The sweet smell of success for Greenmount’s green-fingered horticulturalists

Date published: 28 July 2016

Everything is coming up roses for two Greenmount Horticulturalist students who have made it through to the final seven of the Worldskills UK Landscaping Competition.

Garden designer and television presenter, Joe Swift (centre) with CAFRE students Jonathan Long, Donegal, (left) and Shea McFerran, Larne, who have reached the Worldskills UK Landscape Gardening Final.

Shea McFerran from Larne, and Jonathan Long from Donegal, are now sharpening their spades and secateurs for the three-day final of the world’s largest vocational skills competition at Birmingham NEC in November.

CAFRE teacher Alan McILveen, who accompanied the students, said he was very proud of how the students work at the semi-finals at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show.

“I’m very proud of what the boys have already achieved. They certainly put in fantastic performances at Tatton and garden designer and television presenter, Joe Swift, agreed saying he was impressed with the quality of the gardens and the talent the competitors displayed.

“Greenmount students have been very successful in garden design and construction in recent years and it is great that two of the seven finalists at the Skills Show will be Extended Diploma students from CAFRE,” added Alan.

Shea said the event put their skills to the test by asking them to build a pre-designed garden including both soft and hard landscaping.

“The competition assessed our construction skills in timber and brickwork and creativity in planting with each of us building a full 6mx2m garden over 18 hours. It was hard work but great fun and gave all the trainee landscape gardeners a fantastic opportunity to showcase our work and talents.”

Jonathan thought the event also provided the opportunity to make good contacts in the garden design industry.

“The pressure is now on to get everything right for the final which is open to the public, press, and celebrities but more importantly to professionals, so we must be prepared for extra distractions.”

Competitors that excel in the finals may be invited to compete in the selection process for Squad and Team UK for the 44th international WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi next year.

If you are inspired by Shea and Jonathan’s green-fingered success you can get details on how to register for Greenmount’s courses on the CAFRE website or call 0800 028 4291. Courses start in September and are an excellent first step in developing a career in Landscape Gardening.  

Notes to editors: 

  1. All media enquiries to DAERA Press Office, or tel: 028 9052 4619.

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