Two landscapers flew the flag for Reaseheath at the national finals of WorldSkills UK, held at The Skills Show, NEC Birmingham, last week.

Although Level 3 Diploma in Horticulture students Tom Cartledge and Kelvin White just missed out on medals, they were both congratulated on their high level of technical skills and Kelvin was one of four contestants to qualify for Squad UK training. Squad members benefit from training in technical and life skills from top experts in the industry and may get the chance to represent the UK at international level.

The competition, watched by thousands of visitors, was run in partnership with the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) – an accrediting body for the best in domestic landscaping – and supported by leading companies.

The contestants had 16 hours to build individual gardens from scratch. This included block paving, decking, fencing and planting and took into account site health and safety and the overall appearance of the garden. The contestants were marked to exacting standards on the quality of their work, attention to detail and time management.

Reaseheath’s students were supported by Level 3 Diploma Course Manager Steve Williams, himself a former WorldSkills UK national finalist, who provided targeted training during the competition series. Steve has been recognised this year as a WorldSkills UK ‘Local Hero’ for his support for the competition series and ethos.

He said: “I was delighted that both students qualified for the finals. It was a fantastic experience for them and one which will hopefully lead to even more success in the future. Both worked really hard throughout and enjoyed the experience.  They were also fantastic ambassadors for Reaseheath.”

Kelvin has graduated and is currently working in Florida, where his father is a landscaper. Tom is now a grounds maintenance operative for Ansa Environmental Services, part of Cheshire East Council.

WorldSkills UK feeds into the Olympic-styled global WorldsSkills final, held every two years to showcase the world’s top young talent in vocational industries. WorldSkills 2017 was held in Abu Dhabi, in 2019 it will be held in Russia.

APL National Business Manager and Judge Phil Tremayne explained: “WorldSkillsUK Landscaping is a collaborative competition supported by industry, colleges and training providers. Our aim is to increase the level of talent and skills entering the industry. We are delighted that the standard continues to rise and that Reaseheath continues to be such a major player.”

Almost 500 young apprentices, from 55 disciplines took part in the national finals at The Skills Show. Neil Bentley, CEO of WorldSkills UK, said: “This has been a wonderful showcase for UK skills. The competition has been fierce and the standards very high – all the finalists did brilliantly well just to get this far. All their hard work and dedication has been rewarded and we at WorldSkills UK salute you.”

  • Last year Reaseheath student Aaron Byrne, won bronze in the Worldskills UK national landscaping finals while former student Matt Beesley brought home a silver medal for landscaping from the 2015 WorldSkills final in Brazil
  • Steve Williams won a silver medal at the WorldSkills UK national finals while a Reaseheath student and went on to receive a travel bursary which he used to travel the gardens of Japan and to visit the WorldSkills 2007 finals which were being held there
  • Companies which support WorldSkills UK include Makita, Marshalls, Green-tech Ltd and J A Jones and Sons