Horticulture Course Manager Steve Williams has been honoured as a ‘Local Hero’ by WorldSkills UK for the valuable work he does to promote the benefits of the organisation’s competitions and training programmes.
Himself a former WorldSkills UK national finalist, Steve was at the WorldSkills UK national finals at The Skills Show, Birmingham, last week supporting landscape students Tom Cartledge and Kelvin White and helping in the running of the competition.
Tom and Kelvin were finalists in the three day national championships, pitting their technical skills in wall construction, paving, decking and planting against other high ranking contestants.
Steve helped the students to qualify by developing their skills and confidence through extra training, including web based distance learning, and through pastoral and moral support. He has also engaged with employers including Hultons Landscapes and Marshalls UK to help him deliver masterclasses, giving his students the opportunity to use a range of different materials and technologies
Last year Steve helped Aaron Byrne to achieve a bronze medal at the WorldSkills UK finals. His training methods are now used across the horticultural department as part of student ‘stretch and challenge’.
He also maintains close contact with the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL), who manage the landscape competition, to ensure that it remains authentic and challenging enough to get the best out of the competitors.
In their accolade, WorldSkills UK says they are honouring their Local Heroes for driving their organisation’s involvement in the competitions and helping to equip young people with lifelong world-class skills.
Said Steve: “I was delighted to receive this acknowledgement from WorldSkills UK. We view the competitions as an aspirational tool to inspire high achievement among our students, and they benefit hugely from them, both in technical and life skills.
“They leave the experience with increased self-confidence and practical ability, particularly in time appreciation and quality of finish. This is because the tasks they complete are based on industry standards. They also have a great opportunity to showcase their industry specific skills and enthusiasm to prospective employers.
“Having successful competitors and forming training partnerships with key suppliers also helps us to build Reaseheath’s profile within the industry.”