The 2016 WorldSkills UK Landscaping final is underway at the The Skills Show at the Birmingham  NEC with seven landscaping students competing for the ‘Best in the UK’ title.

After reaching the qualifying benchmark at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park in July the seven students this morning started on the challenge of completing a garden design in just 16 hours over the next 3 days.

This morning has been a morning of familiarisation and fence practice. They were also given a test piece of flower bed to show their plant knowledge and were then marked on it. These 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. Their creations will need to be completed by 11 am on Saturday 19th November with the winner being announced at The Skills Show Medal Celebration Event on Saturday evening.

The finalists Jacob Botting from Myerscough College, Aaron Byrne from Reaseheath College, Ross Conquestfrom Conquest Hard Landscaping, Josh Dow from SRUC Oatridge, Jonathan Long and Shea McFerren from CAFRE and Christopher Page from Dundee and Angus College 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, decking.

•               Plants and turf. This includes both plan and freestyle planting methods.

Judges for the competition include garden designer Jody Lidgard, who has run his own landscaping firm for over 19 years, APL Member Steve Smith from Shore Landscape, and 2011 WorldSkillsUK Silver medal winner, Simon Abbott. Simon will also be taking over the role of  UK Landscaping Expert from 2017 for the International WorldSkills competition.

The APL would like to thank sponsors Makita UK, Marshalls, J A Jones and Jewsons for their support for the show.

The APL is the organising partner for the Landscaping 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 the competitions is proven to catapult a person’s career, build on their skills, test their knowledge against their peers in industry and showcase their potential to employers.

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