This years’ APL WorldSkills UK semi-final saw a bit of a change from the past two years with the event moving away from RHS Tatton Park Flower Show, and having more of a focus on the training and development of the competitors.

Over the three days (21-24 August) the nine semi-finalists had tasks to complete including paving, decking, walling and plant ident, procurement and working to a client’s brief.

The first two days were held at Myerscough College, Preston, where the competitors completed the walling, paving and decking tasks. They also had training sessions in different types of paving and the benefits and drawbacks of each type from head judge, Jody Lidgard. On the second day, there was the chance to get hands on with a table top saw and practice cutting porcelain.

The third day took place at J A Jones cash and carry in Southport. Here the competitors took part in a plant ident, and were then given free reign of the nursery to design a garden to meet a client brief. This gave the competitors a real challenge in regard of choosing the right plants to suit each brief and really test their plant knowledge.

A massive thank you to all of our APL WorldSkills UK sponsors Green-Tech,  J A Jones, Makita and Marshalls. Without them, the competition would not be able to happen.

The finalists who will be going through to the finals at the NEC in Birmingham in November will be announced on 11 September, when all the WorldSkills UK finalists will be announced.

To register to come along and see the final competition for yourself, visit 

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