A Myerscough College learner has been named the best in the UK after winning gold at the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) WorldSkills UK finals.
Jacob Botting was announced as the ‘Best in the UK’ in landscaping at a prestigious award ceremony over the weekend. The 2016 WorldSkills competition saw Jacob, a second year Level 2 Landscaping Apprentice, initially impress the judges with his build at the RHS Tatton Flower Show, where he competed alongside the other finalists from across the country to make the final as part of the annual Skills Show at the NEC in Birmingham.
Jacob, who is employed with Bespoke Outdoor Spaces Ltd as part of his apprenticeship, then beat off stiff competition from the other finalists from across the country to be named ‘Best in the UK’ and land a coveted gold medal.
Jacob is part of the current APL (Association of Professional Landscapers) Apprenticeship programme, a sector-leading national training scheme run by Myerscough College in partnership with the APL and Landscape Skills Academy.
During the final participants were marked on elements such as block paving, recessed drain covers, wood work, including decking and fencing, planting, health and safety and the overall appearance throughout a three day build against the clock. The finalists were also tested on their knowledge to name ten of the plants that were included in the gardens.
After he received his gold medal, Jacob said: “It’s been an amazing few days and I think all competitors completed the garden build to a very high standard.
‘’I was really shocked when my name was called and to achieve gold is beyond my wildest dreams. I would like to personally thank my employer, Myerscough College and the APL for their support and guidance throughout the competition and really hope I can inspire other young people to consider careers and Apprenticeships in Landscaping.”
Jacob was supported at the event by his Myerscough College tutor James Fare, who said: “It was fantastic to see Jacob achieve the gold medal in landscaping.
‘’He has shown significant dedication over the time he has been on the Apprenticeship and works for a supportive employer who is dedicated to training and development. I know that Jacob has a great future in the industry and as a college we are all extremely proud of his achievements.”
Employer Services Manager at Myerscough College, Lee Price commented on Jacobs success and the future of Landscaping Apprenticeships, saying: “To see Jacob receive his gold medal is something everyone is extremely proud of. He has shown great dedication throughout the competition and is a great example to other learners on what can be achieved.’’
“The WorldSkills ethos and its values are at the heart of our Landscaping Apprenticeship scheme delivered in partnership with the APL. The scheme gives Apprentices the opportunity to work in a safe environment, and to enhance their core skills amongst their peers. “
“This is the first time we have entered a learner into the Landscaping competition and we all wish to congratulate Jacob on his success. We are already looking forward to next year’s competition. “
Chief executive of Worldskills UK Dr Neil Bentley said: "Our research shows that Worldskills UK Competitions teach young people the employability skills that businesses are crying out for. By devising and managing skills competitions that are based on international standards, we can ensure more young people are being equipped with the right skills to help UK businesses better compete globally."
Judge Steve Smith, of Shore Landscapes said: "This is my first time as a judge for APL WorldSkills and I am staggered at the level of expertise of these young candidates. It's really encouraging to see young people embarking on a career in landscaping.’’
WorldSkills UK competitions inspire apprentices and young people to be ambitious in their pursuit of skills excellence to raise productivity and standards. These competitions equip young people with the skills to help UK business compete. Through working with partners in industry, education and government, WorldSkills UK competitions help to inform careers advice as well as benchmarking apprenticeship and qualification standards in the UK.
For more information on any of the programmes and provision at Myerscough College, please contact the Employer Services team on 01995 642255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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by Dave Salmon