Floristry students ‘deck the halls’ for Christmas Extravaganza

The floristry department  were delighted to be asked once again to use their floral skills to help decorate Arley Hall for their annual Christmas Floral Extravaganza.

The Floral Extravaganza, held 5th-10th December, saw Arley Hall decorated with thousands of fresh flowers by local florists, Reaseheath florists and other floristry college students.

It is the job of the team of the florists to create stunning displays to suit the grandeur of the halls interior to complete the Extravaganza. The various experts are charged with looking after one room or areas of the building and transforming it with blooms, garlands and striking decorative pieces.

Our students were tasked with decorating the gallery room. An initial site visit took place in November to allow the students to generate ideas for their displays. At this time the gallery was being used to film the ‘Peaky Blinders’ TV series, so nothing in the room was how it was going to be for the exhibition, including the colour of the walls, making the design process a little more difficult. However, with the aid of photographs and a little imagination the students rose to the challenge of working out where to place designs to achieve greatest impact.

After several weeks of planning, designing and prepping back at college, both Level  2 and Level  3 floristry groups went to Arley Hall to set up the exhibit over 2 days.

There has been some fantastic feedback  from Arley Hall and the general public. Helen Begent, Marketing Officer from Arley said: “The public reception to your room has been outstanding , visitors described the exhibit as ‘stunning’.”

It was a fantastic opportunity for students to be involved in the logistics of planning, designing and executing an actual event.

Reaseheath’s Hoofstock Society spread Christmas spirit

Members of Reaseheath’s Hoofstock Society spread Christmas spirit by making festive outfits for some of the college’s paddock animals, then taking them for a charity walk round campus.

The students, three ponies and two donkeys visited departments across the college to collect donations for two favourite charities, The Donkey Sanctuary and the Horse and Pony Protection Association (HAPPA). The team, who had also made Christmas cookies, raised a total of £84.

Keeper Kerri Robson, who launched the Hoofstock Society, said: “Our walk round college has become a tradition and this year the members have made a big effort to make it bigger and better. It’s a really nice way to spread some cheer and get the animals and students involved”.

We decided to raise money for the Donkey Sanctuary as they need to raise £600,000 for a new donkey hospital. The members also felt they would like to make a donation to HAPPA and were delighted with the generous donations they received.”


Top picture caption: Lined up for the camera: Hoofstock members Nicole Hatcher, Sarah Eastwood, Victoria Copson, Daisy Kemp, Celia Gould, Charlotte Elwood, Danielle Wharton, Ben Fitzcosta and Jess Sellwood with ponies Frankie, Cassie and Jasmine  and donkeys Percy and Bertie            

 And here’s a pic of FD ADW undergraduate Nicole Hatcher, who made this smart Christmas outfit for miniature Shetland pony ‘Frankie’

Nicole Hatcher with miniature Shetland pony ‘Frankie’

Nicole Hatcher with miniature Shetland pony ‘Frankie’

Job opportunities at Reaseheath College

We are currently advertising the following job vacancies at Reaseheath College:

  • Lecturer/Course Manager in Animal Management



Reaseheath Training seek new tutor assessors

Reaseheath Training is the work based learning arm of Reaseheath College and is seeking to appoint new Tutor Assessors to the Apprenticeship Team to tutor and assess a caseload of apprentices at levels 2 and 3 working in a variety of local businesses. There are currently opportunities on the horizon to join a dynamic team within a fast growing department with numerous prospects for self-development.

We have a full/part time positions available in the following areas of expertise:

  • Construction Bricklaying / Plastering
  • Trees and Timber

Our expectation is that the successful applicants will be highly motivated, promoting high timely success rates of apprenticeship frameworks. You will have demonstrable evidence of working in the relevant industry and have qualifications in that area at Level 3 or above.

In addition you will ideally possess GCSE Maths & English Grade C or above and have experience of MS Office Applications. You will also have Assessor Verifier and a teaching qualification or a willingness to achieve these in a specified time.

This job can be flexible and fit around other commitments. This is suitable for candidates who are passionate about training and working with young people. It provides opportunities to work with the forefront government initiatives and trends to support young people into the world of work through Apprenticeships.

In return we can offer a competitive salary of up to £25k and an attractive benefits package including generous annual leave entitlement, CARE pension scheme, employee assistance programme, on site gym, free parking and an attractive rural campus environment.

If you would be interested in finding out more then please register your interest by sending an up to date CV to and we will be in touch.


Access agreement decisions for 2016-17: universities set themselves stretching new targets

Universities and college have set themselves challenging new targets to make further and faster progress on fair access to higher education. The new targets, agreed with the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), form part of the 183 access agreements approved today, and will help meet a Government ambition to double the rate of students from disadvantaged background entering higher education.

Professor Les Ebdon, Director of Fair Access to Higher Education, said:

“The access agreements I have approved toady show that universities and colleges are setting stretching and ambitious targets to attract students from disadvantaged areas and then support them through their studies”.

“I am enormously heartened to see the significant level of ambition in this set of access agreements. By making progress towards their own fair access challenges, universities and colleges will contribute to the Government’s national fair access goals. The Prime Minister and Minister for Universities have set a goal to double the rates of students from disadvantaged backgrounds by 2020, and these agreements send a clear message that universities are ready to do the hard work to make this target a reality.

“The work and ambition univerisites and colleges have committed to today will transform lives. The outreach work universities have planned will open the door to higher education for people who might otherwise have thought it was not for them. The people that universities work with now will go on to be the doctors, business leaders and engineers of the future”.

Rachel Ellis-Jones, Dean of Higher Education at Reaseheath College, said:

“The access agreement for 2016-17 approved by OFFA shows the continued commitment by Reaseheath College to promote higher education to students from disadvantaged areas and groups. This access agreement demonstrates a renewed focus on supporting students while they are with us with an additional financial support package aimed to ensure progression and success”.

Reaseheath trained A-Plant engineer carries off top awards

Talented Reaseheath trained engineer Paige Carter has carried off the top awards in a competition aimed at finding the nation’s best construction plant apprentices.

The 18 year-old became the first female apprentice to win the prestigious title of ‘Apprentice of the Year’ at the Construction Plant-hire Association’s (CPA) Stars of  the Future Awards.  The competition finals were held at PLANTWORX, a bi-annual showcase event for the UK’s construction industry, held this year in Leicestershire.

Paige had earlier been awarded ‘Level 2 Apprentice of the Year’ at the event and went head to head with other winners to clinch the national title. Nearly 600 apprentices in the construction plant trade were eligible for the competition.

Paige Carter with trophies at Plantworx

Paige celebrates her awards at PLANTWORX

She received her awards, including a fully-equipped Snap-on tool box, from Richard Noble OBE, a World Land Speed record holder and the pioneer of the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car.

Paige is a trainee construction plant apprentice with A-Plant and is based in Stockton-on-Tees. She specialises in powered access plant such as scissor lifts and cherry pickers and aims to progress into management after gaining more workshop experience.

She has just completed her Level 2 apprenticeship at Reaseheath through block release training and will progress onto her Level 3 apprenticeship in the next academic year.

Paige, who enjoyed maths and science at school, has gone on to receive technical training in mechanical, electrical and hydraulics systems and in welding both at college and in the workplace.  She said: “I think engineering is a great career which I would really recommend to girls.”

Reaseheath Course Manager Simon Keen commented: “Paige is a very deserving winner who thoroughly deserves the recognition. We put her forward for this year’s competition because she has outstanding practical and theory skills, supported by very positive feedback from her employer. She is definitely future management material who will continue to raise the bar for all apprentices.

A-Plant’s Head of Training Bob Harper said: “We are absolutely delighted that Paige has won this national award in recognition of her ability and her total commitment to learning and her work. The Stars of the Future scheme not only rewards outstanding apprentices who will provide the future foundations of the construction plant hire industry, but also recognises those with the potential to become its leaders. We are very proud of Paige for winning the regional and national Level 2 award.”

Reaseheath Engineering is one of the UK leaders in construction plant training. We currently have 172 apprentices and this year saw a record intake of over 120 first year apprentices. We are the preferred trainer for blue chip companies including A-Plant, JCB, Clee Hill Plant, Morgan Plant Hire and J.S. Berry.

We were also successful in the CPA ‘Stars of the Future’ awards in 2013, when James Scott from A-Plant took the title of ‘Best Level 3 Construction Plant Apprentice’ and Level 2 apprentice Adam Hughes from Gunn JCB was a regional winner.

Florists’ success at WorldSkills UK

Our floristry students swept the board at the WorldSkills UK north west regional floristry qualifier, held at Myerscough College, Preston.

Fiona Davies, who is studying for her Level 5 Master Diploma in Professional Floristry, won the competition while Level 3 Diploma in Floristry students Robyn Longden and Carol Edginton took second and third place.

All three, who were commended for their outstanding work, are now waiting to hear if they  have qualified for the WorldSkills UK national floristry finals at The Skills Show in November. They are following in the footsteps of former Level 3 Diploma in Floristry student Anna Eite, who took the gold medal in the advanced section there last year.

A total of five students, accompanied by Head of Floristry Sue Poole, spent a full day of intense competition at Myerscough. Each competitor had to create three pieces of work with a ‘Party Time’ theme – a wreath, a fascinator and a hand tied bouquet on a framework.

Robyn, 18, has previously completed her Level 1 and Level 2 Diplomas with us while Carol, 45, is a career changer. Fiona is a Reaseheath floristry lecturer who is continuing to study to the highest professional level.

Our florists are now gearing up to contest the RHS Tatton Flower Show ‘College of the Year’ competition next month The team will be hoping to replicate last year’s success when we won the title and went on to become runners-up in the national final at the Chelsea Flower Show in May.

More from WorldSkills…

  • Three Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture students, India Hill, Finin Talbot and Chris Shore, will be competing in the semi finals of the WorldSkills UK  garden landscape competition at RHS Tatton Flower Show and will hopefully get through to the national finals too.
  •  We are also contesting the WorldSkills UK butchery competition for the first time. Level 2 Diploma in Butchery student Ben Powell, 17, will fly the flag for Reaseheath at the WorldSkills UK regional heat for butchery skills, to be held in Leeds on July 9th.
  •  WorldSkills is an international Olympic style competition which recognises the skills and qualities of young professionals who are following vocational education and training. The world finals are held every two years. In August former Reaseheath Level 3 Diploma in Horticulture student Matt Beesley will be part of the GB team to compete against the world’s best in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Reaseheath students grow their own success

Reaseheath College horticultural students were feeling chipper after taking part in a First Early Potato Show, held at the Nantwich college on Saturday.

Thirty Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Level 2 Diploma students demonstrated their skills at growing the world’s favourite root vegetable – and were rewarded with praise from one of the county’s top vegetable judges.

The students, who attend college one day a week, have been learning horticultural techniques such as how to successfully sow and plant vegetables and how to prepare them for exhibition. Course Manager Anne Harrison hopes that their new knowledge will encourage the students to support the fruit and vegetable shows run within their local communities.

Over 20 varieties of first early potatoes, grown on plots at the college, were on show. Best in Show went to Luise Crawford from Wincham near Northwich, who also won the Friday group section with her ‘Casablanca’ potatoes. Luise has launched a new career as a self employed gardener following redundancy.

Winner of the Monday group section was Susan De Kretser of Goostrey, Holmes Chapel, who is also following a new career as a horticulturist. Second and third places went to Racheal Nowakowski and Jane Loxley while Andrew Rose and Richard Massey were runners up in the Friday group.

•RHS students with their exhibits at Reaseheath’s First Early Potato competition

RHS students with their exhibits at Reaseheath’s First Early Potato competition

The competition was judged by Derek Jones of Malpas, a well known vegetable exhibitor, judge, horticulturist and historian. He explained: “I was looking for four potatoes which were equally matched in shape, size and colour. They had to be of good quality, of uniform shape, well prepared and typical of the variety.

“The entries showed a great deal of care and attention to detail, particularly as the growing conditions have been so difficult this season.”
Reaseheath’s First Early Potato Show was held for the first time last year and was so successful that it is likely to be an annual event.

Around 100 part-time students gain RHS qualifications at Reaseheath each year. The students include professional horticulturists, career changers and leisure gardeners. Reaseheath is an RHS training and examination centre and offers theory and practical qualifications at Levels 2 and 3.

As well as learning traditional skills, all Reaseheath’s horticulture students will be introduced to the latest technology in food production when the college opens its cutting edge national centre for Food Futures and the Environment later this year.

For further details on horticulture courses see

Ruth Elliot Smith, Cuddington, Cheshire

Apprentice Agricultural Assistant

To find out more about this vacancy and apply online visit the National Apprenticeship Service vacancy matching site.

Closing date:  21/06/15

British Wool Shearing Course

RADA Knowledge Transfer Facilitator Lesley Innes arranged a two day sheep shearing course which was delivered by British Wool Marketing Training Ltd(a growing area of Wool Board activity). The course, which was held last week on the Reasheath sheep unit saw the delegates work toward the internationally recognised qualification in Blue, Bronze, Silver or Gold Seals, which were awarded depending on their ability.

This course will now be running on an annual basis.

Contact Lesley for more information-

Picture Caption:  Left to Right British wool trainer Richard Schofield, Ollie Bagley (Reaseheath Flock Manager)-SILVER, Richard Petford-BRONZE and Callum Lewis-BLUE (external delegates), British Wool Trainer Bill Jones, Erica Bower (Subsidiary Diploma in Agriculture)-BLUE and front row Miriam Howarth (Reaseheath Farm Secretary)-BLUE and Emma Ferneyhough (Level 2 diploma in Agriculture)-BLUE