Good luck Richard!

Talented Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture Richard Carden is representing Reaseheath in the WorldSkills UK Landscape Gardening Semi Finals at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park.

He is one of six students challenged to build a 2m x 6m garden designed by award winning designer Alexandra Froggatt.

Competition entries were the highest yet and Richard successfully completed a theory test and tie-breaker exercise to claim his place in the semi-finals. The competitors have three days to complete their gardens, with the results being announced on Friday.

The judges are Association of Professional Landscapers chairman Mark Gregory, garden designer and four times RHS gold medal winner Adam Frost, landscape firm owner Jody Lidgard and 2011 WorldSkillsUK medal winner Simon Abbott.

Winners from the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park will compete at the WorldSkills UK finals, to be held at The Skills Show, Birmingham NEC, in November. There they will fight for the national title in front of 70,000 people and will also be in the running for selection for the international WorldSkills Competition in Sao Paulo, Brazil, next year.

Reaseheath florists win RHS Tatton Park Floristry College of the Year

Reaseheath floristry students were celebrating after winning the RHS Tatton Park Floristry College of the Year Competition yesterday.

This prestigious new competition is open to UK based floristry colleges and training providers and showcases the talent of students.

Level 3 Diploma in Floristry students Anna Eite, Zoe Sillito and Wendy Anderson, supported by Programme Leader for Floristry Sue Poole, were awarded first place against strong competition from four other colleges and will go through to the final at the Chelsea Flower Show 2015.

The students created five carnival themed designs using flowers with a colour theme of red, gold, green and orange: a mask, a wall hanging, an arrangement, a wired bouquet and a planted design.

As well as winning the college competition they also won a silver gilt medal for their stand.

This has been the second great result for our floristry department this summer, as Anna and Zoe won second and third places respectively at a recent WorldSkills UK competition.

Come and see our student design and our college stand in the Floral Design Studio at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, Wednesday July 23 (members only) to Sunday July 27


Reaseheath’s Rag raises money for St Luke’s Cheshire Hospice

Caring students from Reaseheath College in Nantwich presented nearly £10,000 to St Luke’s Cheshire Hospice at their summer ball last week.

Money raised from RAG (Raising and Giving) activities was handed over to Mark Porter, St Luke’s Corporate and Community Fund Raiser, by members of Reaseheath’s Student Association. Mark said: “This is a fantastic amount of money which will help provide patient care in the local community. We are delighted that Reaseheath’s students chose us as their charity this year.”

Based in Winsford, St Luke’s Cheshire Hospice provides day care and longer term care to patients throughout Mid and South Cheshire and also supports their carers. Last year it helped over 3,000 people. The charity needs to raise £7,500 every day to keep its services free to Cheshire residents.

Reaseheath’s Student Association organised 35 fund raising events in RAG week alone, including a James Bond themed RAG Ball, a staff versus students football match, a raft race on the college lake, a tractor pull and a Three Peaks Challenge by students and staff from the construction department.

Student Association President Sam Norfolk, 20, who has just completed his Foundation Degree in Adventure Sports Management, said: “We had a fantastic team of Student Association members who worked really hard to put together activities which everyone could enjoy while raising money for a good cause. We chose St Luke’s because its services benefit the whole community and some were relevant to us, such as the bereavement counsellor for young people.”

In addition to supporting St Luke’s, Reaseheath students and staff have raised a further £4,000 for other charities this year including Macmillan Cancer Support, the Poppy Appeal, Red Nose Day and a number of animal charities.

Over the past 26 years students and staff have raised over £190,000 for local charities.


Record Year for Reaseheath College

One of the country’s most successful specialist colleges, Reaseheath College in Nantwich, Cheshire, has notched up another record year of student enrolments and achievements.

The college’s annual awards ceremony, held over two days last week, celebrated the success of  1371 Further Education students who had achieved industry recognised qualifications and skills.

Torrence Summerfield, Becky Harper, Jess Fallows, Amy Champ, James Latter L3 Ext Dip Agriculture top students

Top Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture students Torrence Summerfield, Becky Harper, Jess Fallows, Amy Champ and James Latter

The students, from across the UK and abroad, are preparing for careers in agriculture, environmental conservation, animal or equine management, agricultural engineering, motor vehicle, business, food manufacture, floristry, horticulture, forestry, construction, public services or in leisure industries such as sport and outdoor adventure.

Sharing congratulations with a capacity audience, Principal Meredydd David emphasised that 97% of Reaseheath’s students achieve their qualification and that 90% progress into employment or onto higher level courses.

A recent independent economic impact assessment had shown that Reaseheath contributed £85 million to the regional economy last year and that parents and students receive a 17% return on their investment in education – a £7 return for every pound invested.

Jack Williams, top student, Level 3 Diploma Countryside Management

Jack Williams, top student, Level 3 Diploma Countryside Management

Fantastic opportunities lay ahead for Reaseheath students as the importance of the industries they were about to enter had been recognised by the government. An agriculture and technology strategy had been launched, supported by £80million of investment.

To stay abreast with these opportunities, Reaseheath was investing £8million to develop a national centre for horticulture, environmental management and sustainability which would open in September 2015.

This year, the college had opened a new hall of residence for 150 students, a new sport fitness centre and a National Academy for Food Engineering in partnership with industry. This brought the total investment on world class facilities over eight years to £45 million. There were plans to invest a further £30 million over the next five years.

Guest speakers were Dr Pete Waterman from Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership and John Myers, Head of Employer and Delivery Services, and Jane Cowell, Director of Young People’s Funding, both from the Education Funding Agency.

Five outstanding students received special cross college awards

Twm-Tegid Brunton, a Level 3 Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture student, was chosen as the student making the best contribution to college life. An outstanding student ambassador, he had voluntarily attended over 40 college information events and had gone out of his way to support the student services team. A  member of the North West Welsh Opera Choir, he had also sung at the student ball.

Katie Gibson, who had completed Level 3 Diploma in Professional Bakery, were selected for making the best all round contribution to the college. She had made an outstanding input into RAG (Raising and Giving) activities and had added responsibilities as press officer for the student magazine.

Rachel Bowles, a Foundation Degree in Animal Management undergraduate, was singled out for personal qualities. The Student Association sustainability representative, Rachel was also chair of Reaseheath’s Conservation Society as well as helping to lead charity fundraising.

Student Association President Sam Norfolk, a Foundation Degree in Adventure Sports graduate, was recognised for contributing most to Reaseheath’s sporting activities. As captain of Reaseheath’s Men’s football team, he had played 11 competitive matches and organised additional charity matches and sporting projects.

Lucy Culwick, a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture student, was awarded the Beacon Trophy celebrating excellence. Diagnosed as having a  hole in her heart during her course, Lucy had undergone open heart surgery and had recuperated for just six weeks before returning to college. She had caught up with her studies, involved herself with college life and was now going to study for a Degree in Agriculture.


You can see the full role of honour and more photographs from the day here.


Reaseheath students pipped at the post in Barclays Money Skills final

An inspirational idea for a mobile phone app earned Reaseheath College, Nantwich, equine students second place in the national finals of a business enterprise competition.

Emily Bancroft and April Macleod, both 17, and 16 year-old Eve Baker presented their business plan before a panel of judges at the Barclays Bank Head Offices in Canary Wharf, London, last Friday (13 June). Fellow student Emma Penn, 17, also contributed to the idea but did not accompany the team to London.

Just eight entries out of over 400 were selected for the final, which was the culmination of Barclays ‘Built for Business’ competition. The challenge was one of a number of activities offered to all Reaseheath’s further education students during a week long  Barclays Money Skills programme, which helps young people to develop their money management, employability and enterprise skills..

The Level 3 Horse Management students suggested launching a mobile phone app which would notify them about timetable changes and outstanding assignments and offer an alternative communication with lecturers. Colleges, universities and schools would subscribe annually to the service, which would be available free for all students.

The team travelled to London to pitch their idea to judges including Chris Hearn, Head of Education at Barclays and Sylvia Perrins, CEO of The National Skills Academy for Financial Services, which supports the programme. They also joined other finalists at a careers workshop on CV writing and interview skills.

Reaseheath’s Level 3 equine students study business as part of their course. Explained Emily: “We decided to use what we’ve already learned to help students organise their life better. We decided a mobile app would be the best way of improving the flow of communication between students and their lecturers.”

Student Welfare Officer Carys Jones, who ran the Barclays Money Skills activities, said: “We were thrilled to have a Reaseheath team shortlisted for the final. Sadly our students were just pipped at the post, but they had a great chance to show off their entrepreneurial skills. Learning opportunities like these are completely in line with our own aim to make our students more employable and to provide them with skills for the future.”

This year 130 UK colleges have run a Barclays Money Skills ‘week’, with around 150,000 students taking part in money management, employability and enterprise themed activities. The programme is supported by over 520 Barclays’ staff volunteers, who work with the students on campus.



Reaseheath College wins at Cheshire Show

Reaseheath College’s action packed exhibition was voted Best Outside Education Stand at this week’s Cheshire Show.

The Nantwich, Cheshire, college took top honours after judges gave it full marks for the enthusiasm of its staff and students and the diversity of activities it offered visitors.

High Sheriff of Cheshire Susan Sellers chats to florists

High Sheriff of Cheshire Susan Sellers chats to florists

Top crowd puller on the stand was a Caterpillar digger which gave visitors the chance to operate the controls to move golf balls and tyres. The digger was on loan from John Bownes of Winsford.

Families also enjoyed riding the college’s mechanical horse, tried boat building with construction students and watched ferret racing. Other activities, under the banner ‘Do Something Different’, included a climbing wall, a model cow which could be milked, a  horticultural quiz, a floristry demonstration, bird box making and a bakery demonstration. Animals from the college’s zoo and a student show garden were also on display.

VIP visitors to the stand included the High Sheriff of Cheshire Susan Sellers, who said: “I have been impressed with the breadth of activities, the knowledge and enthusiasm of staff and the obvious interest they are generating among members of the public.”

2Agriculture students Rebecca Harper, Kirsty Tailor, Liberty Turner and Lydia Diamond show youngstock from Reaseheath Holsteins

Agriculture students Rebecca Harper, Kirsty Tailor, Liberty Turner and Lydia Diamond show youngstock from Reaseheath Holsteins

Reaseheath agriculture students also celebrated success in the cattle show ring by gaining awards in the calf showing and young handler classes. Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture students Rebecca Harper, Kirsty Tailor and Liberty Turner and Level 2 Diploma in Agriculture student Lydia Diamond showed heifers from the Reaseheath Holstein dairy herd.

Marketing Manager Glyn Ferriday said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for us to demonstrate the range of vocational courses we offer. We are very proud of the success of our students and coming to the Cheshire Show each year gives us a great platform to show the public what we can do.”

To see what other shows we’ll be visiting this summer visit our ‘Reaseheath on the Road’ page.


Reaseheath College’s dairy technologists celebrate first year success

Twenty four trainee dairy technologists reached a significant career milestone when they completed the first year of their Eden training programme at Reaseheath College in Nantwich, Cheshire, earlier this month.

The technologists work for leading companies in the dairy industry and attend the Eden International Dairy Academy for block release training, spending the rest of their time in their workplace. They will graduate with a globally recognised foundation degree in dairy technology on completion of their three year course. The education initiative is supported by key players in the dairy industry and is aimed at producing world-class staff. There are currently 75 trainees on the programme.

While at college, the technologists gain hands-on practical experience in Reaseheath’s industry-standard, food and dairy processing plant. The facilities enable the students to see food production from start to finish and also to carry out new product development.

Three of the first year cohort were in line for special honours as they celebrated completing their initial year of study.

Darius Barkunas, who works for Arla Foods, was selected as the Best Practical Student. The 27 year-old began working for Arla in Settle, Yorkshire, six years ago as an agency worker and has progressed to becoming a process technician. He was selected for his practical skills and for his ability to explain his practical knowledge to others.

He said: “Being offered a place on the Eden programme was like winning the lottery and I cannot thank my company enough for supporting me. Coming to Reaseheath is brilliant. The lecturers are totally dedicated to their job and the facilities are wonderful.”

Mike Reid, 29, a Dairy Crest employee, received the Best Academic Student award. for consistently achieving outstanding exam and assignment results and for his exceptional attention to detail. Mike has worked for Dairy Crest in Gloucester for 11 years and has immersed himself in the academic content of his course despite having done no serious studying since his ‘A’ levels in 2002.

He said: “Coming to college after such a long break was a big cultural challenge but everyone at Reaseheath has been extremely friendly and helpful. I am delighted that my company has chosen to support me through this qualification.”

Shaun McKenzie, 18, from Muller Dairy was voted the Dairy Culture Student of the Year after receiving the student vote for the way he supports his colleagues. The former apprentice is now a permanent staff member at Muller’s Market Drayton base and is mentored by Eden graduate Mitchell Tullett.

Presenting the awards, Adam Brazendale, Business Development Manager for the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink said: “Eden students are at the forefront of an exciting future for the UK dairy industry. This is a unique training programme aimed at supporting and developing skills within the dairy processing industry.

“The Eden programme is an excellent qualification and we are proud to have Reaseheath as our Dairy Champion for Food and Drink.”

Read more about the Eden programme here.




Reaseheath construction students build on skills for competition

Three Reaseheath College, Nantwich, construction students proved they have outstanding skills by impressing judges at an Olympic style competition to find the nation’s most talented young tradespeople.

Advanced carpentry apprentice Matt Williams, 18, won the senior carpentry and joinery section in the north west regional round of Skillbuild and qualified for the national final in September. Winners from there may go on to represented Britain in WorldSkills International, a global event which in 2015 will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Advanced bricklayer Dave Ford came third in the senior bricklaying section and remains in contention for the final while advanced bricklaying apprentice Leonard Thomas impressed the judges but missed out on a place in the same section.

The regional round, held in Burnley, was for college trainees aged 21 and under and attracted entries from colleges from throughout the north west. The contestants had to interpret a drawn plan and demonstrate a range of skills on different challenges over a five hour period.

Matt, who attends Reaseheath on day release, is a site joiner for Ewson Contractors of Malpas and lives in Whitchurch.

He said: “A lot of good joiners took part in the competition and I was really surprised to win. I just tried to remember all the tips that my tutors had taught me.”

Dave Ford, 19, of Northwich is currently a full-time construction student at Reaseheath while Leonard, 19 is a bricklayer for Farmer and Tapley Ltd of Market Drayton and lives in Childs Ercall.

Construction Instructor Danny Collins, who has organised Reaseheath’s Skillbuild teams for the past seven years, said: “The students represented Reaseheath extremely well and the whole department is very proud of their achievements.

“The competition was very stiff but they all gave a very good account of themselves and gained valuable experience at the same time. We were delighted that the outstanding quality of their work was recognised by the judging panel.”

Find out more about Construction courses at Reaseheath here.


International recognition for Reaseheath College’s Food Centre

Reaseheath College’s Food Centre has become the first and only educational institution in Britain to achieve an internationally recognised British Retail Consortium (BRC) certification.

The £7million Food Centre, which is on the Nantwich, Cheshire, college’s campus, has been awarded a Grade A BRC, the highest possible quality mark within the food industry’s global standard for food safety.

The unique certification was approved after a robust two day audit showed that the department’s food manufacturing systems were operating under highly controlled conditions and to the highest industry standards. Areas inspected included hygiene procedures, cleanliness of the facility, food safety controls, quality systems and the traceability of food ingredients.

The accolade is particularly prestigious as many food businesses strive, but never achieve, the elusive BRC standard at Grade A. The successful bid was led by Reaseheath Technical Manager Katharina Vogt.

Food Centre Head Toni-Anne Harrison said: “This was a tremendous achievement, gained through hard work and dedication and by an understanding of how these procedures and practices underpin everything that we do in the Food Centre.

“I am extremely proud to head up such a fantastic team, where individuals from both the commercial and educational worlds work so tirelessly together to move the department forwards.

Our students are now fully immersed in industry standards and practices, and understand the value that is placed on ensuring these standards are both maintained and continuously moved forwards.

“This certification will lead to increased exposure to  blue chip companies, many of which are already clients and partners, and this will create enormous opportunities for our students. It will also further strengthen Reaseheath College’s reputation for being at the forefront of teaching and learning within the food sector.”

Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David added : “This has been a tremendous achievement, as only the very best companies achieve BRC Grade A status. This certification proves that our Food Centre has a deep understanding of the industry it serves. It will bring the department tremendous credence and will heighten our standing within the food industry.”

Reaseheath’s Food Centre was opened in 2011 and is one of the best equipped food processing teaching and practical facilities in Europe.

Built to the exacting standards required by industry and staffed by a team of specialist food technologists, the facilities include dairy processing halls and production areas for butchery, bakery and confectionery. Many local, national and international food and drink manufacturers use the bespoke food halls for new product development or staff training.

For further details see or contact (training enquiries) Julie Bent E: or (commercial enquiries) Katherine Tunnicliffe E:

Reaseheath students go orange for orangutans

Reaseheath College animal management students went orange to help save one of the world’s most endangered apes.

The students dressed in orange and asked others to do the same during fund raising activities for the ‘Go Orange for Orangutans’ campaign. Their efforts raised over £300 for the campaign, which was run by Chester Zoo as part of its “Act for Wildlife” initiative to raise money for conservation projects worldwide.

Two groups of students took part. Seventeen Level 2 Diploma in Animal Care ‘Group B’ students raised £227 after being sponsored by family and friends to dress up in orange while members of Reaseheath’s Conservation Society raised £76 by holding a social event in the student bar. This included the free services of DJ Sam Walton, courtesy of Moo Media UK. As well as raising funds, the students  also took the opportunity to talk about the plight faced by orangutans due to habitat loss.

The Level 2 Diploma students presented their cheque to Penny Rudd, Chester Zoo’s Registrar and Internships Co-ordinator, when she visited the campus last week. The Conservation Society members handed over their donation during a recent trip to the zoo.

Level 2 animal care group b students l-r Penny Rudd Chester Zoo students ashleigh goldstraw and robbie kelly

Chester Zoo’s Penny Rudd receives the donation from Level 2 Diploma in Animal Care students Ashleigh Goldstraw and Robbie Kelly.

Chester Zoo’s appeal has raised over £13,000 to be used to provide specialist camera traps in Borneo, the last stronghold of the wild orangutan.

Penny Rudd, who is a former Reaseheath governor and has strong links with the animal management department, said: “It has been wonderful to meet students who are so keen to become involved in a real conservation project.

“Orangutans face a very uncertain future owing to habitat destruction, mainly caused by the widescale production of unsustainably farmed palm oil. Along with Reaseheath, Chester Zoo aims to actively encourage and educate young people who will have the power to influence the future. In this case we need to encourage shoppers to buy only the products which contain responsibly sourced palm oil (look for the RSPO signs on packaging!) This could have a major impact in saving what little habitat is left for the orangutans.”

Level 2 Diploma in Animal Care Course Manager Holly Berry said: “Our students were particularly keen to help as they had learned about the plight of wild orang-utans during their lectures. Both the students and I were very proud to have raised money for such a worthy cause”

For further details see and for more details about Reaseheath’s animal management courses see