Young landscapers in training for Euroskills competition

Landscape gardeners Adam Ferguson and Will Burberry are among 20 young people preparing to compete at EuroSkills in Gothenburg this December.

Worldskills 2016 competitor Adam Ferguson. Image: Supplied
Worldskills 2016 competitor Adam Ferguson. Image: Supplied

Ferguson is a foundation degree student at CAFRE's Greenmount campus, while Burberry works for Gardenscapes and completed an apprenticeship through Merrist Wood College. Both competed in last year's APL-run WorldSkills UK landscaping tournament, with Burberry taking home the Gold medal.

Euroskills will pit people aged 25 and under against each other in more than 35 different skill areas, ranging from engineering and construction through to creative and hospitality. Over 30 European countries will be represented at the tournament.

Skills competitions are increasingly seen as a way of improving young peoples' employability. A recent survey found more than 95 per cent of competitors believed their technical and employability skills had improved as a result of taking part in skills competitions, while more than 80 per cent felt competing had increased their confidence, team working, time management and ability to work under pressure.

Paul Mooney, head of horticulture education at Greenmount, said: "I'm delighted to see how participating in the Worldskills competitions has inspired our students to give of their best. Adam Ferguson was selected following his excellent performance in the National Finals of the WorldSkills UK competitions, held last autumn in the NEC, Birmingham.

"He has excelled on the Extended Diploma in Horticulture course here and will graduate with his foundation degree next month. He has earned his place on Squad UK and I know he will be a worthy ambassador when he competes at EuroSkills Gothenburg 2016."

Ferguson is looking forward to competing at EuroSkills, which will be held from 1-3 December. "I've thoroughly enjoyed my involvement with the landscape gardening competitions and my initial success gave me the confidence and contacts to gain valuable work experience with a leading company in the Netherlands last summer," he said.

"Success in Worldskills has brought other opportunities to build a great CV. I'm also currently finishing my Foundation Degree at Greenmount, helping construct a show garden for Bloom in the Park in Dublin and planning a visit to RHS Chelsea."

Members of Team UK will now go on to complete an intensive training programme, supported by their trainers, employers and training providers. Burberry and Ferguson are being trained by Simon Abbott, of Simon Abbott Landscapes, in preparation for the competition.

The competitors who take part in EuroSkills this year will also go onto compete for a place in the team that will represent the UK at WorldSkills, the largest international skills competition, which takes place every two years. The next WorldSkills Competition will take place in Abu Dhabi from 14 to 19 October, 2017.

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