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.


Reaseheath students gear up for RHS Flower Show Tatton Park

Reaseheath College garden designers and florists are gearing up for the prestigious RHS Flower Show Tatton Park (July 23 – July 27). We have an impressive medal record for our show gardens and floral designs and our students are hoping to add to the tally with this year’s entries.


Feast 291 A Taste of Wythenshawe

The show garden team busy growing on their vegetables

The show garden team busy growing on their vegetables

A team of Foundation Degree Garden and Landscape Design students, helped by  fellow learners from all horticultural courses, are creating an edible show garden in the ‘Feast’ zone, an area which celebrates fresh produce and the joy of growing and cooking home grown food.

Sponsored by Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (WCHG), the garden incorporates innovative and creative approaches to growing edible plants including hydroponics and sculptural features. It celebrates Real Food Wythenshawe, a five year £1 million Big Lottery-funded community food campaign led by WCHG which promotes ways that people can grow their own fruit and vegetables and cook healthy, economical meals.

After the show the garden will be rebuilt in Wythenshawe Park, where it will be shared by the local community.

Said WCHG Chief Executive Nigel Wilson: “The Real Food Wythenshawe campaign supports and encourages residents to take control over what they and their families eat. It demonstrates that healthy eating is possible for everyone, regardless of age, budget, ability or time constraints.

“We are delighted to be partnering Reaseheath College with this innovative show garden and even more excited about the prospect of bringing it back home to Wythenshawe.”

The garden re-instatement at Wythenshawe will be carried out by members of the Turnaround team, who have also assisted in the show build. The Turnaround programme was developed by WCHG to offer training and potentially employment opportunities to those with criminal records. All team members have been trained by Reaseheath and have successfully gained their NPTC Level 2 horticulture award.


Inspire 149 Cheshire Gardens of Distinction

Reaseheath RHS students are helping to build a carnival themed show feature for the Cheshire Gardens of Distinction, which this year celebrates its 10th birthday. The group will be represented by eight leading visitor attractions: Arley Hall and Gardens,  Adlington Hall and Gardens, Cholmondeley Castle and Gardens, Fryers Roses of Knutsford, Biddulph Grange, Norton Priory, Bluebell Cottage Gardens and Nurseries and the Cheshire Gardens Trust.

Reaseheath Horticulture lecturer Tracey Walker has helped to co-ordinate the stand, which is in the ‘Inspire’ zone, an area dedicated to cutting edge design and fresh ideas. Each of the eight gardens will feature ‘The Rose of Distinction’, a new floribunda rose being launched by Fryers Roses to celebrate the group’s centenary.


Floral Design Studio

Reaseheath florists will showcase their talents with a creative, carnival themed stand.

Five floristry students will also compete in the new Floristry College of the Year Competition. Level 3 Diploma in Floristry students Anna Eite, Zoe Sillito, Wendy Anderson, Carron White and Christine Roberts will be supported by Programme Leader for Floristry Sue Poole.

The students will create five designs using flowers with a colour theme of red, green and yellow: a mask, a wall hanging, an arrangement, a wired bouquet and a planted design. The winning college will go through to the final at the Chelsea Flower Show 2015.

Hopes are high for a good result, as Anna and Zoe won second and third places respectively at a recent WorldSkills UK competition.


WorldSkills UK Landscape Gardening Semi Finals

Talented Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture Richard Carden will represent Reaseheath in this prestigious competition. He is one of eight students (divided into teams of two) challenged to build 2m x 6m gardens designed by 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 judges will be 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.


You can find out more about our Garden and Landscape Design, Horticulture and Floral Design courses on our website.