Popular attractions at the recent Plumpton College open day attracted record attendance, with 13,000 visitors. Attractions included tractor tours of the extensive estate, visiting the College farm, children's activities, floristry creations, Plumpton Estate wines, the library, campus accommodation, workshops and engineering facilities, the animal care unit and equine displays.
This open day and country show occasion is a working college event and allows visitors an opportunity to meet staff and students in an informal setting, to discuss the wide range of land based courses and obtain information and guidance on careers. Students offered supervised tuition of the courses in action. Plumpton College offers a wide range of courses including Access to Higher Diplomas, free taster courses for those at school, apprenticeships, employer training and courses from school through to degree.
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall visited Plumpton College recently in her capacity as Patron of the College's Charitable Trust. The Duchess unveiled a plaque to commemorate the large wrought iron gates at the entrance to the quadrangle and new West Wing development.
The gates were designed and built by students on Metalsmithing courses.
Student activities at open day featured machinery skills, floristry, wine sales, shearing, tractor driving and working forges, while jewellery making, silversmithing, metalsmithing and copper work demonstrated some facilities within the new Engineering Workshops. Student designs are an integral part of the courses and are successfully assimilated into work placements, marketing and project management. Student exhibitions feature at the South of England show and Hampton Court Flower show. St Michael's Church within the College estate included floristry student designs.
Visitors tasted award-winning Plumpton Estate wines, as well as college produced Cheddar style cheese, local foods and drinks. A craft and trade fair featured pottery, stained glass, machinery, crafts, local information, Waitrose, wood skills and floral art.
The well stocked glasshouses and floristry suites attracted visitors for hanging baskets, floral bouquets, bedding and vegetable plants.
Forestry and aerial demonstrations included the mobile sawmill, peeler pointer and elevating work platform. Estate produced charcoal generated volume sales.
The College Open Day is held alongside the Sussex Federation of Young Farmers' clubs annual show and many of the Sussex Young Farmers' activities featured during the day.
Exhibitions also included clay pigeon shooting, shire horses offering carriage tours, fly casting, small animals, livestock, a dog scurry, gundogs, falconry, birds of prey, dancing horses and machinery parades. Equine students staged events in the indoor ri
ing schools with dressage, show jumping and drill demonstrations. Equine exhibits included a biomechanics and teaching display and musical drill ride.
Rural Business Training opportunities for employer and bespoke training were available. Apprenticeships and Concordia staff were on hand to offer advice.
Outdoor sport interactive exhibitions included a climbing wall, hiking display, kayaks and mountain bikes.
Students on animal care courses organised a popular dog show. The veterinary nurse training centre drew much interest for continuing professional development. The animal care unit demonstrated the wide range of small animals within Animal Care courses, featuring both domestic and exotic animals.
Plumpton Estate wines have just released the latest vintage report.
The wine science centre on campus offered tutored sessions in wine tasting and sales of Plumpton Estate wines. Wine tours and wine tastings are available, subject to demand. The Wine Department offers unique wine degree courses within Europe, with a commercial, on-site winery. It has recently developed a wineskills programme offering viticulture training for the UK wine industry. Plumpton College and its centres within East Sussex offer industry focussed range of courses to meet demand, including machinery, forestry, equine, wine, horticulture, floristry and woodland training.