Bishop Burton College Horticulture student Sam Birks is one of eight semi-finalists who will be competing in the WorldSkills UK Landscape Gardening heats at the RHS Flower show at Tatton Park in July.
The eight students will be required to build a 2m x 6m garden designed by award winning Alexandra Froggatt and will take place over 22 hours across 3 days.
The 2014 event received a record number of entries into the Landscape Gardening competition. Those that entered were put through a tough theory test and the top eight were selected after a tie-breaker exercise.
The winners from Tatton Park will be going on to The Skills Show at the Birmingham NEC, where finalists compete to be named the ‘Best in the UK’ in front of 70,000 people.
Sam, age 18, from Driffield, who is currently in his second year of a Horticulture BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma commented, “I am really pleased about getting through to the semi-finals, and am looking forward to going to Tatton Park and doing the practical work.”
Sue Hosdell, Course Manager & Curriculum Leader added, ‘I am absolutely thrilled for Sam. He is an excellent student and works really hard. The course he is taking provides an all-round experience including design, planting and hard landscaping which they will incorporate in to the competition. This experience will increase his confidence and he will gain so much out of it.”
Sam currently works on a volunteer basis one day a week at Sledmere House working with the Head Gardener, having also completed a two-week work experience there.
Sam’s success follows on from another Bishop Burton College student - Ewan Sewell – who achieved the gold medal in the WorldSkills UK Landscape Gardening Competition National Final and went on to represent the UK at the WorldSkills final in Leipzig, Germany in 2013.
Judges for the Landscape Gardening competition include award winning APL Chairman, Mark Gregory who has over 120 show gardens to his name, garden designer and four times RHS gold medal winner Adam Frost, Jody Lidgard, who has run his own landscaping firm for over 18 years and 2011 WorldSkillsUK medal winner Simon Abbott.
Bishop Burton College
As one of the finest land-based colleges, Bishop Burton has a national reputation for quality. It is the only college in the UK to hold Centre of Vocational Excellence status in both Agriculture and Equine. The College offers a wide range of courses for students seeking further or higher education, and top quality conference facilities and training services for business use.
The College holds numerous public events throughout the year, with the most popular being Lambing Sunday (March) and Town & Country Day (May). The Bishop Burton Equine Arena regularly hosts national equestrian competitions and events, and in 2012 became an official Equestrian training base for the London Olympic Games.
WorldSkills UK inspires young people and adults to be ambitious in their pursuit of skills to the highest level.
The National Competitions are designed to test competitors’ skills in a range of critical elements that demonstrate excellence in their chosen trade.
The activity, designed by industry experts, enhances qualities valued by employers such as team work, time management and working to deadlines.
Success in most WorldSkills UK Competitions can lead to representing the UK at the WorldSkills International Competition.