Matthew Wood, Apprentice at Myerscough College, took home the Gold at the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) WorldSkills final last week, taking place at WorldSkills UK LIVE from 15-17 November at the NEC Birmingham.

Sam Gordon, The Gardenmakers and APL Apprentice, took home the Silver, with Reece McKay from CAFRE taking the Bronze.

The APL WorldSkills final took place last week from 15-17 November at WorldSkills UK LIVE held at the Birmingham NEC in front of over 100,000 visitors over the three days. The first of four days was a training and familiarisation day, then the competitors had 16 hours to individually build a garden from scratch designed by head judge and APL General Manager, Phil Tremayne.

This year’s competitors were Brian Hughes, College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), Reece McKay, College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), Matthew Wood, Myerscough College, Sam Gordon, The Gardenmakers, Connor Pegler, Warwickshire College and Douglas Beck, Wiltshire College.

During the final competitors were marked on elements such as paving including recessed drain cover detail and block paving provided by Marshalls, decking and fencing using EcoDek composite decking, planting with plants provided by J A Jones, lighting provided by Landscapeplus, health and safety and the overall appearance of the garden. The final also included a plant ident created by North West based nurseries J A Jones, designed to test the competitors plant knowledge.

Judges for the competition included Head Judge Phil Tremayne, APL General Manager, Steve Smith of Shore Landscapes, and 2011 WorldSkills UK Silver medal winner and International training manager, Simon Abbott.

The APL also hosted the Horticulture Inclusive Skills competition on the Saturday of the show. Inclusive Skills Competitions enable young people with learning difficulties and disabilities to showcase their work skills and growing independence. The competitors were tasked with planting houseplant baskets, which they designed and planted themselves. The competition was once again a great success, and as of next year the Inclusive Skills competitions are being fully integrated into the show. Many thanks to Flowervision Birmingham for the plants supplied.

The APL would like to thank sponsors EcoDek, J A Jones, Landscapeplus, Makita and Marshalls for their support of the competition, without whom this would not be possible.

APL WorldSkills UK 2019 opens for entries in March, but you can register your interest now at https://www.worldskillsuk.org/champions/national-skills-competitions/express-your-interest-in-worldskills-uk-competitions-2019

For more information about the WorldSkills UK and what they do, visit https://www.worldskillsuk.org/

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