Arley Hall opens its doors to the public

Arley Hall, the grand Victorian Jacobian Hall owned by Lord and Lady Askbrook, situated in rural Cheshire opens its doors to the public for its Christmas Floral Extravanganza from the 30th November till the 6th December.

Floristry students prepare for arley hall

Level 3 Floristry students at Reaseheath have been given the opportunity to decorate ‘The Gallery’ as part of the event. The huge room with sky high windows, an enormous marble fireplace and wooden cladding will feature a 15ft Christmas Tree and an abundance of arrangements designed and put together by Level 3 students.

Students have been preparing their designs, collecting together sundries and accessories, visiting wholesalers and ordering flowers ready to decorate ‘The Gallery’ on Thursday 28th November.

Today we have been conditioning flowers, collecting foliage from the Reaseheath grounds and putting together the bases for the arrangement, ready for all our equipment to be transported to Arley Hall tomorrow, where students will work solidly for two days decorating in time for the Arley Hall opening on Saturday.

The other rooms within Arley Hall are to be decorated by florists at the forefront of the floristry industry within Cheshire, and Reaseheath students are privileged to have been given the chance to take part in such a fantastic event at one of England’s historic houses and gardens of distinction.

Reaseheath College to build cutting edge Food Futures Centre

Reaseheath College has announced plans to add to its world class facilities by building an £8million industry-led Food Futures Centre.

The project will enable the Cheshire based college to support the government’s agri-tech strategy, which is designed to increase the competitiveness of the agriculture and food production industry and enable it to meet the challenge of world population growth and climate change.

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills, through the Skills Funding Agency, has allocated nearly £6m of capital grant for the project.

The building will provide a national centre for horticultural production, environmental management and conservation and renewable energy, and will be the leading one of its type in the country. It will include a visitor and interpretation centre and a schools unit.

In a second project, the college, in partnership with Cheshire East Council, is to develop a state-of-the-art centre for students with learning difficulties and disabilities. This £1.5m project, funded by the Education Funding Agency, will develop desperately needed specialist facilities for students from the Cheshire East area. Part of its remit is to help students achieve independent living skills.

Both developments are planned to be sited on a part of the college golf course which will close to the public next March. The buildings have been designed with considerable input from professional industry advisors. It is hoped that the planning applications will be submitted before the end of the year and that both buildings will be open for students and the public by September 2015.

The college also intends to use the opportunity to reconstruct its existing turf based sports pitches and build new 3G and multi-use artificial sports areas. A new sports centre for use by community and students will also be built. Significantly enhancing the sporting facilities and resources available to local people, the sports centre will cater for grass based team sports and sports requiring an artificial playing surface such as hockey, as well as a six court sports hall, team changing facilities and a fitness centre.

Space released by the relocation of the horticulture department has been earmarked for a further halls of residence on campus. Work on the design for these halls will begin shortly, with construction planned to start in summer 2014.

Announcing the approval of capital funding last week, Principal Meredydd David said that it had opened a huge and exciting opportunity for Reaseheath to be involved in the development of another world class educational facility.

He said: “I am thrilled that the government has identified Reaseheath as their preferred location for investing capital to develop this national Food Futures Centre. This will ensure that Reaseheath can continue to deliver specialist technical and educational training to next generation leaders.

“As a leading college, we are under constant pressure to invest into our facilities, but we also face campus restrictions. Following considerable discussion with master planners and local authority planning officers, it has become apparent that the only viable location for the new projects are on our golf course.

“The course is now used very little for training students and, regretfully, there is no other option than to close it. Reaseheath is continuing to work with the golf club to mitigate the impact of the closure, as far as is possible.”

Apprentice helps to grow dog grooming business

A Cheshire dog grooming parlour is successfully using the government’s apprenticeship programme to develop its workforce.

Angela Mayers, owner  of The Groom Room in Saltney, has seen her  well established business thrive since employing 19 year-old  Bethan Roberts.  Bethan , a former Level 3 Diploma in Animal Management student at  Reaseheath College, Nantwich, joined The Groom Room for work experience and so impressed Angela that she was offered a permanent position.

The young animal lover, who has always wanted to work with dogs, now has a paid job grooming, bathing and drying canine clients.  As an advanced apprentice, she is continuing to gain specific dog grooming qualifications at her workplace and is regularly visited by work based assessors from Reaseheath.  She had been introduced to dog grooming previously during her college course.

Angela Mayers has been part of the thriving business community in Saltney for seven years. The Groom Room offers an individual service for all breeds of dog and clients travel in from as far as Cumbria to take advantage of specialised processes such as hand stripping.

Said Angela: “The training Bethan received from Reaseheath College was excellent but, by taking advantage of the apprenticeship programme, I’ve been able to offer her the opportunity to gain more qualifications and practical experience.

“The apprenticeship programme is a great scheme and has made a real difference to my business as well as to Bethan’s future career.  It’s developed to guidelines so the training is nationally recognised and well supported by workbased assessors.  I ‘d  urge all businesses to take advantage of it.”

“Bethan lives near Ellesmere Port and is a former pupil at the Catholic High School, Chester. She said: “This is a dream job for me because I’m earning a wage and doing something which I enjoy.”

For further details about the The Groom Room visit their website

For further details about apprenticeship opportunities at Reaseheath College visit the apprenticeships section on our website. 

Reaseheath students pay tribute to Britain’s war veterans

Representatives from the Reaseheath College’s Students Association were among those to join representatives from the Royal British Legion at Crewe Station on Monday for a special platform service to mark Remembrance Day. The service was marked by the arrival of a sign written Virgin pendolino train which will bear the insignia of a poppy on its cab for the next year.

students join Remembrance Day service at Crewe station

Students from the Nantwich college had spent the previous week helping to raise funds for the Poppy appeal in the station alongside ex servicemen. The Crewe campaign raised more than £4,000.

Stuart Kay, Chairman of the Crewe branch of the Royal British Legion said: “Reaseheath students behaved in a very professional manner and helped us considerably in our fund raising efforts. These young people appreciate that many servicemen and women are the same age as themselves and are involved in current conflicts throughout the world.”

Virgin Hero Royal British Legion Standard BearerStudents and staff also turned out in force at a college service to commemorate Remembrance Day. Hundreds gathered around the flagpole to hear an address by Principal Meredydd David and observed two minutes’ silence at 11am on Monday.



Reaseheath funding bid will help farming businesses

Reaseheath College, Nantwich, agricultural advisors are to help 50 farmers with challenged areas of their businesses following a successful bid for funding from The Prince’s Countryside Fund.

The project, which will run for 18 months, will help the businesses become more profitable and sustainable over the long term. Specialists from Reaseheath’s Agricultural Development Academy (RADA) aim to encourage efficient farm practices by providing a range of specific technical help, advice and planning.

The £48,250 funding will be spent on accessing farmers in most need and providing them with expert input, as well as managing the project from Reaseheath.  A steering group who share an interest in assisting farm businesses will be working in close partnership with the Cheshire Agricultural Chaplaincy.

The Prince’s Countryside Fund was set up by Prince Charles to tackle key issues which negatively impact on rural Britain and to secure a sustainable future for British agriculture and the rural economy. Since its launch in 2010 the fund has handed out £3.3million to projects nationwide. Reaseheath’s bid was one of just 16 selected out of the latest 290 applications.

The project is to be managed by Lesley Innes, RADA Knowledge Transfer Facilitator, who successfully handled Reaseheath’s RDPE Livestock Northwest Cheshire programme over the past four years.

RADA Manager George Fisher said: We are delighted to receive this funding.  The project will open up new doors for us to work with farmers that do not usually interact with Reaseheath and the knowledge transfer work that we do.  Most importantly, it will enable us to help farmers that are in urgent need of support and business improvement.”

For further details contact:  Lesley Innes 01270 625131  

Floral designs for Arley Halls Christmas Extravaganza

By Reaseheath Level 3 Floristry students

We have been asked to decorate The Gallery at Arley Hall for their Christmas Extravaganza, which is taking place between Saturday 30th November to Friday 6th December.

Floristry students arley HallTo help us to decide what displays we would include in the Christmas Extravaganza we visited Arley Hall today and undertook an assessment.  We began by asking a member of staff multiple questions to help us to get an idea of what we could and couldn’t do, as well as find out key information such as budget, dates and room layout.

We then split into four groups and allocated each group a different section of the room. Firstly, the front section then the middle section and fire place, then the far end of the room and finally the Christmas tree. In our groups we analysed our own sections recording information such as size and space. With this information we can plan our designs effectively and make sure our final products are in proportion to The Gallery.

Once we were finished in The Gallery we took a brief walk into the gardens to look at their varied chose of foliage. This is to be included as a representation of the grounds and the hall.

We are now busy planning our designs and flowers to construct on Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th November.

Reaseheath gets top marks for promoting pet care

Reaseheath College has won a national accolade for activities promoting responsible pet ownership during National Pet Month.

The Nantwich, Cheshire, college took the National Pet Month award for the best event in the educational category and was runner up for the best event overall. The activities, organised by Reaseheath’s animal management department, included a sponsored dog walk, rabbit enrichment workshops and educational displays. As well as informing the public and encouraging them to care for their pets, the events raised money for animal charities.

Animal Management Instructor and lead organiser Emma Hunt ran a ‘Go Walkies for Guide Dogs’ in Reaseheath’s grounds and farmland which raised £345 towards the training of guide dogs to support blind and partially sighted people. Each canine entrant enjoyed a tail wagging walk before receiving a doggy bag containing a commemorative dog tag and certificate. At the same time, pet owners were offered a micro chipping service by a qualified professional.

Reaseheath’s zoo was also open to the public, with Emma taking the opportunity to run rabbit enrichment workshops encouraging families to make toys for their pets from cardboard boxes and tubes. The activities raised £82 for the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund.

Other colleagues organised educational displays about responsible pet ownership, particularly the drawbacks of keeping exotic animals, demonstrated how to make garden bird feeders and gave talks on pet care.

Handing over a certificate and educational book on dog breeds, Phil Sketchley, chair of the Trustees of National Pet Month, said: “We liked the balance between fun and education in Reaseheath’s events. They helped promote responsible pet ownership while fitting in with our 2013 theme of ‘companionship’. We cannot wait to hear about Reaseheath’s plans for next year, when National Pet Month will celebrate its 25th anniversary.”

Emma Hunt said: “We were delighted to get this award, particularly as it was the first time we have taken part in National Pet Month. It was a great opportunity to inform the public about pet care – a subject that we are all very passionate about.”


Floristry students design wedding flowers for Mere Golf and Country Club

By Reaseheath Floristry students

During the first week of October, Level 3 Floristry students were asked to put together the flowers for a wedding at the prestigious Mere Golf and Country Club in Knutsford.

The bride had ordered six table top designs, a top table arrangement, two spray bouquets, two bridesmaid posies and buttonholes. Each student was allocated a task and the flowers were prepared in class on Wednesday afternoon. The students used an assortment of large and medium Rosa, purple Eustoma, Cymbidium orchid, Anthuriums and Cala lilies with Monstera and tropical foliage. The designs constructed on Wednesday were then stored in the cool room ready for the wedding on Friday afternoon.

Floristry students mere wedding flowers

On Friday morning a group of students came into college to make the final touches to the flowers, construct the buttonholes and package the bouquets. Everyone piled into the minibus with the flowers and drove to Mere to deliver the flowers. At the hotel the table top arrangements were set up first, sitting them on top of tall vases, then the cake was decorated with individual flowers.

The students were all really impressed with how their work looked in the grand dining room which they decorated. The fantastic result was down to their hard work and excellent team work.

Skills leader gets training overview at Reaseheath College

Senior civil servant David Russell brought himself up to date with the industry ready skills offered by land based colleges during a fact finding tour of Reaseheath College last week.

Mr Russell, who is Director of ‘Closing the Gap’ within the Department for Education, chose to visit the Nantwich, Cheshire, college because of its outstanding reputation for skills development and engagement with industry.

David Russell visits Reaseheath’s dairy parlour with Vice Principal Dave Kynaston and head of Agriculture Martyn East

He toured the college’s £7.3million industry standard food centre and its commercial farm, which includes a cutting edge dairy parlour and welfare friendly commercial pig unit. During his visit, Mr Russell took the chance to join students being introduced to groundbreaking technology such as how to programme and drive tractors fitted with Global Positioning Systems (GPS), a space-based satellite navigation system.

He also toured the college’s new agricultural engineering academy and motor vehicle workshops and inspected  a state- of- the- art food engineering centre which has just been completed. The £3.6m project, developed in partnership with the National Skills Academy for Food, uniquely combines training in engineering, food manufacturing and farming and is aimed at engineers who service and maintain large scale milk processing plants in factories across the country.

David Russell joins agriculture students looking at screen images of pregnancy testing in cattle

Reaseheath is attracting a growing number of national and regional clients who are benefitting their businesses through tailormade training for their staff. They are also employing graduates because they have the specific qualifications and practical skills they require. The growth has been particularly significant in the farming and food production industries, and in engineering, motor vehicle and land management.

Mr Russell said:  “My visit was truly inspiring.  I was impressed with everything I saw : the industry-standard facilities, the engagement of the students, the enthusiasm of the staff and the vision and energy of Reaseheath’s  Principal and team.

“Above all, it was extremely encouraging and inspiring to see a college which is delivering the Government’s vision for the sector. Reaseheath is  not only responsive to the needs of industry but is totally in partnership at all levels, from course design through teaching partnerships to the layout of facilities.

“It shows what can be done by an institution focussed on excellence and completely orientated towards successful employment outcomes and the skills needs of industry.  And as if that wasn’t enough, I got to drive a tractor too……”

Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David commented: “We were delighted to accommodate David Russell and took the opportunity to show him how we prepare our students for successful careers in industry and the exciting prospects awaiting  them.”

Can horses teach us a better way of doing things?

Our Entry and Foundation Department is successfully using natural horsemanship methods to help both learners and staff.

Taking elements from techniques used by Monty Roberts, Kelly Marks and other practitioners who specialise in non-verbal cues and body language, the department has developed an equine assisted learning programme in which horses have become the teachers.

Around 30 staff and over 100 students have already benefited from workshops which involve team work with an equine partner.

The initiative is being led by Foundation Instructor Lisa Brewitt, who was awarded the Innovation Award in Reaseheath’s Awards of Excellence 2012 for her work on the innovative teaching techniques. Very few UK centres offer this type of training.

The programme was initially aimed at Pre-Entry to Level 1 students with learning difficulties, particularly those with autism and anxiety behaviour. It can develop self confidence, self esteem, communication, problem solving and team work.

The workshops have been so successful that they have been taken up by students from visiting specialist schools. Lisa has also run seven staff workshops, which cover  scientific and theoretical aspects as well as practical activities. These have underlined the importance of non verbal communication and how this can promote more effective classroom management.

As well as the Foundation team, colleagues from our student welfare and train to gain teams have used the workshops for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). A growing list of external professionals from specialist schools, colleges and secure units have also attended at full cost.

The equine trainers are ponies from our animal management department and equestrian centre and Lisa’s own retrained ex-racehorse. Our animal management department uses elements of the programme.

Lisa says: “Lots of our learners have difficulty with social interaction and in understanding eye and body language. Team work with an equine partner shows you how you can get over obstacles in life such as these.”

Workshops are offered mainly during college holidays. Demand is high, particularly for staff team building and problem solving.  If you want to know more, email