Entrepreneurial young farmer backs British farming


farmers apprenticeEntrepreneurial equine management alumnus Rebecca Kelsall has her sights set on a win in the latest series of the Farmers Apprentice. The Farmers Weekly initiative is a multi-task competition which showcases the many skills required for success in today’s agricultural industry. The winner takes away £10,000 to help launch or improve a farming business.

Rebecca Kelsall - Farmers Apprentice finalist

Rebecca Kelsall – Farmers Apprentice finalist

Rebecca, 21, commented, “It’s been such a brilliant opportunity to be a part of the series, working with like-minded aspiring farmers. It’s broadened my knowledge of the agricultural industry and I’ve met some great contacts.”

On the topic of winning she said, “I reared my first Saddleback pigs at my uncle’s farm earlier this year – winning would give me the opportunity to buy some land of my own. I’d use the land to raise other rare-breeds, for example the Oxford Sandy.

The Farmers Apprentice is an annual competition launched at Reaseheath in 2012 and continues to attract thousands of would-be farmers to the Farmers Weekly website. The winner will be announced at the close of the 6 week series, broadcast from 21st October.

Rebecca was also recently involved in the Lord Mayor’s Show, as part of the Harper Adams University team selected by the Worshipful Company of Farmers. Accompanied by seven other young farmers and a state-of-the-art John Deere combine harvester, they paraded through the streets of London and encouraged crowds to back British farming.

Rebecca is studying a BSc in Agri-business at Harper Adams University and is currently on a placement year working with Genus ABS in Nantwich.

Reaseheath graduation opens doors to careers success

Graduates from Reaseheath College received degrees designed to boost their careers at a ceremony in the centre of Nantwich.

Dressed in gowns and mortar boards, almost 150 graduates spilled out of St Mary’s Church to celebrate with Britain’s best known Paralympic athlete Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson OBE, who was guest speaker.

The ceremony marked the achievement of students who had completed degrees in agricultural science, equine science, food technology, garden and landscape design, engineering, countryside management, adventure sports management and rural events management, all delivered in partnership with Harper Adams University.

Animal management and science students on degree programmes validated by the University of Chester (UoM) graduated alongside other UoM students at Chester Catherdral  in November.

Describing the Nantwich ceremony as one of the highlight of the academic year, Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David emphasised that the graduates would see a massive return on their financial and emotional investment. An independent analysis had shown that £40,000 spent on course fees and living expenses would secure an additional £250,000 over the span of a career. Nearly 90% of Reaseheath graduates who completed degrees last year were in related employment within six months of completing their course on an average starting salary of £21,000.

Degrees gained at Reaseheath College were specialist, technical qualifications which enabled students to gain both knowledge and the necessary skills and competencies to carve out a successful career.

In such a competitive jobs market it was important that higher education (HE) programmes were delivered and validated by high quality, well respected institutions. Reaseheath’s own HE programmes had recently been inspected by the Quality Assurance Agency and had received fantastic report, equivalent to an ‘Outstanding’ from Ofsted.

Reaseheath continued to invest in specialist facilities and resources which would give students the competitive edge in the jobs market. Over £40 million had been spent on facilities which were recognised as among the best in the country. A further £10 million would be invested this year into a national centre for Food Futures and Environmental Management and this would be followed by a £13 million spend on a 200 room residential building and an extension to the Higher Education Centre, both to be completed for September 2016.

Reaseheath currently had 700 students enrolled on degree courses. A significant number were mature students or were studying while working with the support of their employers. One of its most successful programmes was the Eden Project, which offers dairy technologists the chance to gain a globally recognised Foundation Degree in Dairy Technology. The qualification had been developed in close partnership with industry and was aimed at meeting demand for future managers.

Although academic progress was important, Meredydd pointed out that many graduates had helped to organise social events and charity fund raising, which last year contributed £12,000 to worthy charities.

Congratulating the graduates, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who studied politics and now has a seat in the House of Lords, said that education was vital and led to wider choices. Her key advice was to try something new and not be put off by failure. Although she had been dedicated to wheelchair racing from the age of 12 she did not win for four years and this had taught her how to train and be committed.

To find out more about our degree programmes please visit the Higher Education pages on our website.

For more photos from the day visit our Facebook page.


Farm lead sets sights on new Forest Schools initiative

Pig and GeeseSteve Waterworth, the Reaseheath College Countryside department’s  student of year 2013 is putting his Diploma in Countryside Management to good use as the Farm Lead at Ladybridge High School, Bolton.

Ladybridge High is a part of a growing number of schools across UK offering outdoor educational opportunities, through running their own farm.  Steve manages the farmlands and cares for the range of animals onsite including; donkeys, pigs, goats, rabbits, ducks and hens. The farm is currently primarily utilised by visiting primary school groups, used to create an interactive learning environment to contextualise the teaching of ‘life cycles’ in plants and animals.

Aside caring for the farm’s animals, the role of Farm Lead requires Steve to maintain the woodlands and meadows surrounding the school grounds. Steve’s current restoration project involves revitalising the pond area at Ladybridge, which has suffered from some considerable neglect in recent times.  He will then be moving on to redevelop the woodlands and meadow lands, creating a nature trail with a den building and mini beast hunting areas.

Steve Waterworth at work at Ladybridge High School

Steve Waterworth at work at Ladybridge High School

Steve achieved an overall Distinction in his Level 3 Diploma in Countryside Management from Reaseheath,  returning to education after a break of nearly 30 years. Steve commented; “taking that leap back into education is the best decision I’ve ever made.  After 16 years in the motor trade and previous jobs as a printer and furniture maker, I’ve finally found my calling in conservation and countryside restoration.

“My time at Reaseheath has been an important part of my life and will always be grateful for the help and advice from my tutors, which as a result I have the job I wanted and enjoy”.

Moving forward, Steve has ambitious plans to establish a ‘Forest School’ at Ladybridge. The Forest Schools initiative is a national educational movement  that takes an active and immersive approach to learning in the outdoors. Steve mentioned: “ the farm and revitalised woodlands will be perfect to facilitate Forest School sessions. I’m excited to get this project off the ground and help forge more opportunities for young people to engage with the farm and their beautiful natural surroundings.”


Talented blacksmith helps Tattenhall remember WW1

War horse reduced MB and brighter

Last week, Alumni Officer Katie visited the workshop of talented Tattenhall blacksmith, Andrew Brian Smith.

Andrew gave Katie an insight into the life of a blacksmith and chatted about his latest commission for the Village of Tattenhall – their very own ‘Horse of War‘. Christened ‘George’ by local primary school pupils, the horse was created by Andrew to help Tattenhall mark the centenary year of the beginning of the First World War.

Andrew studied agricultural engineering at Reaseheath in 1978, back in the days when we were known as the ‘Cheshire College of Agriculture’.

You can check out George and some more of Andrew’s handy work pictured below, we think they are all brilliant!!





A floral thank you for former food student

Lovely to welcome food technology alumnus Lorraine Evans back to the campus this morning. She came to collect her photo album full of Cheshire College of Agriculture memories that she kindly lent to Alumni Officer Katie. 

Katie first met Lorraine (Food Technology with Dairy Specialism, 1980) and her husband Graham (Dairy Herd Management, 1980) back in May at Reaseheath’s Family Festival. The pair studied at the Cheshire College of Agriculture, 1979-80.

Keen to share their happy memories of Reaseheath, Lorraine and Graham presented Katie with the album on the day and are excited to share some of their special moments with our alumni community.

As a little thank you to Lorraine – who put the album together, our Floristry Department designed a beautiful little flower bouquet for her to take home! 

We’ll be posting a selection of Lorraine’s photographs from 1979-80 very soon – so watch this space! 

Lorraine Evans - alumnus class of 1980

Mr and Mrs Evans – What a Reaseheath Romance!

Alumni Lorraine and J Graham nuttingknittingnanna Engagement May 1980 for newsletter

Reaseheath alumnus Lorraine Evans contacted Reaseheath Alumni Association after a recent visit to our annual Live Lambing event. We were delighted to hear some fantastic news from Lorraine along with a selection of recollections from her time at the Cheshire College of Agriculture.

Lorraine Newton on her MA graduation day with husband Graham Newton,  14th March 2014.

Lorraine Evans on her MA graduation day with husband Graham Evans, 14th March 2014.

Former Reaseheath student Lorraine Evans (nee Boydell) recently celebrated her 33rd wedding anniversary to husband and fellow former student Graham Evans. Lorraine and Graham met whilst both studying at the College 1979-1980. Whist Lorraine studied for her OND in Food Technology partner Graham trained in Dairy Herd Management. Living on campus the couple’s romance blossomed and as a result were engaged to marry on the 15th May 1980. The engagement was an extra special surprise for Lorraine, as this also marked her 19th birthday!

To this day, Lorraine and Graham remain as happy as the day they met as students at Reaseheath. On the 14th March 2014 the couple celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary. The very same day saw Lorraine graduate with an MA in Education from University of Chester.

Lorraine commented: “I am very proud to have completed my Masters as it was a particularly challenging venture. Graham has wholeheartedly supported me throughout the process and, without him by my side, I would not have been able achieve this.  The fact that our wedding anniversary fell on the same day as my graduation made it an extra special celebration for both of us”.

Since leaving the College the couple have gone on to pave successful careers. Lorraine currently works in education with the Virtual School in Cheshire West and Chester and Graham is a bus driver based in Chester.


If you have a story you would like to share on our website, please contact Reaseheath’s Alumni Officer Katie  Burt.