David commented: “We are delighted that this independent report highlights Reaseheath’s major input into the economy and particularly the way we are able to support and stimulate income for our local community. It also underlines what we have long believed – that high level education and skills is a hugely important economic driver.”

He emphasised that, to ensure that its students had the competitive edge in the jobs market, Reaseheath has invested £40 million into specialist facilities and resources. A further £23 million of investment was planned over the next two years to provide a national centre for horticulture and environmental management, further halls of residence and additional social and recreational facilities.


Reaseheath burgers get top marks for taste

Innovative burgers made by food technology students from Reaseheath College in Nantwich have won bronze awards in the first round of the EBLEX ‘England’s Best Burger Challenge’

The recipes for the minted lamb and chilli beef burgers were designed by Level 3 Diploma in Food Technology and Management students as part of their studies in meat science. The burgers were then made by Foundation Level 1 Food Preparation and Cooking students.

EBLEX represents the beef and lamb industry in England and runs the prestigious competition biannually as part of its campaign to boost quality and innovation. The aim is to find the most succulent, tender and tasty burgers in the country.

The contest is open to any catering or butchery establishment and this year attracted record entries from throughout England. This was the first time that Reaseheath had submitted an entry.  The students had to follow strict guidelines and control measures and the burgers were tested in raw and cooked form.

Butchery lecturer Doug Ewen, who oversaw and submitted the entries, said: “This was a fantastic result for the students as there is no guarantee that you will receive any award, especially on the first attempt. It was an excellent achievement which the student can add to their CVs and which will help them as they progress into their chosen careers.”

Competition organiser Hugh Judd, EBLEX Food Service Project Manager, said: “The quality of entries this year was very high. Reaseheath students did extremely well, particularly as they were competing against entries from the whole of the burger sector.” 

Reaseheath is launching a new Level 2 Diploma in Professional Butchery course, aimed at school leavers, in September. The college’s Food Centre is one of the best equipped food processing teaching and practical facilities in Europe. Built to industry standards and staffed by a team of specialist food technologists, the £7.3million facilities include a butchery production area.

Find out more about our new Butchery course here.

Reaseheath College building dedicated to visionary governor

Reaseheath College’s newest halls of residence have been officially dedicated to the man who helped to make the college a leader in vocational training.

Platt Hall has been named in memory of John Platt OBE, the former chair of the Nantwich college’s Board of Governors, who died two years ago at the age of 82. John was Chair of governors for 14 years and a governor for 20 years, during which time he spearheaded over £50m of capital investment on campus

Platt Hall, the latest new build to be completed, opened to students in September. The £6 million building, which has 150 en suite bedrooms including special provision for students with disabilities, bring the total of student rooms on campus to 685.

Construction of the next project, an £8.5 million national centre for horticulture and environmental management, starts shortly.

Describing John as a visionary and inspirational leader, Chair of Governors Emily Thrane said: “John was a true gentleman and a lovely person. He left an enormous legacy at Reaseheath and his spirit will remain in these wonderful facilities. John planted seeds and ensured his vision would endure by giving us self belief and perseverance. He also inspired great loyalty from everyone who worked with him.”

A plaque was unveiled by John’s daughter, Joanna Lomas, and an oak tree germinated by Reaseheath’s horticulturists was dedicated by his son Jeremy Platt.  The building was blessed by the Rev Peter Mascarenhas.

Joanna, of Tarvin, said: “Platt Hall is very impressive. Dad would have been so proud.”

In addition to his support of Reaseheath, John ran a dairy farm at Lostock Gralam and was a leading light in Cheshire’s agricultural community. He was Chairman of Cheshire Agriculture Society for almost 30 years and played a leading role in running the Cheshire Show.

His legacy lives on in the John Platt Travel Scholarship, which enables young people in Cheshire’s agricultural and land based industries to widen their experience through travel.

RHES fundraise for Crocodiles of the World

Since the Reaseheath Herpetological & Entomological Society was founded in 2010, one of our main objectives has been to fundraise for an annually chosen charity.  Last year we raised over £500 for North Wales Raptor & Rescue, a facility in North Wales that cares for abandoned reptiles and birds of prey. This year we set our sights on supporting the charity Crocodiles of the World.

Crocodiles of the World is a facility based in Oxfordshire and is the only crocodilian specialist zoo in the country. The zoo boasts 13 species of crocodilian as well as a large number of other reptile species. RHES originally visited their first establishment in Crawley and were thoroughly impressed with the facilities and the level of passion and dedication demonstrated by the staff.RHES Crocodiles of the World 2

Pete Brassington - head shave fundraiser

Pete Brassington – head shave fundraiser

In late 2012, Crocodiles of the World announced that they were moving facilities and were in need of donations to be able to make the new facilities the best they could be. RHES members and supporters organised a number of events to raise money for Crocodiles of the World. Events included; cakes sales, our annual sponsored “Leap of Faith” – in which members ascended on a 40ft pole leapt off a tiny platform into thin air with the aim of hitting a target, a talk from the crocodilian specialist Colin Stevenson and a head shave from Pete Brassington – raising in excess of £250 from his brave feat!

RHES  "leap of faith"

RHES “Leap of Faith”

In total RHES raised £1008.8 for Crocodiles of the World, an amazing total and a testament to the hard work of all the fundraisers.


Shaun Foggett, founder of Crocodiles of the World heard of the RHES fundraising efforts and invited members visit Crocodiles of the World to present the money in person. RHES members were given a private tour of the new facility, now based in Brize Norton. As an extra special thanks from Shaun and the team, RHES were treated to a crocodilian handling session, where they got hands-on with some juvenile crocodiles, alligators and caiman.

A huge thank you to all the RHES members, anyone who supported the fundraising events throughout the year and the staff at Crocodiles of the World, who continue to be as passionate and hard-working as ever. A extra special thanks is to made to Lauren and Joe who made all of this possible.

Want to keep up-to-date with what the RHES are up to? Like Reaseheath Herpetological & Entomological Society (RHES) on Facebook.

If you would like to visit, learn more about or donate to Crocodiles of the World visit their website:

Reaseheath Herpetological & Entomological Society



RHES Crocodiles of the World

Bumper crowds enjoy Reaseheath College Festival

Devils Horsemen Daniel Naprous and his black stallion perform.

Devils Horsemen Daniel Naprous and his black stallion perform.

Bumper crowds flocked to Reaseheath College on Sunday to join in the college’s annual Family Festival.

Thousands of visitors spent the day at the college’s Nantwich campus, enjoying the warm sunshine and carnival atmosphere.

Headline acts included a daring display of trick riding by The Devil’s Horsemen stunt team and displays by Titan, a giant robot whose latest appearances include the opening of the Winter Olympics at Sochi. Both acts had returned to Reaseheath due to popular demand.

Families also had the chance to see a replica of Bloodhound SSC, the supersonic car which will attempt a 1,000mph land speed record in 2016. The car was part of a technology theme running through the festival and had a simulator so that visitors could experience the thrill of driving the fastest car on earth.

Titan meets the crowd

Titan meets the crowd

Another world record was attempted during the day when 300 visitors got down and boogied on Reaseheath’s lawn to ‘Oops Upside Your Head’. The evidence is still under scrutiny, but it is hoped that the dance will earn Reaseheath a place in the Guinness Book of Records. The challenge was masterminded by members of Reaseheath’s Student Association to raise money for the college’s RAG (raising and giving) appeal, which this year goes to St Luke’s Cheshire Hospice.

The World War I was a supporting theme of the festival, with Reaseheath Food Centre putting on a WWI field kitchen and displays by North Staffordshire Military Vehicle Trust and Cheshire Land Rover Club.  The Devil’s Horsemen team brought an original WWI canteen carriage, which was paraded round the college grounds pulled by two draft horses.

BBC Radio Stoke presenter James Watt with Bloodhound SSC

BBC Radio Stoke presenter James Watt with Bloodhound SSC

The many other highlights included a calf show which was won by Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture student Becky Harper with fellow student Harley Sneyd as Reserve Champion. Families also enjoyed sheep shearing, a farmers’ and craft market, student horse riding displays, tours of the college’s zoo, a fun dog show, a tea garden and demonstrations ranging from tree climbing and chainsaw use to butchery and cheese making.

The many ‘have a go’ activities included the chance to try archery, climb the college’s indoor wall and tackle the high ropes course.

The Voice contestant Joe Keegan

The Voice contestant Joe Keegan

The main stage hosted guest artists including Celtica Irish Dancing, ‘The Voice’ contestant Joe Keegan and local band Hex. Younger visitors enjoyed an old time funfair games, miniature train rides, face painting and local ice cream.

Reaseheath family festival has been running for over 20 years and is one of a number of college events to attract a growing number of visitors from the region. A recent independent economic assessment revealed that Reaseheath contributes around £85.7 million in additional income per year to the local business community.

Said Principal Meredydd David: “Once again the Reaseheath team delivered a fabulous family festival for thousands of people. In my opinion it was the best ever festival and a phenomenal success, allowing our visitors to celebrate with us what’s best about Reaseheath.

“As well as being a shop window for the skills of our students, the festival also makes a fantastic contribution to our local community and has become a not to be missed event for many people.”


  • Bloodhound SSC, accompanied by its education team, has remained at Reaseheath this week and is being visited by 120 pupils from local schools each day. On Saturday 24th May the car will feature in the launch of the Cheshire Science Festival, which runs until June 1st and aims to encourage more pupils into science, technology, engineering and maths.


Young entrepreneurs impress with their business idea

Future business leaders from Reaseheath won an amazing four awards in this year’s Young Enterprise competition with their quirky idea to recycle glass bottles by turning them into household items.

Aptly named ‘New Generation’, the Level 3 Diploma in Business Studies students attracted praise for their idea of converting used glass bottles into candle holders, flower vases, pen pots and sweet holders. They won awards for the best overall company and for the best trade stand in the Cheshire East leg of the competition and went on to collect two more for innovation and creativity at the county stage.

The team organised a display, prepared a presentation and took sales orders from staff and students, families, friends and local outlets to prove that their business was financially viable.

Said Managing Director Shannon Tew: “The competition was very exciting and we learned a lot about running a real business. The judges gave us some really good comments and tips.”

Business Studies lecturer Julie Boulton added: “I’m very proud of the way the team worked together to come up with an attractive product and produce a business plan. Their presentation was excellent and they did really well to get as far as they did.”

The annual Young Enterprise competition encourages business talent in young people. Reaseheath business students regularly take part in competitions, visit companies and go on study tours to increase their industry and commercial experience.