Page 1

Raising Standards Inspiring Achievement

The latest news from Reaseheath College

Record student success

Issue 23

In this issue

See pages 2 and 3

Happy birthday to us See page 5

Study tours See pages 8-11

Army look at life See page 21

One of the country’s most successful specialist colleges, Reaseheath has notched up another record year of student enrolments and achievements. Our annual awards ceremony celebrated the success of 1,120 Further Education students who have achieved industry recognised qualifications and skills this year. A recent survey shows that 93% of our students progress into employment or onto higher level courses and we are nationally recognised for preparing students well for entry into the jobs market or into higher education. We continue to invest in the futures of young people by setting aside funds to provide financial assistance to those who are less well off. This funding can help with the costs of transport and accommodation, material and equipment. Our degree level students are able to choose from a raft of additional qualifications, making them extremely employable. Student prizes and certificates were presented by Christine Gaskell MBE, a board member at Bentley Motors, Crewe, and by Dame Ruth Silver DBE, Chair of the Board, Learning and Skills Improvement Service. Role of Honour Five outstanding students were selected from a total of over 8,000 to receive special awards. Doug Powley (Best contribution to college life) A Level 3 Extended Diploma in Adventure Sports student and key member of the Student Association, Doug has actively supported all fund raising activities and has been a confidante and role model to new students. He has also shown great commitment to our successful rugby team.

Record student success Eliza Waldron (Best all round contribution) HE student representative on Reaseheath’s Board of Governors, Eliza is another key charity fundraiser and also helped to launch our JuJitsu Club. She is studying for a degree in Wildlife Conservation and Ecology. Christopher Smith (Personal qualities) An enthusiastic college ambassador, Chris has regularly volunteered to show visitors round campus and has worked closely with the Student Services team to ensure students have an enjoyable time. He is a Level 3 Diploma Adventure Sports student. Stuart Plant (Greatest contribution to sporting activities) An ambitious and talented sportsman, Stuart has been a committed member of our men’s first team, playing 100 competitive games including 12 abroad and refereeing for the college. A Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport (Performance and Excellence) student, he has also played for Crewe Alexandra Academy. Apart from his football contributions, he has promoted our sports department at schools and events. Will Astley (Beacon Trophy celebrating excellence) Will, who is studying for a Foundation Degree in Agriculture with Dairy Herd Management, came runnerup in the UK Dairy Student of the Year, a prestigious national competition to identify talented and ambitious students. The judges commended Will for his high calibre performance after just one year of study.

Front Cover: Laura Freeman with the ‘Pets at Home’ award for outstanding effort and best student Group ‘A’, Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management


Equine and agriculture students Alice Morley, Emily worthington, Jessica Hall, Lottie Firma, Jade Fisher, Fflur Davies and Beth Ford celebrate

Doug Powley, Eliza Waldron and Stuart Plant with Chair of Governors Emily Thrane, Dame Ruth Silver and Principal Meredydd David

Animal management award winners Laura Freeman, Tanya Hulme, Graham Drew, Sean Hennessy, Abigayle Dempsey and Jon Weedon

Star students Will Astley, Eliza Waldron, Doug Powley and Stuart Plant with Christine Gaskell, Emily Thrane and Meredydd David

Issue 23

Raising Standards Inspiring Achievement

Best Foundation student Craig Burgess

Construction stars Spencer Deppner, Jolene Marshall, Ryan Sheridan and Nathan Everall

Forestry and arboriculture top students John Tunstall and Daniel McKennan

Top equine students Molly Ojari and Sarah Kennett

Goksel Cil with the Dr. WE Shewell-Cooper Award for best horticulture student

Floristry award winners Sally Davies and Kelly Longman

Award winning food manufacture students Laura Broome, Jess Davies, Alex Mangnall and Andrew Young

Top Level 3 agricultural students Thomas Hassall, Jessica Hall, Stephen Gooch and Owen Davies

Institute of Motor Industry top student Matthew McConachie

Top engineering students Rob Gratton, Dewi Griffith and Thomas Taylor

Top sport performance students Amy Roberts, Stuart Plant, George Gorse and Basheer Tanha


Building investment continues

Reaseheath’s continuing investment in specialist technical and educational facilities has this year resulted in the opening of over £3million worth of new buildings including a dining and social area, an adventure sports centre and the John Platt Centre for Agriculture. A further £7m investment is planned for further halls of residence and sporting facilities including a fitness centre and floodlit pitch. The college’s Food Innovation Centre, a £7m plus investment completed last year, is earning dividends by catering for the booming food and drink industry including agricultural production. This is the fastest growing manufacturing industry in the UK and also its fastest growing export industry. The good news for students studying food manufacture and product design is that the industry offers a high number of job opportunities paid at well above the national average.

Top marks for Reaseheath’s animal centre Our animal management centre and zoo received top marks from the head of one of the government’s most influential funding agencies. Peter Lauener, Chief Executive of the Education Funding Agency (EFA) officially opened our unique teaching centre. The EFA champions young people’s learning and is responsible for education in England’s schools, colleges and independent providers. After a tour and talking to staff and students, Mr Lauener said: “It has been a great privilege to see this wonderful centre. It is, without doubt, the best animal management facility for Further Education in the country and is quite outstanding. “The staff are very knowledgeable and know the importance of learning which links directly into industry and then to jobs. Reaseheath plays a great role in helping young people make the most

of themselves. It’s obvious that students at all levels enjoy learning here, and this enables them to reach their potential, get meaningful jobs and play a full part in society.” We have invested £5 million into the animal centre, which is designed to integrate students with the animals they are studying. It has 42 specialist staff, over 1,000 resident animals and is equipped with cutting edge, industry standard, facilities. Mr Lauener had visited us previously and was so impressed that he asked to return. Said Principal Meredydd David: “We were delighted to welcome Peter back and to show him our wonderful teaching facilities. We were thrilled that he acknowledged our expertise and our strong links with industry, both of which enable us to deliver relevant, top class, education and training to students.”

Peter Lauener meets student Laura Alcock and Harley the Newfoundland


Peter Lauener unveils the plaque watched by Animal Centre Manager Nick Davies, Principal Meredydd David, Chair of Governors Emily Thrane, Curriculum Area Managers Dan Weetman and Stephanie Frost and Head of Department Sarah Williams.

Veterinary nursing room opens Our new veterinary nursing room is fully operational and in use by students on our Level 2 Diploma for Veterinary Care Assistants. The dedicated room is kitted out as in a veterinary practice, with preparation, x-ray, operating and recovery areas and a dispensary. The x-ray machine was donated by Xograph, the largest independent x-ray company in the UK.

In addition to the Level 2 Diploma, we will offer a Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing from September. We showed off our new facilities to potential students and employers, using the opportunity to raise funds for our local RSPCA branch. For further information contact our Courses Hotline 01270 613242 Email enquiries@

First to qualify - vet care assistants Emma Turner, Luisa Tunnicliffe, Beth Hodgson, Lucy Davies, Rebekah Fryer and Romana Bloor

Raising Standards Inspiring Achievement

Issue 23

! s u o t y a d h t r i Happy 90 B th

Record crowds joined in our 90th birthday celebrations - the focus of this year’s Family Festival. Thousands of visitors enjoyed activities and displays, many depicting Reaseheath Through the Ages. Among highlights were guest appearances from Rico and Sultan, two horses who shared the star role of ‘Joey’ in War Horse, the blockbuster film set in World War I. The equine stars were part of The Devil’s Horsemen stunt team, who performed a daring display of trick riding at our equestrian centre. Rico, who appeared on the red carpet for the London premier of War Horse, also met the public for an autograph signing session. Other attractions included the Clwyd Axemen and the Meerkats Massive, a gang of six foot meerkats which scurried around campus.

The action packed programme also featured sheep and calf shows, a fun dog show, sheep shearing, a farmers’ and craft market, tours of the college’s zoo, a garden build competition, cheese and cake making, engineering displays and the chance to try out our indoor climbing wall and outdoor high ropes course. Said Principal Meredydd David: “Once again the Reaseheath team delivered a fabulous family festival for thousands of people. It was truly fantastic to see so many people of all ages having such a great time. I heard many compliments about the wonderful demonstrations and displays put on throughout the day, and about our friendly and helpful staff and students. “Each year seems to be even better than the last and the crowds this year

Sally Harris, Helen Tudor, Angela Webster and Goksel Cil with their winning garden

Camilla Naprous and Tom Cox of The Devil’s Horsemen in action

Laura Sanderson and Ralphie - best in show

broke all records. As well as being a shop window for the skills of our students, the festival also makes a fantastic contribution to our local community and has become a not to be missed event for many people. It is a great opportunity to see Reaseheath at its best.” HE Marketing Officer Dawn Lanceley with two of the Meerkat Massive

A visitor takes a leap of faith

‘Joey’ meets the public


Reaseheath RAG special

This year our caring students and staff raised a spectacular £13,000 for local charities.

Over £9,000 from RAG (Raising and Giving) activities was handed over to The Oliver King Foundation at the students’ summer ball. The charity aims to raise awareness of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS), a life threatening condition which claims the lives of 12 apparently healthy young people a week. Oliver died suddenly at the age of 12 from SADS - the same condition that affected high profile footballer Fabrice Muamba. The charity wants to install defibrillators into schools, sports centres and public buildings and to give young people over 14 the chance of having a simple heart check-up. Paying tribute to our student fundraisers, Oliver’s father Mark King said: “We are very touched that Reaseheath’s young people care enough to support our charity. We didn’t envisage that the college would raise this much money and we are very grateful.

The Three Peaks team during their challenge


This money alone is sufficient to install defibrillators into ten schools. We lose 1,000 young people a year through SADS, yet it can be picked up easily through tests and treated.” In addition, we raised over £4,000 for other charities including the North West Air Ambulance, MacMillan Cancer Support, the Poppy Appeal and Sport Relief. Over the past 25 years, Reaseheath’s students and staff have raised an amazing £170,000 for local charities - and had fun at the same time. Here are just some of this year’s fundraising events.

Three Peaks Challenge Our Principal Meredydd David, Head of IT Rob Brown, Marketing Manager Glyn Ferriday, RDPE Livestock Northwest Facilitator Lesley Innes, Joinery Course Manager Dave Morgan, Business Support Apprentice Beccy Glassford, Animal Management Course Manager Holly Borowski and Holly’s partner Barry Okane tackled the Three Peaks Challenge. Student Services CoOrdinator Mark Hardy drove the team between Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike in Cumbria, and

Mark and Joanne King receive the RAG cheque from Sophie Pegg, watched by Student Union members Douglas Powley, Abigail Brown, Ben Lloyd, Amy Knight, Adrianne Grant, Eliza Waldron, Harriet Foale, Harriet Lane and Lionel Smith

Snowdon in Wales. Most of the climbers made the final peak in just over 24 hours. Said Meredydd: “This was a great team effort and the support, help and encouragement given by all was important to our success.”

Olympics-style Triathlon Assistant Student Services Manager Greg Otto, Students Association President Lionel Smith, agriculture instructor Nick Kennedy, telehandling instructor Chris Mann and agriculture lecturer Natalie Gascoyne completed their own Olympics-style triathlon. The four day challenge saw the team cycling 110 miles

across the width of England from Whitehaven to Whitley Bay, kayaking the 21 mile length of Loch Ness in high winds and climbing Ben Nevis’ CMD north face arête route, one of the mountain’s most difficult ridges. They were joined for part of the action by Natalie’s partner Simon Parker and the team were supported by Jane Richardson and Lucy Shenton. All team members are accomplished sports people and Natalie, Greg and Lionel completed a John O’Groats to Lands End cycle ride for RAG last year. Said Nat: “It was great fun and a great achievement. The main problem was trying to find something as good as last year’s challenge!”

The Triathlon team celebrate the end of the two day cycling marathon

Issue 23

Raising Standards Inspiring Achievement

Celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee: (Back row): Georgia Plant, Jazz Clark, Heather Newton, Emma Chapman, Sadie McFall, Alan Shrigley, Fiona Jones, Josh Sefton and Harriet Lane (Front row) Doug Powley, Abi Brown and Lionel Smith.

Diamond Jubilee celebrations We celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in style with a tea party on the lawn in front of the college’s lake. Organised by the Students Association, the event included patriotic face painting, a barbecue and traditional sports. As well as marking Her Majesty’s 60 years on the throne, the tea party gave students another opportunity to raise money for RAG. Said Students Association President Lionel Smith: “This was a unique opportunity to celebrate a historic event, have fun and raise money for charity, all at the same time.”

Students rock at RAG ball Our students rocked as they

raised funds for charity at a Hollywood themed ball. Organised by Level 3 Extended Diploma Events Management students Katy Thorburn, Ben Lloyd, Jamie Harrison, Katie McRoberts and Jen Taylor, the ball was attended by almost 200 students. The event featured ‘Oscars’ style awards to the best dressed students. Sponsors included WAAP Event Services and SEARCH Event Management. Actively managing an event is an important part of course assessment and our student organisers were delighted at the ball’s success. Said Team Leader Katy Thorburn: “We had a really good night out and also raised money for RAG. We’d like to thank everyone who helped, particularly our sponsors.”

ABC Digital’s Peter Mabbutt hands over a cheque to student fundraisers

Cheque boosts RAG appeal Our charity appeal received a major boost thanks to the generosity of Crewe company ABC Digital Solutions Ltd. The company, which is the main supplier of our college photocopiers and printers, donated £500 to our RAG fund. ABC Digital’s Sales Director Peter Mabbutt said: “We were delighted to make a donation to Reaseheath’s RAG appeal, particularly as the money goes to such worthy causes. It has also been a good opportunity for us to celebrate our six year successful partnership with the college.

Mark runs marathon for charity

Student Services CoOrdinator Mark Hardy put his best foot forward to raise fund for charity by completing the Virgin London Marathon. Mark completed the 26.2 mile race in a personal best time of 5 hours 12 minutes, one hour faster than his previous attempt. He raised £2,300 in sponsorship for the North West Air Ambulance (NWAA) and intends to increase this to £4,000 through other local fund raising events. Mark, who completed the London Flora Marathon in 2009 and the Rome Marathon in 2010, said: “The London crowds were really supportive and the atmosphere was fantastic. I loved every second of the race.” Mark became aware of the NWAA and the work it does rescuing seriously injured people from hard to access areas when the organisation was selected as last year’s RAG charity.

Charity collections

Ben Lloyd, Katy Thorburn, Jamie Harrison, Katie McRoberts and Jen Taylor prepare for the Hollywood style ball

Mark Hardy runs the London marathon

Activities on campus have included walking on hot coals, a tractor pull, discos, a sponsored stay awake and an evening with a hypnotist and we have held charity collections at local town centres and events. Dogs and their owners walked round campus and raised £200 for Sport Relief.


Study Tours African adventure Horticulture go Dutch

Plant hunters at Floriade 2012 Students and staff gather under a giant elephant sculpture at the Mapungubwe game reserve

Animal management students were the first group to venture into unchartered territory when they stayed in a developing wildlife reserve in South Africa. Our students, who are studying for degrees in wildlife conservation, zoo management or animal behaviour and welfare, visited the Limpopo region to study eco systems. The group of 11 and two staff were based in a 50,000 acre former hunting lodge being developed as part of a trans frontier park. The ambitious plan will develop a linear reserve bordering the Limpopo River in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, allowing animals to move freely between the three countries.

Our students were privileged to make the first ever survey of the area’s wildlife and recorded healthy populations of elephant, giraffe, wildebeest, impala, warthog and zebra. Exciting sightings included leopard, lion, brown hyena, a rare white impala and bush pigs. The group also enjoyed bush walks, set camera traps, visited a cheetah conservation centre and met a dog breeder who raises Anatolian shepherd dogs to protect the flocks of local communities. The tour was designed by African Conservation Experience. Group leader Emma Caskie said: “This was a brilliant experience. We felt we were making a real contribution to wildlife conservation.”

Nearly 50 horticulture, garden design and floristry students and staff took the opportunity to visit Floriade 2012, a oncein-a-decade world showcase of horticultural excellence held in Holland. With 66 hectares of parkland, five themed worlds and over 200 model gardens to explore, our group absorbed the best in contemporary and classic garden design. While the contemplative section offered natural swimming pools, meditation gardens and even a fire breathing dragon, the science based ‘Green Engine’ looked at man’s dependence on plants and how horticulture can mitigate the effect of climate change. Our students were able to appreciate the diversity of the production industry and

Adventure on the high seas Adventure sports students sailed over 1000 nautical miles in ocean going yachts during a week long voyage which took them along the south coast of England and to France and the Channel islands. Twenty nine students crewed the yachts Rona, Donald Searle and Merrilyn which are run by the Rona Trust. The charity offers young people and people with disabilities the opportunity to learn responsibility, resourcefulness and teamwork.


This is the second year that our students have enjoyed the adventure and some have been inspired to join tall ships races, complete watch leader training and study yacht operations at degree level. Alex Dromgoole’s off shore sailing experience has helped him to secure a sponsored place with Clyde Marine to study as a deck officer in the merchant navy. He said: “This opportunity developed my seamanship skills and made me realise the importance

its economic significance on a global level. Innovation was very much to the fore, with interactive displays of hydroponics and the use of LED lighting and computers in production. Our florists were blown away by Villa Flora, the biggest indoor flower exhibition in Europe, where designers from across the world were showcasing enormous displays and giving stunning masterclasses. The next day our group visited De Tuinen van Appeltern, a permanent display with more than 200 gardens and the largest display of hardy plants in Holland. The final morning was spent at a nursery hunting down ‘must haves’ and the coach returned overflowing with plants! An evening under sail for Adventure Sports

of working together in a challenging environment.” The sail training is an addition to the sailing programme offered by our adventure sports department.

Royal Yachting Association Senior Instructor Tim Reeves said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the students to transfer their dinghy sailing skills to large ocean racing yachts.”

Issue 23

Raising Standards Inspiring Achievement

Snow tour Adventure sports students learned about the winter tourism industry and developed their skiing and snowboarding skills during a visit to the Alpine ski resort of Risoul. Twenty-one students spent their time on the slopes, exploring 180 kilometres of mountain runs. Beginners gained confidence and progressed quickly while advanced skiers and boarders honed their skills. The study tour gave our students the opportunity to

see how a winter sports trip is organised and to experience life in a resort, including the reality of hard work and long days! Two former Level 3 Extended Diploma in Adventure Sports students are already working in a nearby resort and, judging by the enjoyment of the week, there will be more to follow! * Nearer home, Level 3 Diploma students went to the Snowdonia National Park for a wild camp, hiking, climbing and canoeing expedition. Our

Engineers experience European excellence

Students enjoy their winter sports tour

students gained experience in a wide range of expedition skills and put into practice lessons that have been

learned during their course. Hopefully these new skills will be useful during work experience placements.

Food students go Stateside

Engineering students gather at the Cat Mitsubishi manufacturing hub

We may have been running them for 20 years, but the annual agricultural engineering study tour to Holland and Germany had lost none of its sparkle for the 31 students and accompanying staff who visited European manufacturing centres of excellence. A guided tour and demonstration of machinery at the CAT Mitsubishi forklift truck manufacturing hub in Almere, Holland, gave an insight into production line manufacturing and the chance to see the latest models. This was the sixth consecutive year that the company had hosted a visit from Reaseheath and we were welcomed like old friends.

Our group also visited Koop van der Wal, a well established agricultural machinery importer and exporter, and went sight seeing in Amsterdam. It was then off to Germany for a tour round CLAAS’ global headquarters and technoparc in Harsewinkel. We have a strong partnership with CLAAS and our students were able to meet key people within the company as well as drive some very impressive machinery. They also saw advanced engineering technology and processes and gained a unique insight into how the machinery is assembled. Another highlight was a factory tour with Amazone, agricultural machinery manufacturers, in Hasbergen-Gaste.

USA factory tours are on the menu for food students

Ten lucky students on our Advanced Diploma in Manufacturing and Product Design course travelled to Tennessee to visit food manufacturers and sample a little Stateside hospitality. Their busy schedule included behind the scenes visits to a Yoplait yoghurt factory and to General Mills and Heritage Dairies, allowing our students to compare manufacturing practices in the UK with those in America. They also had time to visit a Jack Daniels distillery and to see the sights in Nashville. Once again the group linked up with students and lecturers

from Middle Tennessee State University, who generously hosted several visits as well as providing a Tennessee breakfast of ham, biscuits and chocolate gravy - a speciality of the area! This was the third time our food students have visited the US. Students and staff would like to thank Central Catering Ltd for kindly sponsoring the eight day tour. Student Alex Mangnall said: “It was an amazing trip. It was good to see how food manufacturing is done in other countries and great to spend time with other students outside of college.�


Study Tours We reign in Spain again Mixing business with pleasure

Sightseeing in Paris for our business and events students

Celebrations in Spain for our football team

Our footballers returned triumphant from a tournament in Salou, Spain, after winning the trophy for the fourth consecutive year. We have played a total of 11 games in Spain against Under 19 teams from football academies - and we have not yet lost a match! This year’s achievement was even more remarkable because we took 16 mixed ability but enthusiastic players rather than selecting from our first and second teams.

This was our sixth tour abroad. We played two competitive games against La Floresta FC (2-1 win) and Union Astorga (3-3 draw) and also played a friendly game. The team was accompanied by Crewe Alex Manager Steve Davis and by Programme Leader for Sports Studies Kev Cunningham. Said Kev: “The tour was a great success and the team played to a very

high level. Winning the tournament again was quite an achievement, particularly considering the high standard of football that the Spanish teams play. “This was a contrasting group of lads who didn’t know each other all that well, but they were a real credit to me, Steve and Reaseheath. I am so proud of them for what they achieved, and, more importantly, how they achieved it.”

Horse power in Ireland

Cantering along the beach and raft surfing were two top activities enjoyed by 16 Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horse Management students during a five day study tour to Ireland. In a repeat of last year’s successful trip, the students stayed at the Donegal Language School. An action packed programme also included a visit to the National Stud of Ireland at Kildare, home to some of the world’s top thoroughbred stallions. FE Programme Leader Sarah Turner, who led the


Beach fun in Ireland for our equine students

group, said: “We all had a great time. The weather

was good and the students enjoyed all the activities.”

Business studies and events management students visited Paris to attend the Business Live conference. Speakers included Joe McEwan, Communities Manager at Innocent, the UK and Europe’s favourite brand of fruit smoothie. Our students heard how the company had grown to take an 80% of the UK market share and turns over in excess of £100 million each year. Another speaker was Nina Dar, Managing Director of Cheeky Monkey Business Solutions. Her challenging discussion encouraged one of our students to address the packed conference on how a new technology idea could change transport as we know it! Our group also heard Giles Andrew describe how he set up the online social lending business Zopa, now competing with traditional banks. Apart from the conference, our students had plenty of time to tour Paris, where those with a head for heights climbed the Eiffel Tower while others visited historical attractions like Notre Dame cathedral. They also visited Disneyland and the Walt Disney Studios.

Issue 23

Raising Standards Inspiring Achievement

Petrolhead heaven for motor vehicle students

Motor vehicle students and staff were in petrolhead heaven during a trip to the Goodwood Festival of Speed - the largest car culture event in the world. The international celebration of motorsport and all things automotive lived up to its reputation with a dazzling lineup of cars and stars. Our group spent a full three days looking at a diverse collection of cars, motorbikes, boats, planes, helicopters and microlights. Exhibits ranged from current F1 racers and 200mph supercars to steam powered carriages from the 19th century and Prince Charles’ baby Aston Martin. While our students were particularly interested in new

Motor vehicle students size up a Jaguar concept car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

Reaseheath sports turf students visit the world class Britannia Stadium

technology such as hybrid engines and electric concept cars, the activity that really got their pulses racing was being driven at speed across muddy tracks in a top range Porsche Cayenne 4 x 4! They also chatted to a star studded line-up of drivers including F1 superstars Lewis

Hamilton and Jenson Button and Tiff Needell, an ex racing driver who is now the test driver for tv series Fifth Gear. This was not the only action packed event enjoyed by our motor vehicle students – they also went to the World Rally Championships final round in North Wales.

Global travel for agriculture Big scale farming and coping with the climate were studied during our agriculture students’ bi-annual USA tour. Thanks to our well established links with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, our students were able to catch up with cutting edge research and visited a range of large high tech farms. Our students attended lectures at the university including a Q&A session with Professor Michael Collins, a leading expert in Johne’s Disease in livestock. They also visited Larson Acres dairy farm, where a cross ventilation barn cooling system helps 3,000 high yielding cattle to cope with extremes in temperature from minus 20C to plus 40C. Our group, a mix of Foundation Degree and Level 3 Extended Diploma students, also went to the ABS bull stud and to Hoards Dairy Farm, where the owners, the Knox family, continue to produce

Students see football at the top of its game

Agriculture students look at arable farming in Scotland

the Hoards Dairyman, a highly credible global magazine which is regarded as the American ‘bible’ for dairy farmers. Dairy lecturer Natalie Gascoyne said: “This was a great opportunity for our students to see large scale farming, particularly the high levels of animal welfare in these ultra modern facilities.” We run a study tour to the USA every other year, alternating these with trips to see the dairy industry in Canada. * Nearer home, 42 first year Level 3 students extended their knowledge of

regional farming by visiting a range of businesses on the Lancashire /Yorkshire border, looking at prime examples of farm diversification, agrienvironmental management and upland farming. A trip with an emphasis on Scottish agriculture saw 17 Level 2 Diploma students looking at crop production at Luffness Mains, East Lothian, a leading arable business growing top quality potatoes for Tesco and other retailers. They also visited Mackies crisp factory and saw a leading Aberdeen Angus suckler herd.

Sports turf students learned about the demands of maintaining a world class sports facility during a behindthe-scenes tour of Stoke City Football Club. The students enjoyed a guided tour around the Premiership club’s, multi million pound training ground at Clayton Wood and also visited the 28,400 capacity Britannia Stadium. At Clayton Wood the students learned about the maintenance requirements of the £750,000 artificial pitch and the renovation and preparation of the traditional grass pitches. Head Groundsman Andy Jackson described the club’s efforts to be less reliant on chemicals. The group also evaluated the maintenance equipment used to keep the pitches in top condition and visited the new training building. At the Britannia Stadium they met up with former student Rob Aked, who was offered the post of assistant groundsman as soon as he completed his qualification. A tour of the stadium’s refurbished changing rooms, tunnel and media interview areas was followed by an inspection of the stadium pitch, which the previous day had hosted a televised premiership game.


Will is the cream of the crop Emily’s Will Astley is officially one of the country’s most talented dairy students after reaching the finals of the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) Dairy Crest Dairy Student of the Year. A Foundation Degree in Agriculture student, Will gave a presentation on the future of dairy farming at the London final before a panel of leading industry experts. Despite just missing out on the top prize of £1,000, he was delighted to have battled it out against entrants from top universities. Keenly interested in dairy cow genetics, Will won his way through a preliminary round held at our own commercial dairy unit, when entrants were interviewed on how they would improve efficiency and service to the industry. The semi finals were held in Dairy Crest’s processing facility in Gloucestershire.

winning ideas

Will Astley is congratulated by Reaseheath Course Manager Jane Richardson, Nick Everington and Dairy Crest Procurement Director Mike Sheldon

Will, who hopes eventually to manage his family’s farm in Powys, said: “I was thrilled to get to the finals of this award, which is one of the most prestigious in the industry. I’ve been interested in genetics since I was 10, when my parents allowed me to select which bull to use on our dairy herd. My ambition is to have one of the leading dairy herds in the country.”

RABDF’s Chief Executive Nick Everington commented: “Rewarding success and achievement and promoting career opportunities in the British dairy sector are key activities for our association. We need more of these intelligent and highly motivated young farmers driving our industry forward, enabling it to compete in world markets and securing its future.”

Young shepherd is the best baa none Promising young farmer Guto Jones was the best baa none in a new competition to find Reaseheath’s Young Shepherd of the Year. Guto, 17, a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture student, clinched the title after proving he has the all round skills to make a successful commercial shepherd. He took the lead after completing challenges including sheep shearing, health care, stock judging, all terrain vehicle handling and written questions and was presented with a trophy sponsored by HJ Lea Oakes, livestock feed suppliers. The competition followed the format of events run by the National Sheep Association and was judged to the same exacting standards by Reaseheath’s sheep unit manager Matthew Bagley, lecturers Phil Gibbon and


Reaseheath’s Young Shepherd of the Year Guto Jones with sheep unit manager Matthew Bagley

Graham Ashford and tutor James Bickerton. Guto’s family own a beef and sheep farm in mid Wales. A first year student, he will spend his middle year on work experience on a farm in the west Midlands before returning to Reaseheath for his final year. He said: “It was a new

experience for me to enter a competition like this, but it was really good fun.” Explained Matthew: “We decided to run this competition to encourage our students to reach the high practical and theoretical standards which they will need to progress within the industry.”

Emily Morris discussed her winning entry with Graham Ashford

Agriculture student Emily Morris won a national competition for an essay on breeding beef cattle for a more sustainable future. Emily, a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture student, took first prize in the British Cattle Breeders’ Club’s Student Essay Competition. She described how the farming industry could answer increased demand for high quality, affordable food without harming the environment or affecting animal welfare. She also looked ahead to new technologies which may help to achieve economic and environmental sustainability for future generations. She was helped to develop the theme by Course Manager Graham Ashford. Emily gave a presentation on her work in front of delegates at the annual British Cattle Conference and received a £100 prize. She explained: “A lot of global warming can be attributed to emissions from farming and these must be reduced if we are going to achieve the government’s 2020 targets. “I decided to look at ways in which beef cattle could give the best return while least affecting the environment. I looked at the breeds available, how the quality of food affects growth and at sustainable ways of keeping the animals healthy.” Emily, who hopes to become an agricultural consultant, lives on a sheep farm in north Wales.

Issue 23

Raising Standards Inspiring Achievement

Wildlife rescue under the spotlight Badger cubs Thor and Aphrodite gave animal management students a unique insight into the rehabilitation of British wildlife. The seven week old orphaned siblings were brought to college by Pauline Kidner, founder of Secret World Wildlife Rescue, a Somerset charity which cares for 5,000 animals a year ranging from harvest mice to red deer. Pauline told our students about the work done by dedicated rescue centres and how important it is that rescuers act responsibly and with the intention of returning animals to the wild. She also joined other industry experts at a Career Day on campus, when she described job opportunities and volunteering possibilities at rescue centres. It was Pauline’s second visit to Reaseheath and both times

Alexia Balatsoukas, Laura Barker and Stephanie Bradshaw-Birtles meet Pauline Kidner and one of the badger cubs

she has been accompanied by badger cubs. She explained: “Baby badgers are wonderful ambassadors for the work we do. They help to inspire young people about wildlife care, which is part of the curriculum for many courses at Reaseheath.” Alexia Balatsoukas, who is studying animal

management as part of her Access to HE qualification, said: “This has been a brilliant experience. To see a badger at this age is really something special.” Secret World Wildlife Rescue depends totally on donations to enable it to continue its work. For more details see

Primate research discussed at international symposium Research into the management of Reaseheath’s monkeys was a topic at an international conference. Deputy Animal Centre Manager Amy Dunbar presented findings from our training and enrichment programme to a global audience at the International New World Primate Symposium. The symposium, at Twycross Zoo, was attended by delegates from zoos and training establishments from all over the world. Amy delivered a talk on the training and enrichment of our spider monkeys and cotton top tamarins. Both species are part of a training

Reptile research shared

Deputy Animal Centre manager Amy Dunbar with one of our spider monkey

regime which allows staff and students to carry out daily husbandry and health checks, ensuring a high standard of welfare. A variety of enrichment has been provided for the monkeys for some years, allowing students to carry out detailed and unique

research projects for their final dissertations. Said Amy: “This was an amazing opportunity to share both our research findings and our future plans to a wide range of delegates. Everyone was very interested in the work we are doing with these wonderful species.”

Kevin Palmer examines a female adder

Research by reptile enthusiast Kevin Palmer into the habitat of the European adder is attracting widespread interest. The snake, Britain’s only venomous species, is in decline. Research by Kevin, an animal management lecturer, proves the importance of managing habitats correctly so they sustain and encourage viable populations. Kevin has been invited to share his research with the wider scientific community. He has been a speaker at the Amphibian and Reptile (ARC) South West Conference and at a Venom Day hosted by Bangor University Society and the British Herpetological Society. He has also published some short scientific papers through the British Herpetological Society, most recently about the preferred habitat of adders and how it can be better managed. Although the work is in its infancy, Kevin is consulting with local authorities and non government organisations to prevent further decline in the adder population.


Reaseheath leaps to the defence of frogs Our amphibian specialists jumped to help frogs, toads and newts in a Leap Day campaign. Talks by keepers and tours of our amphibian collection were held as part of an international event organised by conservation group Amphibian Ark. The aim was to encourage greater understanding of amphibian conservation, as half the world’s species are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss, pollution, disease and harvesting for food. Our animal management centre houses 20 species including endangered Mallorcan Midwife toads, poison dart frogs, Sardinian brook salamanders, sharp ribbed newts and a cane toad. As well as meeting resident amphibians, visitors were encouraged to attract native species into their gardens

Adam Mitchell shows a cane toad to 11 year-old visitors Shannon Kennedy and Alexandra Wheat-Hattersley

by building rockeries, log piles, wildlife ponds and bog gardens. Specialist keeper Adam Mitchell said: “This has been a great opportunity to engage the public in the work we are doing to conserve amphibians. Our visitors have been very interested and will hopefully take some ideas home.” We have just launched a Herpetological and

Entomological Society. Anyone interested in reptiles, amphibians or invertebrates can become involved. Toad patrols and visits to breeding and research centres are among events being organised. For further details on Reaseheath’s Herpetological Society contact Lauren Lane on 01270 613208, email

A week of creepy crawlies Reaseheath’s new Herpetological and Entomological Society offered a range of family activities to mark National Insect Week. The events were aimed at raising public awareness of British invertebrates and why we need to conserve them. The college zoo opened for three evening events which opened with ‘Butterflies and Moths’, an opportunity for visitors to identify the insects which visit their garden flowers and to learn how to make a butterfly feeder to attract them. Then it was the turn of ‘Insect Investigators’, when anyone interested in creepy crawlies were encouraged to search wildlife stacks, build a bug house and identify insects that had been caught in traps.


Herpetological member Sean Hennessy examines Betty, a house spider, during Insect Week

‘Spiders, Slugs and Snails’ gave visitors the opportunity to learn more about the life of spiders, why slugs love gardens and why some of Britain’s snails are endangered. As well as learning about insects, families were also able

to stroll round our zoo, which has over 1,000 mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Invertebrate keeper Lauren Lane said: “It is very important that we appreciate the critical role that insects play in the chain of life.”

Careers webchat goes live

Kate Hayward and Sarah Turner join Horse & Hound web editor Carol Phillips to give career advice

Our equine lecturers teamed up with the equestrian ‘bible’ Horse & Hound to present a live careers webchat. Senior equine science course manager Kate Hayward, who has been involved in the development of our degree programmes, and Further Education Programme Leader Sarah Turner went online alongside H&H web editor Carol Phillips to answer questions on university, training and life in the equestrian industry. The panel was inundated with queries from potential students eager to hear about the Reaseheath Experience and from graduates requiring advice on their next career step. The importance of practical experience alongside theoretical knowledge was quickly identified as being of prime importance, both for the job seeker and for the employer. Advised Kate: “Degrees are becoming more necessary, but practical experience is equally important if you are looking for a job in the equine industry. “At Reaseheath we make sure that every student goes away with relevant practical skills and training in horse and business management. What’s equally important is that we support our students and help them to make the right career choice.”

Issue 23

Raising Standards Inspiring Achievement

Showjumper Ben brings the ‘X factor’ Britain’s top show jumper Ben Maher gave a worldclass demonstration at our Equestrian Centre. Ben, 29, who will represent Team GB at the London Olympics, gave a rare masterclass which also featured fellow showjumper Geoff Billington. Geoff has twice been a member of the British Olympic squad. The popular pair had an appreciative audience on the edge of their seats as Ben, who was riding two of Geoff’s horses for the first time, demonstrated training techniques for novice and advanced horses. Two rising stars from Cheshire Hunt North Pony Club, Sammy Jo Clare, 16, and Xanthe Goldsack,12, also received top tips from Ben.

Olympic showjumper Ben Maher demonstrates his world class skill

By bringing in young riders we hoped to introduce relevant, lower level techniques which spectators could apply to their own horses at home. Ben, who has already represented Britain at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said: “I think the event went very well and I hope that everyone learned something from it. Reaseheath staff were very

welcoming and the college has great facilities.” The masterclass was part of a series of events at our indoor riding arena, which was opened by HRH The Queen in 2010. The event was held in partnership with Martin Collins Enterprises, who manufactured and installed the Ecotrack competition surface in the arena.

Equine team rides high Four equine students were riding high after being placed in a hotly contested inter college team competition. Charlotte Firman, Rebecca Humphries, Alex Jefferies and Kirsty Leach, who are studying for their Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horse Management, competed against teams from seven other leading land-based colleges. The competition, which covers dressage, showjumping and an equestrian quiz, was held at Warwickshire College, with the students competing on horses they have not ridden before. The final marks were so close that the Reaseheath team were just one point behind three teams which tied jointly for first place. Our team was trained and accompanied by instructors Louise Challenger and Sam Brentnall.

Equine team provides top level service at Bolesworth

Our inter-college team celebrates success

Said Sam: “The girls did really well and were fantastic ambassadors for the college. These events are a great opportunity for our students

to show off their riding skills and knowledge as well as meet students with the same interests from other colleges.”

Reaseheath’s arena team at the Bolesworth Classic

Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horse Management students mixed with some of the country’s best showjumpers when they provided the arena party for the Bolesworth Classic showjumping festival. A 17 strong team provided a crucial service in three arenas for the prestigious four day Cheshire event. The classes attracted competitors from throughout the country and the student team, led by First Year Course Manager Kerry Nunns, was kept busy building and changing the courses. They gained top tips from professional course builders and also carried out other duties which included helping in the camel racing! As well as enjoying an evening social event on the showground, the team received a donation for a small local charity. Potential degree level equine students also spent part of a college ‘visit’ day at Bolesworth, enjoying a course walk with winning rider Geoff Billington and a behind the scenes visit to the show stables. They were joined by Foundation students studying Level 1 Horse Care.


Italians say cheese! Cheese detective Peter Papprill and our own dairy experts joined forces to give Italian students a taste of the UK’s best farmhouse cheeses. The students, from a catering school near Milan, northern Italy, were visiting the area as guests of Liverpool Community College. The 22 strong group chose to visit us because of our international reputation for delivering training in dairy manufacturing. Many of the UK’s artesan cheesemakers are former Reaseheath students. As well as sampling regional cheeses, the students toured our processing and manufacturing halls and watched cheese making. The visit was part of a European project to encourage stronger links between

Say cheese! Cheese detective Peter Papprill offers student Erika Carraglia and Italian Consul Dr Nunzia Bertali a taste of a regional cheese

young people in Italy and in England’s north west. Italian Consul Dr Nunzia Bertali said: “ This has been a fantastic visit. It has given us the opportunity to experience different cheeses, to mix with young people from a different nationality and also to see the amazing facilities which Reaseheath offers its students.”

Peter Papprill, who is famed for his support of local producers, said: “Cheese is a big part of Italian upbringing, particularly in the north where they are passionate about regional cheeses. The group were pleasantly surprised at how good our local cheese tastes.”

Eden trainees are all winners! All 23 Project Eden trainee dairy technologists were in line for special honours after completing the first year of their Foundation Degree in Dairy Technology. While Stephen Woods of Dairy Crest was selected as best academic student and Chris Walden of Cotteswold Dairy received the award for best practical student, the group refused to be divided when it came to choosing the Dairy Culture Student of the Year. This award is judged by the students themselves and this year the group decided that they should all be winners - or no-one! Commented Project Eden Course Manager Marion Pusey: “This reflects how well the students have bonded as a group. They are very supportive of each other in every aspect of the course.” The technologists, some


We’re all winners - first year Project Eden students

of whom are experienced and others who are new to the food industry, attend Reaseheath’s Eden International Dairy Academy for block release training and will graduate with a globally recognised qualification. The education initiative is

supported by key players in the dairy industry and is aimed at producing worldclass staff. The awards were presented by Jonathan Cooper, Skills Consultant for the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink.

Dairy learning discussed

AEDIL members enjoy Reaseheath hospitality

The Association for European Dairy Industry Learning (AEDIL) chose to hold their annual European board meeting at our Food Innovation Centre. Thirteen delegates representing Europeanwide dairy training schools discussed educational innovations and opportunities before enjoying lunch, a tour of our food processing plant and a guided tour of Nantwich. The evening’s entertainment centred on a traditional English pub with live folk music. The following day the group strolled round our campus zoo before heading off to the Llandyrnog Creamery in north Wales for a factory visit. The programme was organised by Julie Bent, Training and Communication Co-ordinator. Vice Principal Dave Kynaston, who last year attended the AEDIL meeting in Sweden, said: “It was an honour to host the group and an ideal opportunity to strengthen our international links with the association. It was also a good opportunity for delegates to see what we offer. They were very impressed with our facilities and enjoyed learning something about our English heritage too.”

Issue 23

Raising Standards Inspiring Achievement

Reaseheath to train heritage gardeners Gardeners of the future will be taught how to manage heritage sites in two new courses being offered by The National Trust and delivered by Reaseheath. The courses represent the charity’s most significant development in horticultural training for 20 years and replace its careership training scheme. Co-funded by the National Gardens Scheme, they lead to qualifications in heritage gardening. Mike Calnan, Head of Gardens at The National Trust, said: “These new

courses have been designed to develop the modern skills needed to sustainably manage major heritage gardens for the future. We believe they are a significant development for the sector and fill the training gap between existing botanic horticulture and amenity gardening diplomas.” The one-year foundation certificate will develop the essential practical skills needed to look after and nurture heritage gardens, and is aligned with the Royal Horticultural Society’s Level 2 in Horticulture. The two-year

Diploma in Heritage Gardening is unique to The National Trust and is available to those with prior experience and relevant qualifications. Trainees will spend 10 weeks a year at Reaseheath developing their horticultural knowledge and the rest of their time gaining practical experience with The National Trust. Further information gardencareers.

Young horticulturist is top of the tree National Trust trainee gardener Rhiannon Harris proved she is among the nation’s best by coming fourth in the finals of the Institute of Horticulture’s ‘Young Horticulturalist of the Year’. Rhiannon, 28, was a finalist at the prestigious competition, held at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh. She completed ten rounds on subjects ranging from plant identification and science to tools and equipment. Rhiannon studies at Reaseheath for ten weeks a year and spends the rest of her time training at Chartwell, Kent, the former home of Winston Churchill. She said: “The competition was a completely new experience for me but one that I really enjoyed. I value working for the National Trust and the efforts it makes to preserve the nation’s historic houses and gardens for the enjoyment of the public.

Successful young horticulturist Rhiannon Harris

My success was also due to the expertise and enthusiasm of my college lecturers.” Course Manager Chard Spicer said: “I am very proud of Rhiannon’s achievements. She

represented both Reaseheath and The National Trust extremely well, particularly as she was competing against some of the best young horticulturists in the country.”

Florist is model bride

Model for the day Rowena Burns

Floristry student Rowena Burns became a model for the day in a fairytale fashion shoot. Rowena was on work placement at Ian Lloyd’s The Flower Shop when she was chosen to model the latest floral bridal designs for an advertising campaign. The dream assignment led to Rowena taking centre stage in a photo and video shoot at historic Arley Hall in Cheshire. Rowena wore vintage wedding dresses and had her hair and make-up done professionally to show off the flowers at their best. The designs included a spectacular parasol covered with orchids, a floral handbag and innovative floral jewellery. Rowena, a Level 3 Diploma in Floristry student, said: “This was the first time I had done any modelling and it was a fantastic experience. It was also great to see Ian’s creative ideas.” Ian Lloyd is recognised as one of Cheshire’s top florists and regularly takes our students for work experience. He said: “I am delighted to be working in partnership with Reaseheath. As well as being a great trainee florist, Rowena was also a fantastic model for our bridal shoot.”


Waste week efforts win eco award

Reaseheath has won a prestigious Eco College Silver Award, thanks mainly to the efforts of adventure sports and animal management students to reduce the college’s environmental impact. The Level 3 Extended Diploma students led activities during Waste Week to encourage their peers to think about waste and the effect it has on the outdoors. A successful eco orienteering challenge, taken up by 150 students, encouraged participants to think about their environmental impact. Our adventure sports students created a permanent orienteering course around campus and attached questions to the posts. They

also talked to fellow students about the problems posed by rubbish. Said one of the organisers, Lucy Williams: “It was good to see students from other courses trying something new and having a positive impact on the environment. Keeping the outdoors clean allows us and others to enjoy our open spaces. Rubbish also impacts on wildlife, causing damage to natural habitats.” Another Waste Week activity involved adventure sports students leading teams from countryside management and engineering on a mission to clear up rubbish from the college lake. Both activities

formed part of a module on impact and sustainability. We have held environmental campaigns such as Waste Week for the past two years. Said Eco College Co-ordinator Richard Hathway: “This is a fantastic opportunity to get the whole college to learn about waste and what we can do to reduce the amount going to landfill by reusing, recycling and composting.”

Realising the value of wild nature Our adventure sports students discussed the value of wild nature with leading British explorer and author Colin Mortlake. Colin, who is renowned for his support for the natural environment and sustainable living, spoke to 80 students who are studying conservation and sustainability. As well as describing some of the challenges faced during his worldwide expeditions, Colin spoke of the part wild places play in people’s wellbeing and of the need to respect and preserve them. One of Britain’s top rock climbers in the 1960s, Colin is also expert in white water kayaking and surfing and has led expeditions among mountains and along wilderness coastlines. He is the founder of the National Association for Outdoor Education and of the Adventure and Environmental Awareness Group.


Colin Mortlake discusses the value of nature with students Jess Toombs and Kristan Hudson

Eco College Co-ordinator Richard Hathway said: “Colin challenged the students’ views on the use of wild places and their importance for mental, physical and spiritual uses. He also spoke on why he believes the spirit of adventure is important in today’s

materialistic society. “Hopefully his talk helped our students to formulate their own ideas and beliefs of how to use wild places. This in-depth type of discussion is also good preparation for students who are planning to go on to university.”

Outdoor sports get royal approval

HRH Princess Anne talks to Richard Hathway and Tim Reeves

HRH Princess Anne discussed the benefits of outdoor activities with our adventure sports staff during the opening of a town centre fitness centre. The royal visitor chatted to Curriculum Area manager Tim Reeves and course manager Richard Hathway at the official opening of Jubilee 2, Newcastle under Lyme’s new fitness centre. The pair, accompanied by a team of students, were providing a technical service at the climbing wall, explaining to dignitaries and other climbers how the facility can be used. Our adventure sports department provides qualifications that local employers need in order to run sporting facilities like climbing walls, gyms and fitness centres. We have partnerships with many local sports centres and have provided Jubilee 2 with students on work experience and with general advice about facilities including the climbing wall. Said Tim: “Princess Anne spent about 15 minutes talking to us about the benefits of these facilities and how children need exposure to risk in a controlled way, rather than being wrapped up in cotton wool. She was very informed about the youth of today and had strong traditional views on what kids are missing out on.”

Issue 23

Raising Standards Inspiring Achievement

Milking equipment first Heavy plant for Engineering Our Engineering department celebrated the successful launch of a unique professional career development programme for the milking equipment industry. Offered only through Reaseheath, the Landbased Technician Accreditation Scheme, run in partnership with the Milking Equipment Association, offers new entrants and current employees the opportunity to progress to the highly respected status of Engineering Technician via four tiers of training. Designed in partnership with the UK’s four major manufacturers Fullwood, GEA, Delaval and Lely, the programme offers relevant training including hydraulics and pneumatics, bio-security and the physiology and behaviour of the dairy cow. The training scheme, which offers short block release methods


Head of Engineering Melvin Johnson congratulates Marcus Griffin, the first student to sign up to our dairy machinery course

of study, is overseen by the Engineering Council. It is estimated that 600 people are employed in the industry UK-wide and we already have 241 signed up, including 140 experienced workers who want to study individual units. Delegates spent their initial session studying the natural behaviour of the dairy cow

and how it can best be incorporated into milking parlour design and installation. They also covered bio-security and measures which need to be taken to control disease as technicians move between farms. The next session will focus on health and safety. For further details contact Reaseheath Engineering on 01270 613269

IAgre success Successful students won major prizes in the national Young Engineers competition, run by the Institute of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE). Seven students, who are studying for Level 3 qualifications in land based technology, returned to campus with some very impressive power tools and, even more useful, £150 in prize money! They were awarded first and third place in one class and second place in another. The students’ main task was to build an engine no larger than an A4 sheet of paper which was capable of climbing a ramp. All the teams began with a set of standard wheels and a battery. Said course manager

Young engineers Sam Grice-Gibson, Lewis Hitchenson, Thomas Connolly, Mark Hughes, Thomas Twigg and Robert Mercer with their engine models

Neil Jewell: “We had a very successful day and had a lot of fun meeting up with teams from other colleges.” * Two teams of construction plant apprentices represented Reaseheath at a IAgrE Young

Engineers quiz at Harper Adams University College, one of our partner universities. The 11 apprentices put in a very creditable performance on what proved to be a very enjoyable evening.

A tracked loading shovel arrives from D. Morgan

Leading heavy plant hire and civil engineering company D. Morgan plc is continuing to support our engineering apprenticeship programme by donating top class machinery to our department. The Wirral based company, which specialises in quarrying and recycling, has donated £15,000 worth of machinery so our students can gain experience in repair, diagnostics and testing across a range of models. This year we received two tracked loading shovels, a nine tonne excavator and three lighting towers. Previous donations have included a wheeled loading shovel. D. Morgan has supported Reaseheath for the past ten years, regularly sending plant maintenance apprentices to us for training and sponsoring an annual Plant Maintenance ‘Apprentice of the Year’ award. Said course manager Roger O’Brien: “D. Morgan recognises that a partnership with Reaseheath is mutually beneficial. We are very grateful for their support, which allows us to provide an enhanced training programme for local plant companies.”


Construction apprentices build on skills Four construction apprentices proved they have skills which are built to last after impressing judges at an Olympic style competition to find the nation’s most talented young tradespeople. Ethan Eaton qualified for the national final of Skillbuild after winning the senior bricklaying section in the north west regional round. Winners from the final may go on to represented Britain in WorldSkills International, a global event which in 2013 will be held in Leipzig, Germany. Three other Reaseheath apprentices were also

recognised for the outstanding quality of their work. Senior bricklayer Phil Blackwell was commended while joiner Matthew Williams and bricklayer Michael Roberts competed successfully in the new entrants category. Our students, competing against eight other colleges, had to interpret a drawn plan and demonstrate a range of skills over a five hour period. Ethan works for Maneaton Homes in Wrexham and, like the other apprentices, attends Reaseheath on day release. He said: “The standards at the competition were very high so

John makes the cut

Apprentice bricklayers Ethan Eaton and Phil Blackwell show off their skills

I was really pleased to win. I’m even more determined to do well at the final.” Instructor Danny Collins, who has organised our Skillbuild teams for the past five years, said: “The apprentices represented Reaseheath extremely well and the whole department is very proud of their achievements.”

Student rewarded for outstanding progress A student who left school without being able to read or write has won a regional award. Laura Mockford, an Access to Higher Education Diploma student, won the Open College Network (West Midlands Region) Access to Higher Education Learner Award for her outstanding progress and commitment. Access to Higher Education prepares students to study at degree level and is designed to support those who are returning to learning. Laura, 24, who received £500, wants to specialise in dairy herd management. She missed out on two years of secondary education due to health reasons and bullying and left with just one qualification in IT. Determined to continue her education and despite being diagnosed with severe mental health issues, she went on to study English and maths at an


Laura Mockford receives her cheque from Jayne Cawood

adult college in London before applying to Reaseheath. Our tutors were so impressed with Laura’s determination that they put forward her name for the award. Explained course manager Jayne Cawood: “Laura has had to overcome a lot of challenges to come on our Access course and her story should encourage anyone who would like to re-enter education.” Said Laura: “This journey has been a long process. It has taken me two years to get to

a place where I feel confident and comfortable in a learning environment. “Attending college has provided me with the opportunity to meet new people and socialise with friends. The course at Reaseheath has been absolutely brilliant because I have been able to try out different subjects and find out ways of learning that suit me. Everyone is very supportive and have gone out of their way to make me feel at home.”

John Tunstall with his handsaw prize

John Tunstall has become the first student to win a Royal Forestry Society (RFS) Silky Fox Handsaws Award. He was selected as best practical student on our City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture course. The annual Silky Fox award recognises outstanding performance on forestry and arboriculture courses and has been introduced at 21 colleges throughout Wales and England. Presenting John with a Silky Gomtaro 300mm pruning saw and a year’s RFS membership, RFS North West Midlands Division chairman David Gwillam said: “Throughout John’s career he will be drawing upon practical skills to ensure the health of trees and woodlands. I hope that this saw will always act as a reminder of his college days. “Understanding good woodland management is a continuous process as new techniques are developed, new threats and diseases appear and new tree species are introduced. The RFS promotes continuous learning through its many woodland events. We look forward to seeing John at our meetings and wish him well in his future career.”

Issue 23

Raising Standards Inspiring Achievement

Army look at life

Lucy Williams on manoeuvres...

Every year some of our students spend a week training with the army. Some go because they are considering a career in the Armed Forces while others go for the experience. All return with new confidence about their ability to tackle challenges, a better understanding of team work and with perfected skills in bed making, facial camouflage and press ups! This year a group of Level 3 Adventure Sports students, Foundation students and Level 3 Food technology students spent a week at Swinnerton Army Training Camp, Stafford. An initial 1.5 mile run in one of the hottest weeks of the year was followed by an obstacle course which soon had all students working well together despite the fact that they didn’t know each other particularly well. The next day it was on

with the camouflage and down on the floor when the command “grenade” was shouted. The rest of the week was filled with night time exercises of crawling through thick, sloppy mud and many press ups. The final exercise saw our students tackling a 3.5 mile run, carrying tyres and stretchers, and completing two different obstacle courses. The teams worked extremely well together and everyone felt they had gained new skills. Lucy Williams, a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Adventure Sports student, said: “By the end of the week we were drained and exhausted, but what a great time we had all had! I definitely didn’t want to go home and many others agreed. Despite being very difficult at times, the sense of achievement which we all felt was worth all that pain!”

Students tackle one of the obstacle courses

Enthusiastic horticulturalists

Vintage play at golf tournament The leader of Nantwich Town Council, John Lewis, won the 19th Reaseheath Open Vintage Day, a tournament run for veteran golfers by our sports turf students. Thirty seven players over the age of 65 contested the Stableford competition, which was held on our commercial nine hole golf course and raised funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. The organising committee, made up of horticultural student volunteers from all courses, were led by Seb Tame and Tom Francom. They spent long days in the previous week preparing the course to tournament standard and also organised prizes, sponsorship and a post match BBQ and prize presentation. By organising the tournament, students are encouraged to engage with customers and

Angela Webster

Golf winners John Lewis, Bryan Glenn, Fay Stubbings and Chris Bishop join student greenkeepers and staff to celebrate the 19th Reaseheath Open Vintage Day

potential employers as well as companies and organisations within the sports turf industry. They were advised by Horticulture Services Manager James Grundy and by Assistant Green Keeper Simon Hewitt. John Lewis said: “It was a wonderful day, thanks to the students who did a great

job in preparing the course to give us the best playing conditions.” Membership of Reaseheath Golf Club is available from only £4 per week. For more information contact Chris Bishop on 07773 472386 or email

Two horticulture students have won awards sponsored by The Horticultural Enthusiasts’ Association (HEA). Angela Webster was selected for the Best Practical Student Award while Alice Minshull took the Award for Endeavour. The HEA is a non-profit making organisation of former Reaseheath horticulture students. It was formed in 1978 by students keen to continue to share their interest in plants and gardening and to improve their knowledge of horticulture. Members enjoy lectures, visits to gardens and nurseries and plant exchange. The HEA meets at college for lectures and get-togethers. Any student can apply for membership on completion of a horticulture course. Details: 01270 613273



Reaseheath embraces the Apprenticeship Promise Reaseheath welcomed local employers to a breakfast forum promoting the value of apprenticeships. Attendees were encouraged to sign the Cheshire and Warrington LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) Apprenticeship Promise, an initiative aimed at enabling businesses within the region to understand the benefits of hiring an apprentice and encouraging them to support the training scheme. The LEP has identified the growth and development of apprenticeships as a priority to achieve a more skilled and productive workforce in Cheshire and Warrington, in turn stimulating the local economy. The event, supported by the National Apprenticeship Service, allowed employers to meet others who have

benefited from employing apprentices and to discover the grants, subsidies and initiatives available. Guest Speakers included Melanie Rigby (People and Development Manager, Expert Logistics), James Williams (Employer Account Manager, National Apprenticeship Service) and Colin Billingsley (External Relations Manager, Job Centre Plus). Reaseheath is a major trainer within the apprenticeship scheme, which allows wage-earning trainees to gain nationally recognised qualifications while working. Reaseheath’s Director of Business Development and Marketing Margaret Bardsley said: “There is a belief among businesses that taking on apprenticeships are a difficult

Margaret Bardsley signs the apprentice promise watched by speakers Melanie Rigby, James Williams, Colin Billingsley and Emma Clarke of Marketing Cheshire

bureaucratic procedure. We want to change perceptions through delivering mentoring sessions and encouraging more businesses to sign up to the Apprenticeship Promise. “We believe that increasing the numbers of

apprenticeships will help train our workforce for the future, in turn strengthening the businesses within our local economy.” More information at www. apprenticeship

A-Team training scheme is blooming great Local residents can look forward to flourishing flower beds thanks to an award winning training scheme run by Cheshire East Council and delivered by Reaseheath. Young people who may otherwise have found it difficult to find work have been offered horticultural apprenticeships as part of Cheshire East Council’s Apprenticeship Scheme, the A-Team. The budding gardeners spend most of their time helping to keep the council’s public parks and gardens in top condition. On one day a week they attend college for skills development and training towards relevant, industry recognised, qualifications.


As well as offering the young people a vital first step into a career, the initiative directly benefits the local community by maintaining its public spaces. Explained A-Team project leader Ben Whitter: “We are very excited about this scheme because it has a positive impact on everyone. We have developed a structured partnership with Reaseheath and the training provides sound, practical, work experience which benefits both the apprentices and local residents. “We recognise the importance of parks to the local community and hope that, by investing in our young people, we can offer an even better service.”

Ben Whitter with A-Team apprentices Kieran and James Whitehead and Dan Band

Reaseheath trains seven horticultural apprentices, one agricultural apprentice and one business administration apprentice for Cheshire

East’s A-Team. We also work with four other local authorities to provide apprenticeship opportunities for young people.

Issue 23

Raising Standards Inspiring Achievement

Students plant community bluebell wood Our countryside students planted several hundred young trees and a carpet of bluebells which will be enjoyed by the local community for many years to come. The newly planted area is part of the Crewe to Nantwich Greenway, a rural corridor linking Nantwich’s riverside walks with Crewe’s historic Queen’s Park along the A530 corridor. The route is part of the Sustrans’ National Cycle Network and aims to offer cyclists and walkers a traffic-free link between the two towns. The trees were supplied by The Rotary Club of Crewe & Nantwich Weaver, which acquired a free community tree pack from the Woodland Trust as part of its Jubilee

Reaseheath at a glance • Dairy Champion National Skills Academy for Food and Drink • Engineering Academy 14 years - 19 years • Training Quality Standard

Subject areas:

The Mayor of Crewe Peggy Martin unveils a plaque at the bluebell woods watched by Phil Brown (Sales Director Blue Bell Motors), Neville Care (Reaseheath’s Countryside Curriculum Leader), Simon Yates (President of The Rotary Club Crewe & Nantwich Weaver), Rob Carey (Design Engineer, Cheshire East Council), David O’Hara (Wistaston Park Ranger) and John Wood ( Chair of Wistaston Conservation Group)

Woods project. Our students also planted 5,000 bluebell bulbs sponsored by Blue Bell Motors, Crewe. The project was keenly supported by Wistaston Parish Council, Wistaston Conservation Group and Cheshire East Council, who own the land. It was officially

opened by the Mayor of Crewe, Peggy Martin, who said: “It has been fantastic how everyone in the community has worked together to create this lovely route. Hopefully, these bluebell woods will be here for all to enjoy for many years to come.”

Further and Higher Education • Adventure Sports • Agriculture • Animal Management • Business and IT • Construction • Countryside and Conservation • Engineering • Entry and Foundation Programme • Equine • Floristry • Horticulture • Food Technology • Greenkeeping and Sports Turf • Motor Vehicle • Sports Performance and Excellence • Leisure and Community Studies

Associate College of:

Pre entry’s wheels have va va vroom

Total students:

Go karts made by pre-entry students learning woodwork have made quite an impression on Cheshire East councillors. Our students, who have learning and physical disabilities, made the three go-karts during practical workshop sessions. The gokarts were the final project of the year and the students researched, designed, built and painted the vehicles themselves. The results very much impressed Cheshire East Councillors Derek Bebbington and Brian Silvester, who were visiting Reaseheath to learn more about our Pre Entry, Entry and Foundation Programme. The councillors also toured the Weaver Centre, our custom built centre for young people and adults who need additional support, and watched students as

Higher Education: 723

Further Education (full-time): 1847 Further Education (part-time): 100 Apprenticeships: 901 Work-based Learning: 253 Adult and Community Learning: 1704

Estate College grounds: 21 hectares Owned and rented farm land: 330 hectares Land leased to Crewe Alexandra Football Club: 6 hectares

Turnover Academic year 2010/11: £24.5 million

Facilities Pre entry students Mattie Wright, Johnnie Latham, Tom Stephan, John Yearsley and Dominic Swales show off their go-karts

they enjoyed a range of activities. Our students are fully integrated in the centre of campus and can study subjects such as animal care, horse care, sports studies, horticulture and practical workshop skills. All gain recognised awards as well as having fun. Said Councillor Bebbington:

“The experiences offered by Reaseheath to these learners is quite exceptional. It was very noticeable that the students were enjoying themselves while they were learning and were very enthusiastic. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and are very keen to support this wonderful work further.”

On-site accommodation for 500; five catering outlets; student lounge/bar; learning resource centre; HE study area; sports hall; climbing wall; multi gym; sports pitches (rugby, football, crown green bowling, cricket); commercial nine-hole golf course; indoor riding arena

Staff 500 (including part-time) Further details - please ask for a prospectus Reaseheath College, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 6DF


Double family fun at Reaseheath College Families will enjoy twice the fun when we open our zoo and popular maze to the public this summer. Both attractions open to the public on Saturday 21st July and remain open until Sunday September 2nd. At our zoo we have exotic animals such as meerkats, ring tailed lemurs, spider monkeys, birds of prey, reptiles and fish as well as pet animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs. The maze, which has an Olympic theme in celebration of London 2012, offers a giant maze the size of five football pitches and a smaller maze built specially for younger or less active visitors. Families can find clues hidden in the giant corn crop to help solve the puzzle. A nature trail connects the zoo and the maze. Free parking, a picnic area and light

Diary Dates...

Come and see us July 2012 18 - 22 RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 21 Maze and Zoo open 23 - 26 Royal Welsh Show 25 Nantwich Show

August 2012 1&2 Bakewell Show 5 Peover Game Fair 14 & 15 Anglesey Show 18 A Midsummer Night’s Dream Chapterhouse Theatre Company Open Air Garden Theatre at Reaseheath Hall. 01270 613210 / 01270 537359 Ernie the tapir gets a wash and brush up from Deputy Animal Centre Manager Amy Dunbar in preparation for the opening of our zoo

refreshments are available. Both attractions are open daily until from Saturday 21st July to Sunday September 2nd. A combination ticket admitting two adults and two

children is £25, with under threes admitted free. Full details see www. , phone 01270 613210 or email

Re a se h e at h C o l l e g e r esi d enti a l co u r ses


Summer 2012

26 - 1 Sept Cushionbed British Showjumping Scope Festival

September 2012 4 Course information event 6pm - 8pm (FE, HE, Adult Leisure) 4&5 Four Oaks Trade Show 5&6 Dairy Event, National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham 14 - 16 Nantwich Food and Drink Festival 19 & 20 Derbyshire Skills Festival 15 Reaseheath Golf Club Open Day 26 Cheshire Ploughing Match 28 Reaseheath HE Graduation, Nantwich Civic Hall

Pottery of the 20th Century

Art Taster Lace making

Chair Caning Quilting and Embroidery Golf Breaks Bookbinding Craft Taster Textures and Textiles

Illustrating Children’s Books

Drawing and Painting

Botanical Watercolour

Reaseheath College, Nantwich, Cheshire From Sunday 1st July - Sunday 2nd September 2012 For more information or to register your interest please contact Tammy Weaver on 01270 613 210 email or visit


October 2012 3-7 Horse of the Year Show 6 Course information event 10am start (FE, HE) 13 & 14 Reaseheath Apple Festival

November 2012 3 Course information event 10am start (FE, HE) 10 & 11 Your Horse Live

December 2012 1 Course information event 10am start (FE only) l 01270 625131

Written and edited by Reaseheath’s Press Officer Lynne Lomax 01270 613279 l Designed inhouse by Colin Barnes l Inhouse photography by Paul Daniels

Grassroots 23 online  
Grassroots 23 online  

Reaseheath College - Grassroots Newsletter - Issue 23