Reaseheath College apprentices feature in BBC Countryfile

Reaseheath College agriculture apprentices featured in BBC’s Countryfile programme on Sunday March 8 as the popular series celebrated the launch of Apprenticeship Week (March 9 – 13).

The programme showed Level 3 apprentice Jason Smith, 21, being joined by presenter Matt Baker as he carried out the duties of assistant herdsman at his family’s dairy farm in Middlewich. Matt also discussed the benefits of the apprenticeship programme with Jason’s father, Adrian, and watched as Reaseheath Training assessor Anna Hughes carried out an assessment as part of Jason’s portfolio.

Jason was selected for the programme from several Level 3 agricultural apprentices who are studying at the Nantwich specialist college. Reaseheath is a leading trainer of apprentices throughout the north-west and also provides a valuable recruitment service for employers in the land-based sector.

Anna Hughes explained: “Jason is an outstanding student who is both hard working and entrepreneurial. He is typical of many next generation farmers who are learning their skills at Reaseheath and we had no hesitation in putting him forward to feature on Countryfile.”

Anna Hughes is joined by presenters Ellie Harrison and Matt Baker

Anna Hughes is joined by presenters Ellie Harrison and Matt Baker

The TV crew also filmed on Reaseheath’s campus, following Jason and fellow apprentices in the classroom during a session on cattle genetics with lecturer Jane Richardson and watching another group as they calibrated a fertiliser spreader and moved expectant ewes through a foot bath. Students were also filmed using a cutting edge tractor simulator.

Jason is the third generation of Smiths to raise and manage the Pedigree Holstein Bostock Herd at Brook House Farm, which is owned by the Tatton Estate. A former pupil of Leftwich County High School, and Sir John Dean’s College, Northwich, he hopes eventually to take over the farm’s management.

He said: “Filming with Countryfile was a brilliant learning curve and great fun.  I’d like to thank Reaseheath for suggesting me for the programme.”

Thousands of employers have benefited from training apprentices. Find out more about how a Reaseheath apprentice could help support your business by registering your interest on our website.

Header caption: Matt Baker with apprentice Jason Smith and assessor Anna Hughes


Career talk inspires travel plans

Adrian Dunn with Level 3 Extended Diploma Agric students Megan Baldwin and Becky Worthington 4mbReaseheath alumnus Adrian Dunn returned to the College to share his experiences of working and travelling abroad.

The former agriculture student addressed our final year Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture cohort and discussed how he spent two years building his industry knowledge on a range of farms across New Zealand and Australia. Adrian began his travels in 2002, working on a 580 dairy herd farm in New Zealand and proceeded on to the Australian Outback where he achieved a role as a maintenance assistant on a five million hectare farm.

Adrian addresses agriculture students

Adrian addresses agriculture students

Said Adrian, “Working on the other side of the world was an amazing experience, it gave me a whole new perspective on work and my career. I made the decision to go to New Zealand after listening to an ex-student’s talk when I was at college myself and I wanted to  ‘give something back’ to the current students. I hope the talk gave students a little inspiration to help them take the plunge and travel too.”

Adrian offered students his tips on organising placements, how to get the best out of work experience and guidance on utilising their time effectively whilst travelling.

Combining work placements with travel, Adrian took the opportunity to embark on the famous ‘Kiwi Experience’ tour of New Zealand and spent time exploring some of Australia’s hotspots. On returning to the UK at the end of 2003, Adrian went on to work on farms across Cheshire, whilst also pursuing a part-time role as a youth worker. He now runs his own children’s sports coaching business, A-Star Sports.

Adrian studied at Reaseheath from 1996 to 1999. He initially completed a foundation course and NVQ Level 2 in mechanics, before moving on to complete his National Certificate in Agriculture (NCA).


If you would like to give our final year students your top tips on how to make that all-important transition from study to work through delivering a career talk or workshop, please contact Alumni Officer Katie Burt on


Inspirational alumnus recognised with award

An inspirational mother of four who travelled from Luton to Reaseheath weekly to study for a new career has been recognised for her outstanding commitment.

Damaris Kuria received a £500 Open College Network West Midlands Region (OCNWMR) ‘Access to Higher Education’ Learner Award after being nominated by her tutors.

Gilly Hughes and Damaris Kuria win Access to Higher Education top students' accolade at Reaseheath Further Education Awards Ceremony 2014

Gilly Hughes and Damaris Kuria receive Reaseheath College Access to Higher Education top students’ accolade at Reaseheath Further Education Awards Ceremony 2014

The former finance assistant, who used our Access to Higher Education Diploma to boost her knowledge in farming, is now studying for a BSc Business Management (International Food and Agri-Business) at the Royal Agricultural University. She hopes to return to her native Kenya to run her own farm and to use her expertise in business finance and agriculture to work with African farmers.

Damaris, a mature student who returned to education after redundancy, chose agriculture as she felt it offered a fulfilling career with plenty of opportunities. She made the hard choice to leave her husband and young family at home because she felt studying at Reaseheath would prepare her best for her degree. Despite her family commitments, she achieved exceptionally high marks and an attendance record of nearly 100%.

Said Damaris: “While I was at Reaseheath I learned a lot about 21st century farming and I’m enjoying studying it in greater depth.

“Although adjusting to the college environment, being with new people and living in student accommodation was a challenge at first, I was hugely supported by my partner, the college staff and fellow students. Everyone went out of their way to make me feel at home. My degree studies are going well and I’m enjoying every part of the course.”

Our Access to Higher Education Diploma prepares mature students for degree level study.

Find out more information about studying for a degree at Reaseheath here.  


Tattenhall blacksmith forges his mark on village


War horse reduced MB and brighter

Talented Blacksmith Andrew Smith helped Tattenhall commemorate the centenary of the First World War with a fitting sculpture.

Andrew, a former Reaseheath engineering student, was commissioned by Tattenhall and District Parish Council to create a steel ‘Horse of War’ sculpture as part of Tattenhall Remembers, the village’s community event marking the centennial year. Having previously been commissioned to update Tattenhall’s village sign, Andrew was delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the community once again.

IMG_1797Christened ‘George’ by local primary school pupils, the horse was unveiled to crowds by the Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, David Briggs MBE, K.St.J., on Monday 4th August. George has now taken permanent residence adjacent to the Tattenhall War Memorial.

Andrew studied on the City and Guild’s ‘015’ agricultural engineering and farm mechanisation course 1978-79, back in the days when we were known as the ‘Cheshire College of Agriculture’. Speaking fondly of his time at college, Andrew commented: “College provided me with a great set of skills and grounding in the basics of engineering, which has certainly stayed with me as I’ve progressed in my career. One thing we made as part of the course was a toolbox – and I actually still use that to this day. I also made a drawbar to put on a trailer or back of a car, I’ve still got that too – some things are truly timeless!”

With an interest in the blacksmith’s craft from a young age, Andrew spent much of his early career researching, self-teaching and essentially ‘working and learning’ simultaneously to build up his forging techniques and skills.

After working in the agricultural industry for some time after finishing college, Andrew decided it was time to dedicate his workload to his passion. He built his own blacksmith workshop and has now been running his own business at Hill View Forge for 28 years.

You can find out more about the history of Tattenhall and the Tattenhall Rememebers event by visiting the Tattenhall and district local history website.

Horse of War

A thoroughly foodie wedding

Food alumni James Yuill and  Rachel Frankish wed at Reaseheath Hall

We are delighted to announce the food department’s first wedding – James Yuill and Rachel Frankish, who tied the knot on November 1st .

James joined Reaseheath in Key Stage Four as a young apprentice and Rachel joined the food technology diploma group a couple of years later.

They both enrolled on the Foundation Degree in Food Technology with Management at Reaseheath in September 2010 and  their friendship blossomed into romance in January 2011.

James and Rachel cut their wedding cake - designed by cake decorating expert and alumnus Sam Copeland

James and Rachel cut their wedding cake – designed by cake decorating expert and alumnus Sam Copeland

weddingOn October 13th  2012,  James proposed (on bended knee) in front of family and friends at Rachel’s birthday meal. The tears flowed as much as the wine – especially when she accepted!

The whole department waited with anticipation for the wedding date. But they were just too busy studying and researching!  Their studies came to an end though and they both gained their BSc (Hons) in Food Technology with Management in September 2013. James started a new position at Carton Lodge Cheese and the couple moved to Clitheroe. Rachel has since secured a position at Farmers Fayre.

Wedding plans started with gusto and the couple booked Reaseheath Hall for their ceremony. They said they wouldn’t want to be married anywhere else. It was a gorgeous ceremony for two outstanding people who have made Reaseheath proud. The couples family, friends and Reaseheath lecturers attended and a good time was has by all! (and Sam did the cake!!)

We wish James and Rachel all the very best as they start their married life together.

Sam Copeland

Lecturer and Course Manager, Level 2 Diploma Bakery and Patisserie 

If you’re interested in cake decorating and are impressed by Sam’s cake decorating skills – take a look at our new Professional Cake Decorating course starting in February 2015.




Travel savvy sheep shearer shares tips on working abroad

Nick Greaves talks to students about his time travelling ing NZ and Australia


Agriculture alumnus Nick Greaves visited the agriculture department last week to share some great tips with our current students on travelling and working abroad.

Adam Henson talks to Nick Greaves during Countryfile filming at Reaseheath in 2013

Adam Henson talks to agriculture student Nick Greaves during Countryfile filming at Reaseheath in 2013

Nick, 20, studied on our Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture. On achieving a Distinction in 2013, he began his shearing travels in Norway and then moved on to New Zealand and travelled in Australia.

Back in the UK for a short break, Nick has most recently been working as a shepherd on a 4500 pedigree sheep farm out in New Zealand.

He returns to New Zealand to begin his latest assignment as a shearer for Woolqual, based in Hawke’s Bay.

Nick Greaves L3 Ex Dip Agriculture visits Reaseheath 1MB

Agriculture alumnus Nick Greaves during his visit back to Reaseheath College



Nick plans to spend the next few years shearing all around the world. He is keen to continue to gain knowledge of different farm enterprises before returning to the UK to take over the running of his family farm in Stafford.

It’s great to see Nick doing so well and encouraging our current students to strive for their career goals.

As our alumni community grows, we are keen to continue to highlight the successes of our former students.

If would like to come back to the College to share your  industry experience with our current students, please contact us on or +44 (0)1270 613219. 





Vehicle technicians drive careers forward

Aftersales Manager John Oakley with new recuit Cody Brookes 11th Nov 2014 3MB

 Last week, Alumni Officer Katie Burt visited two former motor vehicle students in their new work places, accompanied by Programme Leader Ryan Johnson.


Cody Brookes and Jack Salt at Reaseheath Presentation of Awards 2013. Congratulated by Peter Kendall, Emily Thrane and Principal Meredydd David as top Level 2 Motor Vehicle

Cody Brookes and Jack Salt congratulated as Level 2 motor vehicle ‘top students’ alongside Peter Kendall, Emily Thrane and Principal Meredydd at Reaseheath’s FE Presentation of Awards 2013.

The two students, Cody Brookes and Jack Salt studied Levels 2 and 3 IMI Diplomas in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair during their time at college.  Both Cody and Jack have gone straight onto prestigious training programmes within the motor industry having completed their studies this summer.

Cody is training as an apprentice technician with Crewe Audi, whilst Jack is working in a similar role, developing his skills with Robert Eardley Skoda in Crewe.

Jack mentioned: “I gained a great set of skills at college, which I’m developing even further in my new job. Support from staff and working with other students helped to give me the confidence I needed to start my career at Skoda.

Jack Salt with Robert Eardley Skoda Gen Man Brett Davies and Aftersales Manager Paul Griffiths 4MB

Jack Salt alongside Robert Eardley Skoda’s General Manager Brett Davies and Aftersales Manager Paul Griffiths

Working alongside Jack at Robert Eardley are a further three former Reaseheath students, who are all in training to become fully qualified service technicians for Skoda.

Both dealerships were impressed by Reaseheath’s drive to encourage young people to develop technical and specialist industry knowledge. Crewe Audi’s Aftersales Manager John Oakley went on to comment: “It’s fantastic to work with young people like Cody, who are confidently focused on their future careers and are keen to learn.

“I believe studying at Reaseheath gives young people the foundation they need to be successful in the industry.”


Positive comments on social media from Crewe Audi  about our students

Great comments from Crewe Audi



We love to hear about where life has taken our former students – the next steps they have taken and the successes they are experiencing.

If you have story you would like to share, please contact us on or +44 (0)1270 613 219 – it would be great to hear from you.





Fantastic success for Reaseheath at WorldSkills UK

Reaseheath florist Anna Eite is officially the most talented student florist in Britain after winning gold at the WorldSkills UK national finals this weekend.

Anna Eite competing

Anna competing

Anna took the top title in the advanced section against strong competition from the best students from colleges and training providers nationwide. The taxing competition was held over three days in front of thousands of visitors to The Skills Show in Birmingham, the country’s biggest showcase of vocational skills and careers.

Anna had to complete five tasks which included designing a floral hat, belt and chair, making up a planted container and taking part in a team project.

Anna, 21, is a Level 3 Diploma in Floristry student and has been supported and trained by Programme Leader for Floristry Sue Poole. Said Sue: “This was a fantastic result and we are all so proud of Anna. She was a wonderful representative for Reaseheath and for the floristry department.”

Richard Carden chats to lead judge Jody Lidgard

Richard chats to lead judge Jody Lidgard

Unfortunately Anna will be over the 22 years age limit for the WorldSkills final in Abu Dhabi in 2017 and will not be considered for the WorldSkills GB team for Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2015 as this squad has already been selected.

Anna will represent us at the Chelsea Flower Show 2015, however, as she was on the student team which won the RHS Tatton Park Floristry College of the Year Competition this summer. This title made us eligible for the national final at Chelsea.

Our horticulture department was also proud to support Richard Carden as he battled it out in the WorldSkills UK garden landscape finals. Although Richard, a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture student, didn’t win a medal he was one of just six students to be selected for the national finals. He met the challenge to build a 2m x 6m garden designed by award winning designer Alexandra Froggatt.

Course Manager Tracy Walker said: “Richard did a fantastic job considering the pressure he was under to perform at the very highest level.”

You find out more information about our floristry and horticulture courses on our website.

Wise shepherd achieves her farming dream

Agriculture graduate Caroline Jellicoe took the plunge and moved to Cumbria to manage her own own sheep farm having completed her degree at Reaseheath.

Caroline was inspired back to education after visiting the Nantwich campus with her children during lambing season back in 2010.

Coming from a background in zoo keeping, Caroline has worked with a range of exotic animals in her career so far, but was keen to expand her knowledge of the farming industry.

Caroline prepared for her degree by completing an Access to Higher Education Diploma at Reaseheath, where she found her passion for sheep farming.

During the second year of her degree, Caroline bought an acre of land along with six zwartbles shearling pedigree sheep and a ram called Mr Gibbs. The 27th February 2014 saw the ewes give birth to Caroline’s first flock of lambs.

Toba, Caroline's youngest and most enthusiastic farm hand

Toba, Caroline’s youngest and most enthusiastic farm hand

She commented, “It was a long road to get to the of point of having my own flock of sheep – but it was all worth it.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the support of the Farm Manager Mark Yearsley and other staff, along with the opportunity to gain experience working on the College farm during my time at Reaseheath. This all helped me on my way to achieve my dream of owning my own sheep flock.”

On looking to the future Caroline said, “I am always looking for more land. I only wanted a few sheep at first, but since I visited a friend’s farm in Yorkshire and falling in love with it, I decided I would dream BIG – I am aiming for 1,000 sheep now. In one year I have gone from no sheep to 40 and I intend to grow and grow.”

With her experience working with exotic animals, Caroline is also the proud owner of an eagle owl, barn owl, tortoise, bearded dragons and goats. As a diversification programme to her flock business, she has set up a new enterprise ‘The Three Wise Shepherds’, a programme of  educational talks with her variety of animals. She has also begun to take the animals to children’s parties for petting along with ‘meet and greet’ experiences for children and adults of all ages.

Caroline has graduated from Reaseheath in 2014 with a Distinction in her Foundation Degree and celebrated her success along with fellow classmates at our graduation ceremony at St Mary’s Church in Nantwich. In December 2014 Caroline moved to a fell farm in Cumbria, where she now manages 200 herdwick ewes plus her own zwartbles flock.

If you would like to find out more about Caroline and her growing business ‘The Three Wise Shepherds’, follow her twitter handle @sheepstudent.  

Entrepreneurial young farmer backs British farming


farmers apprenticeEntrepreneurial equine management alumnus Rebecca Kelsall has her sights set on a win in the latest series of the Farmers Apprentice. The Farmers Weekly initiative is a multi-task competition which showcases the many skills required for success in today’s agricultural industry. The winner takes away £10,000 to help launch or improve a farming business.

Rebecca Kelsall - Farmers Apprentice finalist

Rebecca Kelsall – Farmers Apprentice finalist

Rebecca, 21, commented, “It’s been such a brilliant opportunity to be a part of the series, working with like-minded aspiring farmers. It’s broadened my knowledge of the agricultural industry and I’ve met some great contacts.”

On the topic of winning she said, “I reared my first Saddleback pigs at my uncle’s farm earlier this year – winning would give me the opportunity to buy some land of my own. I’d use the land to raise other rare-breeds, for example the Oxford Sandy.

The Farmers Apprentice is an annual competition launched at Reaseheath in 2012 and continues to attract thousands of would-be farmers to the Farmers Weekly website. The winner will be announced at the close of the 6 week series, broadcast from 21st October.

Rebecca was also recently involved in the Lord Mayor’s Show, as part of the Harper Adams University team selected by the Worshipful Company of Farmers. Accompanied by seven other young farmers and a state-of-the-art John Deere combine harvester, they paraded through the streets of London and encouraged crowds to back British farming.

Rebecca is studying a BSc in Agri-business at Harper Adams University and is currently on a placement year working with Genus ABS in Nantwich.