A team of horticulture students from Writtle College, Chelmsford, won a bronze in the final of the UK LandscapeSkills Competition 2006, a national competition organised by UK Skills and the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI), held at the IOG Saltex Exhibition, Windsor Racecourse, from 5-7th September 2006.
Fred Harris (20 from Knebworth, Hertfordshire) and Michael Freeman (19 from Tiptree) both studying further education Horticulture courses at the College, were competing against five other colleges from across the UK, and given three days to build a garden from a plan given to them at the start of IOG Saltex, the annual trade show for the open space management industry.
The UK LandscapeSkills Competition gives students and trainees the opportunity to benchmark their skills alongside each other, whilst also gaining skills and experience. The national final is made up of the winning teams from the various regional finals that took place throughout 2006. The Writtle College team won their qualifying heat in May 2006. This year, the LandscapeSkills competition has been bigger than ever with five heats taking place across the UK, an acknowledgement of the increased interest in raising the practical skills of young people. Last year's competition fielded 13 teams, this year, 23 teams from college and industry entered from across the UK.
The Writtle College team were supported by students Josh Phipps and Martin Robinson, who took part in the Regional Final with Michael and Fred, and Writtle College Landscape Tutor, Dave Campbell. Dave said: "LandscapeSkills is a great opportunity to showcase the skills our Horticulture students develop whilst at the College. The students performed brilliantly under pressure. We are all very proud of what they have achieved."
In 2005 the College was awarded a collaborative Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) status in Horticultural Technologies (with Chichester College (Brinsbury Campus) and Plumpton College). This status is awarded by the government to enhance high quality vocational courses to serve the needs of the regional industries. The award reflects the College's excellent standards of its existing training programmes, and funding has been received to develop new training programmes to meet the needs of employers and professional organisations.
Established in 1893, Writtle College offers a range of full and part-time courses from post-GCSE vocational training, University of Essex Foundation and Honours degrees, and postgraduate programmes. Study programmes include agriculture, amenity horticulture and landscape management, animal science and animal management, business management, commercial horticulture, design, equine studies and science, floristry, leisure and tourism, rural environment and conservation, sport and service engineering. Writtle College also provides a variety of short courses and workshops, and opportunities for adult learners.
All Writtle College's degree programmes are validated by the University of Essex, which has been ranked among the top ten universities in the UK. The curriculum at Writtle College is developed in liaison with formal Industrial Consultation Panels, ensuring that students are equipped with all the skills and knowledge demanded by employers.
Writtle College is set in its own 220 hectare estate with landscaped gardens, a working animal unit, equine training and development centre and stud, working farm, sports fields, construction areas, workshops and retail, business and leisure operations. Resources also include a fitness centre, climbing wall, library, modern science centre, design centre and studio, floristry building, engineering workshops, and extensive computer facilities, including CAD systems.
The College has established four Centres of Innovation: the Centre for Environment and Rural Affairs (CERA), the Centre for Arts and Design in the Environment (CADE), the Centre for Equine and Animal Science (CEQAS) and the Centre for World Crops (CWC). These centres will play a major role in nurturing a range of external activities and collaborations to support knowledge transfer and practitioner based and action management based reach-out activities.
There is a lively community atmosphere on campus with students from over 50 countries. The College Patron is Alan Titchmarsh and the College Principal is Mike Alder.
Chelmsford Essex CM1 3RR