APL WorldSkills UK landscape final underway

The 2015 WorldSkills UK Landscape Gardening final is underway at the The Skills Show at the Birmingham NEC,with five landscaping students competing for the 'Best in the UK' title.

Robert Wylie, landscape winner for WorldSkills UK 2014. Image: WorldSkills UK

After reaching the qualifying benchmark at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park in July the five students yesterday morning started on the challenge of completing a garden design in just 16 hours over the next three days.

The morning was spent on familiarisation and fence practice. Competitors were also given a test piece of flower bed to show their plant knowledge. Marks were purely for development purposes, and the competitors were then given feedback and the chance to develop and improve on what they had produced.

This year, the garden has been designed by Jody Lidgard. Creations will need to be completed by 11 am on 21 November (Saturday) with the winner being announced at The Skills Show Big Celebration Event on Saturday evening.

The finalists are Will Burberry from Gardenscapes, Mark Chapelhow from Wildroof Landscapes, Christopher Shore from Reeseheath College, and Noel Taggart and Aaron Quin from CAFRE.

They will be scored in every aspect of landscape design including:

• Planning and marking out, including height measurements
• Hard landscape features including, small unit paving, block work, paving with flagstones, foundations and footings, water features
• Timber work, pergolas, fence details and decking
• Plants and turf, including both plan and freestyle planting methods

After competitor Anthony Doran withdrew from the competition, Adam Ferguson has now joined but will purely be competing for a place on the international squad in Abu Dhabi in 2017. He will not be competing for a medal in this year's competition.

Judges for the competition include garden designer Jody Lidgard, who has run his own landscaping firm for over 18 years, APL national account manager Phil Tremayne, and 2011 WorldSkills UK silver medal winner Simon Abbott. Colin McKnight, 2015 UK training manager for the International WorldSkills competition, is also going to be joining the judging panel from Thursday until Saturday.

The APL is the organising partner for the landscape gardening section of the WorldSkills UK competition. The aim of the competition is to inspire young people and adults to be ambitious in their pursuit of skills to the highest level.

Entering helps competitors build on their skills, test their knowledge against industry peers, showcase their potential to employers and enhance their career.

The landscape section of the show is sponsored by Makita UK, Marshalls, J A Jones, Jewsons and British Sugar Topsoil.

For more information visit http://www.theskillsshow.com.

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