Our Judges

Jody Lidgard

Jody has been in the landscape industry for 19 years. Having studied at Otley College, East Anglia, he currently works in his own business carrying out both commercial and private landscape work. On the beginnings of his career Jody says “I have always been inspirited to work outside, having spent many years in HM forces, retraining for horticulture, felt like the next natural step.” As a multiple RHS Gold Medal Winner, most recently in 2014, he feels that WorldSkills is an amazing stepping stone for budding trades students. “I entered WorldSkills through having had students of my own enter the competition. I realised what a fantastic opportunity they open for young people. I have been involved with training young people since 2006 and now my time is split between my own private work and lecturing at various colleges around the country."


Simon Abbott

“Having had six years experience in the landscaping industry and being rewarded with many achievements, I started my own business in 2008 shortly after I started studying at Askham Bryan College. In 2009 I was invited to compete in the Regional competition, which I went on to win. From this, my journey into WorldSkills began. Within WorldSkills I was part of a team for constructing RHS Gardens at Malvern which I was awarded Silver and Hampton Court which I was awarded a Silver Guilt and the people’s choice award. I built the gardens live at these events showing that I can work under pressure. Finally at WorldSkills London 2011 I achieved a Silver medal. This involved working as a pair building a garden within twenty-two hours spread over four days which tested me on everything I had learnt from being able to perform under pressure to the practical side of construction. Elements in this garden included dry stone walling, paving, streams, bridges and green space. Since this achievement, I have being involved with the following cycle for Germany and also with national events where I helped with design, briefing and judging these gardens to a high standard and training to the high standard that I achieved.