• Successful WorldSkills UK competitor Aaron Byrne is presented with his trophy by Mark Seddon and Phil Tremayne

A Reaseheath landscaper has received an industry award for his success in a national competition.

Aaron Byrne, 17, a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture student, won bronze in the WorldSkills UK landscaping finals, held in front of thousands of spectators at The Skills Show, Birmingham, last month.

The demanding three day competition, run by the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL), aims to identify and nurture potential team members for WorldSkills, an Olympic-style global final which showcases the world’s top young talent in vocational industries.

Aaron and six other young landscapers had to demonstrate exacting technical skills in block paving, decking construction and plant placement. Some finalists will join a long listed talent squad who will be prepared for selection for WorldSkills 2019, to be held in Russia.

Yesterday, to mark his success, Aaron was presented with a sandstone trophy made for him by Marshalls, the UK’s leading hard landscaping manufacturer. A strong supporter of young talent within its industry, Marshalls donates the materials for the WorldSkills UK competition and also works with Reaseheath through its Educational Partnership.

Thanks to this education initiative, Reaseheath landscaping students benefit from skills workshops by professionals, and are linked with members of Marshalls Register of Accredited Landscape Contractors and Driveway Installers so they can gain top class work experience in the industry.

The trophy was presented to Aaron by Mark Seddon, Regional Assessor for the Marshalls Register, and by Phil Tremayne, National Business Manager for the APL.

Said Mark: “Marshalls is delighted to be supporting the young and talented landscapers who are entering our industry. I’d like to congratulate Aaron and all the other finalists for their success in such a highly competitive competition.”

Phil commented: “As the WorldSkills UK organising partner for landscape, we are indebted to Marshalls and to our other sponsors, Makita (power tools) and J A Jones (plants), who make it possible for us to run this high profile competition to industry standards.

“The APL is dedicated to delivering landscaping excellence throughout the UK and this includes helping to meet the increasing demand for trained professionals within the industry.”

Aaron, a former Weaverham High School pupil, said: “The WorldSkills UK finals was a great experience. Achieving at such a high level has given me a lot of confidence and I’m looking forward to seeing where it could take me.”

Hopefully he will follow in the footsteps of former Level 3 student Matt Beesley, who was a member of the Team UK WorldSkills squad in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2015 and successfully brought home a silver medal – Britain’s first ever medal in garden landscaping.

Another ex-horticulture student, Richard Carden has become a WorldSkills UK Champion after successfully competing in the national finals in 2014. He joins a growing network of inspiring young professionals who are now working in the industry.

  • Reaseheath College offers degrees and diplomas in all aspects of horticulture. Our fantastic facilities include a dedicated landscaping area and a new commercial production unit. See reaseheath.ac.uk/horticulture and www.reaseheath.ac.uk/higher-education
  • The Association of Professional Landscapers, is the ‘go to’ organisation for domestic landscaping in the UK. Its members are quality landscape companies who design, build and maintain gardens. They are annually inspected and accredited through Trustmark, a goverment endorsed standard that promotes professional trades to consumers. See landscaper.org.uk
  • Marshalls plc is a manufacturer of natural stone and concrete hard landscaping products, supplying the construction, home improvement and landscape markets. See marshalls.co.uk
  • WorldSkills UK Competitions inspire apprentices and young people to aim for excellence in their vocational skills. This produces young professionals who help businesses to raise the country’s productivity. See worldskillsuk.org