Burberry wins APL WorldSkills UK final

Will Burberry of Gardenscapes has been announced as 'Best in the UK' in landscape gardening after winning gold at the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) WorldSkills UK final.

Photos: APL WorldSkills UK Final Finalists: Back row – Aaron Quin from CAFRE, Will Burberry from Gardenscapes, Mark Chapelhow from Wildroof Landscapes. Front row - Adam Ferguson, Noel Taggart from CAFRE, Christopher Shore from Reaseheath College.

Mark Chapelhow from Wildroof Landscapes took silver and Noel Taggart of CAFRE, took bronze.

The APL WorldSkills final took place last week from 19-21 November at the NEC in Birmingham.

Competitors had 16 hours, spread over the four days, one of which was a training/prep day, to build a garden designed by head judge and technical lead Jody Lidgard.

Burberry said: "Words can’t describe how I’m feeling, I’m completely overwhelmed by it all. It was a really good competition this year as everyone was really equal in standards. I’m really pleased to have qualified for the chance to go to Abu Dhabi in 2017, I didn’t think I would at all." Talking about the WorldSkills competitions, Will said, "Loads more people should be put forward for it. It’s been a really good experience right from the start."

Chapelhow said: "I’m really pleased for Will, really happy with the result. It’s been a great experience and definitely has great value and brings the coverage and promotion needed for the industry."

Having competed in knock out stages in May at Reaseheath College, Nantwich and Greenmount Campus, Northern Ireland, and the semi-finals at RHS Tatton Park Flower show in July, the final five had proven their skills to the judges, putting them in the running for the title of ‘Best in the UK’ at the Skills Show.

During the final they were marked on elements such as block paving, recessed drain covers, wood work (which included decking and fencing), planting, health and safety and the overall appearance throughout the three days. A new element was included this year which tested the competitor’s knowledge to name ten of the plants that were included in the gardens.

This year’s finalists also included Aaron Quin from CAFRE. Adam Ferguson joined the competition, but was competing purely for a place on the international squad in Abu Dhabi in 2017.

Judges for the competition included garden designer Jody Lidgard, 2011 WorldSkillsUK Silver medal winner Simon Abbott and APL national business manager Phil Tremayne. Colin McKnight, 2015 UK training manager for the International WorldSkills competition also dropped by to check out how the competitors were getting on.

Matt Beesley, Beesleys Landscapes, and Jonathan Gill, CAFRE, also showed their support to the competitors. The pair were in the UK Squad this year for the Landscape Gardening competition, held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and came home with silver medals. 

Sponsors were Makita UK, Marshalls, J A Jones, Jewsons and British Sugar Topsoil.

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