Winners of the UK Landscape Gardening competition, which took place at The Skills Show, NEC Birmingham, 14 – 16 November, are 21 year old Daniel Brennen, Derby College, Ilkeston and 19 year old Daniel Handley, Sparsholt College, Hampshire. They each took gold medal positions and will go into the selection process to join the GB squad who will attend the next bi-annual World Skills competition. This dazzling international event will be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2015.
The UK Landscape Gardening team, which consisted of six contestants working in pre-selected teams, were tasked to build a garden designed by James Collins in 18 hours. The three 6m x 6m plots contained timber constructions, walls, water features, and paving in different materials and at varying heights and each garden was finished with turf and planting. Tasks are marked to 60% of international standards, as is each competitor’s ability to work as a team and individually.
Sponsor Makita UK, the number 1 professional power tool manufacturer, has provided high performance power tools for the competitors’ use during many months of hard work and training. This has been carried out at a number of WorldSkills UK competitions including the semi-final at RHS Tatton Park, delivered by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), this summer. Further training has been provided by a team of experts headed by Harry Turner, Askham Bryan College, York. Makita has also hosted a training and skills day at the company’s bespoke facilities at the Milton Keynes headquarters in Buckinghamshire. Other sponsors include The Association of Professional Landscapers, the Royal Horticultural Society and The Horticulture Trades Association. Materials, including timber and soil, were supplied by builders’ merchant Jewson; hardcore and block paving by Marshalls PLC and a beautiful selection of plants, shrubs, trees and turf by Wyvale Garden Centre Group.
The Skills Show, the nation’s largest skills and careers event, provides hands-on experiences that inspire young people to explore further education, skills and apprenticeships. Many thousands of student visitors attended the free event from all areas of the country. Careers advisors were on hand to provide information and guidance about the next steps open to visitors. Competitors showcased their skills in careers as diverse as catering, car maintenance, joinery, mechanical engineering and fashion design, while professionals across industry gave inspirational Spotlight talks to provide an insight into a variety of careers and training routes.
More than 60 WorldSkills UK national finalists were staged at this years’ Skills Show with 700 finalists who won their places following a fiercely competitive round of 500 heats that have taken place over recent months.
“The Skills Show is an inspiration for all young people considering their future career path,” says Kevin Brannigan, marketing manager, Makita UK, “and as a leading global manufacturer, who believes wholeheartedly in skills development and training, we are proud to have contributed to the success of the UK Landscape Gardening Team. We wish enormous luck to the winners who will now have to earn their places in Squad GB which is a huge achievement.”
Silver medals were awarded to Adam Ferguson, CAFRE, Greenmount College, County Antrim and Theo Parkin, Derby College; Bronze medals were awarded to Andrew Hannam, Sparsholt College, and Noel Taggart, CAFRE.
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