Top BALI members endorse calls for merger in bid to raise profile

Bali members see opportunities to showcase industry at world skills competition in October.

Peter Killen (left) and Mitch Westwood (right) judging an award at the Malvern Spring Gardening Show - image: HW
Peter Killen (left) and Mitch Westwood (right) judging an award at the Malvern Spring Gardening Show - image: HW

Two leading BALI members have called for work to combine the landscape trade body and the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) to quicken ahead of the world's largest skills competition in October.

Mitch Westwood and Peter Killen, speaking to HW at Malvern Spring Flower Show, where they were judging the BALI landscaping competition, said landscaping bodies needed to raise their profile.

BALI regional director Killen said: "I, like APL chairman Mark Gregory, want to unite the landscape trade organisations. It should be called the Landscape Association, to have a name like the Landscape Institute. I've spent 30 years telling people that BALI is not a south sea island."

TV's Rogue Traders expert Westwood said: "It's inevitable from a sense of scale that BALI and APL desperately need to get their names as trade associations better known. I want them to be as familiar as (gas register) CORGI used to be."

The pair said the upcoming WorldSkills London 2011 will bring landscaping into focus in the UK. Finalists competed at Malvern alongside the BALI competition.

The world's largest international skills competition takes place at ExCeL, London, on 5-8 October. Some 150,000 expected visitors will see 1,000 entrants from 50 countries competing in 45 skill areas over four days.

UK landscape training manager Harry Turner said WorldSkills offered a fantastic opportunity for young people to see what landscaping was about.

Designer and TV presenter Chris Beardshaw is among those who have been training students at Askham Bryan College ahead of the skills competition.

Finalists are James Luffey from CAFRE, Oliver King from Otley College and Simon Abbott from Askham Bryan. Two will go through to WorldSkills after selection on 14-17 June. The students will also be at Hampton Court next month building a Beardshaw design.

KeyStat

Number of visitors expected to attend the WorldSkills London 2011 event in October - 150,000


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