UCR - University Centre Reaseheath
University Centre Reaseheath

Reaseheath talent recognised at inaugural Land-based and Environment Learner Awards

Six talented former Reaseheath students were rewarded for their achievements at the inaugural Land-based & Environment Learner Awards, held on campus on Wednesday.

The glittering ceremony, which was attended by Minster of State for Food, Farming and Fisheries, Mark Spencer MP, celebrity farmer Adam Henson and more than 200 guests, celebrated successful young people who have progressed in industries such as agriculture, animal care, horticulture, forestry, floristry, environmental conservation, agricultural engineering, equestrianism, sports turf and veterinary nursing.

The awards were launched this year by Lantra, the leading land-based training and qualification awarding body, and by Landex, the representative body for land-based colleges and universities. Candidates had to be working and studying in land-based and environment sectors between September 2021 and September 2022.

The organisers received over 120 nominations across 10 categories. The winners were chosen by a panel of industry professionals.

Successful Reaseheath candidates were:

Aspiring agriculturist Cerys Fairclough, a former Reaseheath Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Agriculture student, who was crowned Overall Learner of the Year 2023 and also scooped the Agriculture Learner category.

Cerys spent the middle year of her diploma on work placement with the Wynnstay Group PLC and is now a national hardware sales co-ordinator for the group. She is also studying part time for a business degree at the University of South Wales, along with developing her own breeding flock of Blue Faced Leicester ewes.

Cerys, who won praise from the judging panel for her infectious positivity and passion, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that my skills and achievements in agriculture have been recognised at such a high professional level. The awards were also an opportunity for me and my peers to demonstrate that the future of the sector is in safe hands.”

Hannah Sinclair, who graduated with a BSc (Hons) Zoo Management this summer from UCR and is now a keeper at Amazona Zoo in Norfolk, won the Animal Care category. She gained practical experience by working at Reaseheath’s mini zoo alongside her studies and also supported many college fund raising and other activities as a member of the Students Association.

Kacper Nowakowski, who was awarded ‘Most Improved Student’ on his Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture course, won the Arboriculture category. He now works for his family’s business SYL Garden Maintenance and also regularly volunteers at Reaseheath, supporting current arboriculture students. His long term vision is to become a college instructor.

Luke Tighe, a top student on Reaseheath’s TECH BACC Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Land Based Engineering, took top place in the Land Based Engineering category. Luke is currently studying for his BEng (Hons) Agricultural Engineering at Harper Adams University, with plans to continue onto a Master’s degree. His long term ambition is to work in product support.

Lewis West, winner of the Landscape and Horticulture category, completed both his Level 2 Diploma and his Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Horticulture with us, the latter including a work placement on the campus gardens and grounds. He combined his studies with working for a home store chain.

He has since secured a wonderful job as a gardener with The National Trust,  working at Hare Hill, Macclesfield, and at Little Moreton Hall, Congleton.

Abby Dewhurst was runner up in the Floristry category. She is a former Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Floristry student who has progressed onto Level 4 Higher Diploma in Floristry with us and has also set up her own floral events business, Floral Smiles.

Paying tribute to the winners, Adam Henson said: “I was delighted to have been invited to host the very first Land-Based and Environment Learner Awards. In my various roles, I’m lucky enough to encounter some amazing young people who are passionate about their jobs and are a complete inspiration. Tonight was no exception. The level of enthusiasm, professionalism and passion, blew me away – a big well done to everyone”.

Our Principal, Marcus Clinton, who is current Chair of Landex, said: “This was a fantastic night, celebrating the incredible talent across the sector and seeing the great progression these young people have made into jobs and further training.

“I was immensely proud to see Reaseheath students do so well, not to mention the overall Learner of the Year awarded to Cerys. This is testament to our hard working staff who have supported them through their learning and who have delivered on our Industry Focused and Career Ready mission.”

Land-based and environment learner award winners

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