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The latest news from Reaseheath College

issue 17

Reaseheath takes the lead on regional regeneration R

easeheath has been awarded a multimillion pound grant to expand its services to north west businesses. The £4.7 million award, from the North West Regional Development Agency, will enable us to create a regional centre for specialist expertise and support which will encourage business growth and diversification. An Enterprise Delivery Hub will offer a pool of expertise and resources to regional businesses, particularly those within the agricultural and food production and processing industries. Around £2 million of the grant is being invested into world class facilities for our food manufacturing and processing department. Food manufacturers will be encouraged to use the facilities for product development and starter incubation units will be built for new food producers. Part of our remit is to keep business people better informed by ensuring that the latest research and development findings are easily available. The funding will support two new posts for experts in knowledge and technology transfer. Another focus will be sustainability.

Farmers will continue to access the latest thinking and learn new skills through free demonstrations and masterclasses offered through the Reaseheath Agricultural Development Academy (RADA). Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the NWDA, said: “Businesses in rural areas can find it difficult to access the support they need. The state-of-the-art facilities being built at Reaseheath are a great step forward in helping the rural food and drink sector to develop and diversify their products. “It is wonderful to see work starting on a project which will provide real opportunities for businesses in rural areas, encouraging them to grow and boost their productivity. It will also inspire new enterprise across the region.” Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David added: “Our mission majors on rural business and communities and this wonderful investment from the NWDA will enable us to continue to provide specialist support and knowledge and technology transfer to these industries. This will help the region to maintain competitiveness and profitability during these challenging times.”

 Steven Broomhead and Meredydd David begin the food hall refurbishment

CLAAS act Reaseheath Engineering has become the nationwide apprentice trainer for CLAAS UK. Our engineering department is now the preferred trainer for four of the six major manufacturers in the country. We already provide tailormade apprentice training for Case New Holland, JCB and A Plant, along with many smaller companies. With the addition of 30 CLAAS trainees, Reaseheath Engineering will train a total of 160 agricultural engineering apprentices and 150 construction plant apprentices. All work in the industry but attend college on a block release basis to gain qualifications. The department also has 166 full time engineering students, plus a further 30 who are studying management at degree level. An additional 143 pupils from local schools are working towards their Diploma in Engineering or on the Land Rover Young Apprenticeship in our dedicated Engineering Academy. These impressive figures put Reaseheath Engineering well in the lead as the most successful trainer in the country. CLAAS is one of the six major players in

the European agricultural machinery industry and has more than 80 outlets in the UK. The company will provide the department with the latest models of tractors and combine harvesters as training aids. Reaseheath’s Head of Engineering Melvin Johnson said: “CLAAS is a very forward thinking and inspirational organisation. The company is one of the leaders in the field of mechanised harvesting. It has similar values to Reaseheath in that it provides a top class service which prides itself on quality and excellence.”

John Palmer, Training Manager CLAAS UK, said: “We chose to enter into this new partnership because Reaseheath Engineering is one of the most respected land based training centres in the UK. “We were impressed because the department already offers a similar training service to Case New Holland and JCB. We are keen to collaborate with all parties so that we get a common standard which will benefit the industry as a whole.”

 New apprentices, master technicians and staff pay us a visit

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Reaseheath looking to broaden horizons A

fact finding mission to China by our Principal, Meredydd David, may result in us attracting more international students. Meredydd visited Huijia University, a successful private university in Beijing, to discuss whether we could help them develop progression routes to Honours Degree top up programmes at Reaseheath. The discussions concentrated mainly on the fast growing areas of equestrian, golf and leisure management. One possibility would be that of Huijia’s students travelling to the UK to top up their qualification with a Reaseheath degree. There could be opportunities for staff and student to take part in exchange visits and for co-

Outstanding again! This seventeenth edition of Grass Roots is once again full of the wonderful successes of our students and staff. I never cease to be amazed by the diversity of our work and our tremendous achievements in every area. Through driving for excellence in all we do, and by ensuring that we focus on delivering the best experience possible to our students, clients and customers, we continue to gain more prestigious national contracts. Our students’ achievements and success equal the best in the country and, because of this, we continue to gain prestigious accolades. The recession and its impact on the communities and industries we serve means we now deliver a number of initiatives and projects geared at re-skilling and up-skilling people so they are competitive in the jobs market. We have articles on these within this edition. Finally, the LSC has recently introduced the Framework for Excellence that is designed to measure a college’s success compared to others in the country. Reaseheath gained OUTSTANDING in every category. I congratulate and applaud the whole team at Reaseheath who have contributed massively to this continuing success and have made this happen.

Meredydd David


operation in other training areas as well. Said Meredydd: “Huijia University is very keen to work with us in further developing their programmes. This is at a very early stage, however, and will require a lot of thought and planning if we are to take this partnership opportunity forward. “The next step will be discussions with Reaseheath curriculum managers and the college management team prior to any agreements and commitments being made.” Reaseheath is developing national and international contracts which is a reflection of its status as one of the best land-based colleges in the country.

Our University partner, Harper Adams University College, has developed a successful partnership with Beijing Agricultural University. Around 70 third year Chinese undergraduates study at Harper each year. We have worked closely with Harper colleagues to promote Reaseheath to like-minded institutions in China. Huijia is one of the largest and most successful universities in the private sector and has 4,500 fee paying residential students studying for qualifications equivalent to our foundation degree programmes. The company also runs private nurseries, primary and secondary schools and a vocational college. See

Work continues on new build Our £51 million capital investment programme continues to bring world class technical and educational facilities across campus. The investment reflects our continuing success and growth and underlines our commitment to maintaining our position as the premier specialist college in the country. Our unique food and dairy processing plant is currently undergoing a £6 million refurbishment, partly paid for by NWDA funding (see front page). Our students and staff are enjoying 21st century facilities provided by the eight major new buildings which have been completed as part of our ongoing project. These include: • learning skills and student services centre • IT Centre • animal management teaching centre • purpose built construction workshops • dedicated Engineering Skills Academy • equine centre upgrade including international standard indoor riding arena and round pen for natural horsemanship • Two halls of residence The construction of a futuristic Student Hub, offering dining facilities and leisure areas, is planned. Also in the build schedule are new facilities for our adventure sports, countryside, horticulture and sports turf departments.

NEW Learning Skills Centre

NEW Indoor riding school

It’s RAG time! O

ur big-hearted students and staff have been raising funds for this year’s RAG Charity BIRD (Centre for Brain Injury Rehabilitation and Development) - and having a ball while doing so! Events in RAG (Raising and Giving) week included a raft race across the college lake (won by a team from adventure sports), a staff versus student football match, a fancy dress pub crawl and a tractor pull, which involved towing a tractor over a measured distance against the clock. The tractor pull was sponsored by Case IH and won by a team of National Trust wardens and gardeners. Other challenges involved staying awake all night and a 32 mile sponsored walk along the Sandstone Trail organised by Reaseheath Walking Club. At the end of RAG week the total raised had reached £7,461

- well on the way to reach the £10,000-plus target. Hayley Juniper, Student Association President said: “RAG week is a great opportunity for students to let their hair down and have a great time. It’s also a fun way to be raising funds for such a worthwhile local charity. We want to raise as much money for BIRD as possible. This is a cause that we hold close to our hearts. All staff and students are hoping that we can make this year’s fund raising exceptional!” Last year’s RAG appeal raised a record £10,116 for a Nantwich teenager paralysed by a brain haemorrhage. We have until the end of term to exceed this total. BIRD treats people with conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, communication disorders, autism, ADHD, epilepsy, dyslexia, dyspraxia, behavioural disorders, stroke and other neurological impairments.

Equine students Abigail Mellor, Katie Poxon and Sophie Clarke take the strain in the tractor pull

BIRD’s Practice Manager Helen Schielke said: “Thankfully we can nearly always improve the lives of the people who come to us; often to an amazing extent. The money generously raised by Reaseheath’s students and staff

will directly help families from Cheshire who attend the centre. The total of funds raised by Reaseheath staff and students over the past 18 years is a massive £129,000 - all benefiting local charities.

Marathon effort by Reaseheath runners Two Reaseheath runners who completed the Flora London Marathon at their first attempt raised nearly £3,500 for charity. Student Services Co-ordinator Mark Hardy ran the gruelling 26 miles in six hours eight minutes. His efforts raised over £1,100 for Brain Injury Rehabilitation and Development (BIRD), this year’s RAG charity. Access to Higher Education student Una Clarke, who tackled the entire race in a polar bear outfit, raised £2,300 for the World Wildlife Fund. The footsore pair have vowed to enter again next year.

Mark said: “The amazing atmosphere along the whole length of the course keeps you going. You get such a sense of achievement when you finish.” Una, who completed the course in a respectable eight hours 24 minutes, felt her headto-toe outfit had raised awareness of animals affected by climate change. She said: “This is such a serious cause. I wanted to highlight the issues of species whose habitat is disappearing, like the polar bear.” Una plans to continue onto our BSc Degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare.

Horticulture staff take to the water in the raft race

Staff take on students on the football field

Karaoke 

Mark celebrates with his medal

Una limbers up

Entry Level 1 students were in good voice for a well supported karaoke event which helped to raise funds for RAG and Comic Relief. Additional fund raising efforts, which included Entry Level 3 student Paul Carter dressing up and a sale of gloves by Emma Bennett, raised a total of £446.24.


Young designer gets grafting for RHS Tatton 

Hive of activity at RHS Tatton

Budding designer Lee Belgrau


udding garden designer Lee Belgrau has won the chance to show off his skills at one of the country’s most prestigious horticultural shows. Lee, 20, a National Diploma in Horticulture student, has been selected by the Royal Horticultural Society to compete in the inaugural RHS Young Designer of the Year competition. Having secured his place in the competition, he will now bring his garden to life at the RHS Show Tatton Park (July 22-26) in this new category to showcase future talent. Lee will design and build his garden with a team of fellow young horticulture students. As well as coming under the critical eye of thousands of show visitors, the garden will be judged by the RHS against the same criteria as all other show gardens. Lee will build a contemporary style garden suitable for a young professional couple. He said: “I wanted to show cutting edge but simple design

which is practical and suitable for installation in a new garden. I’ve got a lot of plant knowledge and practical experience from my course. I’m really excited to get the opportunity to show what I can do.” Lee has been a Reaseheath student for three years, progressing from the National Certificate in Horticulture to the National Diploma. He finds that the gardening industry allows him to work out of doors while using his interest in art and design. Tutor Louise Moss said: “It is

great knowing we’ve produced a young designer who is on a par with the best in the industry.” Kris Hulewicz, show manager for the RHS Show Tatton Park explained: “We want to ensure the future of horticulture is bright, so we have created a specific platform to help young talent break into the competitive world of garden design. This unique opportunity will place raw talent alongside seasoned professionals, all working to the world-class standards expected at RHS shows.”

Garden trip inspires students Students on our garden design and horticulture courses went behind the scenes at some of the best gardens in the south west during a study tour. The 46 strong group, aged from 17 to 83, enjoyed a guided tour around Hestercombe Gardens in Taunton, Somerset. The group visited a unique collection of three gardens spanning three centuries of garden history and design. They then moved on to the internationally famous Eden Project in Cornwall, taking in a guided tour of the Mediterranean biome and tropical gardens. Our students also visited the Lost Garden of Heligan, which has undergone a complete restoration after decades of neglect. Accommodation was at a hotel in St Austell, Cornwall, and the weather was so fine that some group members even ventured into the sea for a paddle! Many of our students will be involved in the design and build


of our show garden at the RHS Show Tatton Park and found the trip inspirational.

Students enjoy the Eden Project

A tour of key Welsh gardens, including the Botanical Gardens of Wales, is also planned.

Hopes are high that our bee friendly garden will create a buzz at this year’s RHS Show Tatton Park. Horticulture and garden design students are to design and build an ‘Edible Trends’ show garden for BBC North West, demonstrating how gardening can benefit both humans and wildlife. Our community friendly plot will feature soft fruits, vegetables, nectar rich plants and flowers for the house. Most importantly it will contain vital food and shelter for our honey bees, which are dying out in large numbers. Our entry will be judged in the show garden category, so it will also be slick and contemporary and feature the abstract shapes and bold blocks of colour for which Reaseheath show gardens are famous. The garden will provide a base for filming by BBC North West and the public will be invited to meet their favourite presenters at the stand. This is the second year running that we have produced a show garden in partnership with BBC North West. We will also be running a host of family activities. Young visitors will be encouraged to make simple floristry designs, grow a salad bowl, create ‘five a day’ creatures out of vegetables and make homes for bats, birds and bees. Show manager Kris Hulewicz said: “Reaseheath’s show gardens and floral designs always make a big impression at the show. The college has nurtured some of the best talent in the North West who have gone on to exhibit their own gardens at Tatton Park. ”I’m looking forward to see what they have planned for this year, especially the interactive feature for children and allotment themed show garden.”

Students’ show helps brides to prepare E

vents management and floristry students combined forces to put on a successful wedding fayre. Our students are encouraged to get real-life retail and commercial experience and came up with the idea for a bridal event in Reaseheath’s main hall, itself a wedding venue. Over 300 brides to be and their relatives attended the show, which showcased 24 exhibitors offering wedding services and products. Our events management students organised the show , which included a fabulous catwalk fashion show. Advanced National Certificate in Floristry students created a mock wedding breakfast table where the tiered cake, individual favours, cocktail drinks and napkins were artfully made from flowers, ribbons and beads. The display was made of traditional garden flowers to reflect the theme of afternoon tea in the country. The flowers defied the recession and ticked environmental boxes by being relatively inexpensive and readily available. The florists also made hanging designs which are a very ‘now’ replacement for the traditional bridal posy. Last year our events

management students ran a successful charity auction and dinner dance as part of their course. Organiser Lizzi Hough said: “We thought this year it would be a good idea to promote Reaseheath as a wedding venue and to support local businesses by giving them a stage on which to exhibit their products.” Reaseheath’s award winning floristry department offers a free, no obligation consultation service to prospective brides. Experts are available to advise on colour and bespoke design. Contact 01270 613185.

Floristry students create a wedding breakfast from flowers

Florists on song for more blooming success

Top marks at WorldSkills UK Our landscapers and garden designers are also lining up for WorldSkills UK 2009 success. James Thomas and David Adamson won the intermediate section at the regional WorldSkills UK landscaping competition, held at the Malvern Gardening Show, Worcestershire. Mark Wood and Phil Johnson also pulled off an excellent third place in the advanced section. The students attend a range of our full and part-time horticulture courses. Said team trainer Clive Evans: “Our teams were competing against professional landscapers and other leading land-based colleges. The quality of their work was outstanding.” We are now waiting for the results of two more heats. Teams gaining the most points will qualify for the final in September.

Our florists are aiming for another season in the medals. We have a reputation for producing top class, creative florists who have gone on to take national and international awards. Reaseheath’s floristry department has won top medals at the RHS Tatton Flower Show for five consecutive years and will be exhibiting again this year. Our students have already qualified for the final of the Society of Floristry College of the Year 2009 at Tatton. A team from our Advanced National Certificate in Floristry course will compete against four other top colleges. Hopes are high that our students will also feature prominently in the WorldSkills UK final, another Tatton highlight. Last year three of the 16 finalists were Reaseheath students. Jenny Barrow, 18, is already a strong contender after winning the intermediate section in one of the Worldskills regional heats.

She now faces a wait to see if her marks are high enough to qualify her for one of the five places in the finals. Jenny was one of seven Reaseheath florists to compete in the regional heat, which was hosted by our college. A total of 18 competitors from colleges and florist shops took part. The advanced section was won by Amy Drysdale, who successfully gained her NPTC level 4 floristry award with us last year. She is manageress of Fishlocks Floristry in Liverpool. The florists had to complete four set pieces - a bridal bouquet, a body adornment, a head-dress and a mystery item - all with an Oriental touch. Reaseheath florists Dawn Yoxall, Eleanor Bellwood and Elizabeth Murray were also in the intermediate section while Mandy Smith, Hayley Lewis and Jenny Brown represented us at advanced level. The Worldskills final will be

Jenny Barrow

held in London in 2011. Former Reaseheath floristry student Natalie Stanyer represented Britain at the last Worldskills final, which was held in Japan.

Amy Drysdale


Simon gains inspiration from internship F

ormer sports turf student Simon Blagg has returned to the UK inspired after a year working in the industry in America. Simon made good use of our international links with the Ohio State University programme by gaining a seven months placement at the world famous Whistling Straights course, Wisconsin. He followed this with an educational seminar and then moved to the Doral Golf resort and Spa in Miami, which hosts the World Golf Championships every March. While at Whistling Straights, Simon joined a team of 38 working on a naturally managed course which furthered his interests in sustainable golf. He was trained as the irrigation technician and put in charge of a comprehensive system of sprayers - necessary through the summer when temperatures reach 40C. However, winter months can drop to minus 40C and bring five foot of snow onto

the fairways, making turf grass care a complicated science. Simon was involved with the whole course management system and was given the opportunity to manage the crew for two days. Meeting up with other interns at the annual seminar run by the Ohio State University was another highlight, particularly as it gave him a chance to see fellow Reaseheath student Pierce Corcoran, who was also on the programme. On his move to Miami, Simon was selected to work on the Blue Monster tournament course and given the responsibility of changing holes for the tournament. Now back in the UK, Simon is spending the summer working at the prestigious Loch Lomond Golf club in Scotland, host of the annual Scottish open. He then plans to get a job in Australia on a major tournament course. He said: “The whole experience was fantastic and I

Simon Blagg checks the automated watering system at Whistling Straights

definitely learnt a lot from it. Turf care in America is completely different from here because the temperatures are so extreme. “The Ohio Programme has been a life changing experience for me and I would encourage turf grass students to enroll. Not only do you learn about turf grass management, but you learn a lot of life skills as well.”

I would like to thank the turf grass lecturers at Reaseheath for encouraging me to apply. I would also like to thank Mike O’Keeffe, program manager of the Ohio Program, for all of his help, support and advice. Simon completed his First Diploma and National Diploma in Horticulture with us before taking up his internship.

Iestyn’s enthusiasm pays off Sports turf management student Iestyn John has been awarded a major trophy by the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) south Wales branch for his commitment to the industry. Iestyn, 21, travels to Reaseheath weekly from Cwmbran, South Wales, to study for his Foundation Degree in Golf and Sports Turf Management. He spends two days with us and then returns home to work for his family’s business, which specialises in sports turf maintenance. Iestyn has been a member of the IOG since he was 16 and has just been appointed onto the committee of IOG south Wales. He was presented with his trophy at the organisation’s annual dinner. Members were impressed by his keenness to work in

Reaseheath Golf Club Open Days Saturday June 27 and Saturday September 26 10am - 4pm FREE coaching to all levels with PGA professional. FREE use of golf course. Membership available. Contact Chris Bishop 07773 472386


the sports turf industry. Iestyn had already gained his National Diploma and NVQ levels 2 and 3 in Sports Turf before coming to us. He chose to commute to Reaseheath because we are one of the few colleges in the country to offer degree level sports turf training. He explained: “I’m gaining responsibility all the time at work and the course has really helped with my understanding of management. I’ve also gained new contacts in the industry. The sports turf industry offers lots of opportunities for a great career, particularly if you’re prepared to work your way up the ladder.” 

Award winner Iestyn John

Gareth investigates pesticide free management Senior sports turf lecturer Gareth Phillips is to investigate how a pesticide free landscape management system is developing in Canada. Gareth will visit Guelph University in Ontario to see continuing trials. The results will be of great relevance to the UK’s amenity horticultural industry, as likely EU legislation will greatly reduce the active ingredients in pesticides. To gain a different perspective, he will also spend time at North Carolina State University, USA,

looking at pesticide usage in amenity areas. At both institutions he will be delivering lectures on sports turf management in the UK and improving his own knowledge of warm and cool grassland management. Hopefully some of our students will join him in North Carolina to meet up with American students who visited us last year, and to tour sports venues. Gareth’s trip has been financed through a bursary from The Farmers Club Charitable Trust.

Reaseheath welcomes new stable manager

On the hoof


former stable manager with the mounted police has taken on a significant management role at our expanding equine unit. As yard manager, Kim Bailey, 40, is heading up the team of staff and students who care for over 40 horses. She is also helping to oversee the final touches to the department’s £2.3 million upgrade, which includes an international standard indoor arena, a round pen for natural horsemanship and American barn-style stabling. Reaseheath has 142 students, from introductory to degree level, but is looking to increase this number to 200 and increase its range of horses to 70 over the next few years. During her five years’ with Greater Manchester Police, Kim was in charge of a team of 24 grooms and trainers. Her horses and riders were out on patrol daily and were prominent at public events. Her team demonstrated training techniques at national events and was also involved in a year’s filming with Animal Planet, showing the duties of the mounted police. Kim said: “My role and responsibilities will be very similar to those in the police force. We have potentially world

Stable manager Kim Bailey and Ren

class facilities here and I’m confident that, through team work, we’ll get to that level of excellence. There’s a good atmosphere here, with lots of positive energy. “The investment is heralding a new era and we will make sure that our students gain the best possible experience from these exciting times.” Kim is an Association of Chief Police Officers Accredited Instructor and is an NVQ Assessor. She also holds BHS riding and teaching qualifications and is an experienced freelance instructor. Her own horse is a

Alex is the UK’s top scorer Horse care apprentice Alex Wilson has become the first person in the country to achieve an amazing 98% in an equine test. Alex, 26, achieved her top score in her NPTC Safety with Horses Level 2 Certificate, a technical certificate which is part of her apprenticeship. Alex had to prove her knowledge of safe working practices, safe lifting, fire procedures, dealing with accidents and correct use of machinery and equipment. Alex lives and works on the Wirral and has two horses of her own. She studies for her apprenticeship on one day a week with us and has learned the correct procedures for loading, stable management and show preparation as well as doing

 High scorer Alex is congratulated by Dawn Joyce

lots of jumping. She has also picked up a useful BHS Riding and Road Safety qualification and is intending to do her BHS stage exams. Explained Alex: “I’ve got lots of personal experience but wanted proof of my skills on paper.” Course manager Dawn Joyce said: “We are very proud of Alex. This was a great achievement.”

rehabilitated racing thoroughbred and she has competed at affiliated level in showjumping and at unaffiliated level in dressage and horse trials. Her early career years were spent as a business manager in the pharmaceutical industry, so she also has the Association of Accounting Technicians qualification Head of Equine Caroline Booth said: “Kim brings a wealth of experience to the team. She will be a great asset in our drive to gain an international reputation for the quality of our equine education and training.”

Degree level equine students visited the Shade Oak Stud near Ellesmere as part of their studies into horse breeding. Shade Oak is one of the largest thoroughbred studs in the area and is dedicated to National Hunt racing. Seventeen students visited over two days to watch mares being scanned and see the stallions and foaling unit. • Classroom science was brought to life for delegates to the Myerscough equine science symposium. The symposium is designed to link equine research with industry developments and our students heard presentations from six renowned equine specialists. • Our degree level students paid a return visit to the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre in Lancashire, one of our most popular industry venues. • Lecturer Kate Hayward gave a talk on grassland management and stocking density as part of a stud management course at Twemlows Hall Stud Farm, Whitchurch. The course was aimed at private breeders, studs and students. Kate was approached by stud senior partner Richard Matson, who was formerly professional advisor to our equine department. Twemlows Hall is one of the UK’s leading artificial insemination and embryo transfer centres.

Safety on the roads Eight horse care apprentices achieved a superb 100% pass rate in a recent BHS Riding and Road Safety exam. Candidates from as far away as Wirral and Stoke sailed through the qualification, which included a theory test, a ridden test in an arena and a simulated test on campus. The students works as grooms and instructors at riding centres, private yards and competition yards. The riding and road safety test is an extra qualification that we put on for them. Said Dawn Joyce: “This is a very important qualification. Horse riders are very vulnerable on the roads. It is very important that they understand correct procedures and make their actions clear to other road users.”

Spotlight on road safety

The successful apprentices were: Gemma Moss, Alex Wilson, Izzy Green, Claire Blakeman, Aimee Ollerhead, Kirsty Farmiloe, Steph Sim and Sam Manning.


Hedge with a view O

ur countryside students have been helping to lay an overgrown hedge alongside the banks of the Shropshire Union Canal near Beeston Castle. The hedge had been obstructing one of Cheshire’s most spectacular views across to the famous fortress, which has held a commanding position over the Cheshire plain for over 4,000 years. Our National Certificate in Environmental Conservation and Advanced National Certificate in Countryside Management students have been trained in the ancient art of hedgelaying and continuing hedge management by experts from the British Trust

for Conservation Volunteers. Said student Martin Dyche: “This is a very useful skill to have. A traditionally laid hedge is excellent for conservation because it provides a good habitat for many species. It’s also stock proof and gives natural shelter. We’re really enjoying learning how to lay a hedge properly because it’s a craft which is dying out.” The hedge is on land belonging to the British Waterways Board. The project is supported through the Cheshire Hedgerow Network, a multi agency networking group aimed at securing the future of the county’s hedgerows.

Woodland management training answers growing demand Our countryside department has launched a new course to answer growing demand for training in woodland management. The BTEC National Award in Forestry and Arboriculture is uniquely based across two centres – Reaseheath and the forest classroom at Delamere Forest. The one year course is endorsed by the Forestry Commission and begins in September. Subjects include woodland ecology, planting and care of trees, pests and

diseases and tree biology. Students will also gain NPTC qualifications in chainsaw use, brushwood chipper, and tree climbing and aerial rescue. The course is suitable for anyone who has an interest in managing trees and woodlands. Reaseheath’s Head of Countryside, Neville Care said: “There’s a growing demand for people who are qualified in this important subject.” Course hotline 01270 613242 email

Nick focuses on a life behind the lens Former countryside student Nick Hastings-Winch is focusing on a career as a freelance photographer – and he already has one very illustrious client. Nick, 21, won a commission from the Duchess of Westminster to photograph flora and fauna at four of the family’s rural estates. His subjects were Eaton Estate near Chester, Abbeystead in the Forest of Bowland, Reay Forest in Scotland and La Garganta in Southern Spain. He visited each site four times throughout the year to record seasonal changes. All are special places for wildlife and are sensitively managed. The resulting collection of photos was exhibited at Eaton Hall during a gardens’ open day and viewed by thousands of members of the public. Nick was a student on our National Certificate in Environmental Conservation course before taking a further qualification in photography. He said: “The background knowledge I gained while I was at Reaseheath was really helpful when I was photographing the different estates. I had already learned how each was managed and where I was most likely to find the wildlife and best landscapes. “The estates were all very different. Abbeystead was mainly a heather and grouse moor while Reay Forest had red deer and La Garganta was home to wild boar and red legged partridge. It was a fantastic opportunity to combine my skills and interests.” Nick is freelance and especially enjoys outdoor work. Contact: 01829 782306 or see his website


Martin Dyche and Jamie Price hedgelaying near Beeston

Fishing initiative Our fish experts and the Environment Agency, North West region, have been working together on a successful initiative to help angling clubs increase fishing success. Called in to investigate problems such as fish mortalities, the Environment Agency’s technical fisheries team had been finding that the problem in many cases lay with overstocking of the waters with fish. They were then faced with the challenge of persuading angling clubs to reduce fish numbers to increase angling success. Education seemed the key and collaboration with Reaseheath staff resulted in a weekend course in fisheries management,

covering many topics including parasites, water quality, habitat improvement, fish stocking, algae control, legislation, biosecurity and angler pressure. The course proved so popular that, when held for the second time, it attracted representatives from 15 angling clubs with a total of 8,500 members. We used our lake, laboratories and fish house for practical teaching as well as our classroom facilities. Senior lecturer Dave Hulse said: “The students were able to take away a lot of useful information to pass back to other club members. Hopefully it will help prevent mortality incidents in the future.” Contact:

Skillbuild success First class sawmanship saw joiner Tom Stubbs take third place in the regional Skillbuild competition. Four construction students represented Reaseheath against strong competition from other colleges and companies Bricklayers Greg Eaton and

Photographer Nick Hastings-Winch

Andrew Goff produced some quality craftsmanship but were just pipped to the honours. Joiner Start Evans also put in good work. We are now waiting to see if Tom’s marks are high enough to qualify him for the national finals.

Reaseheath appointed as Eden partner R

easeheath has been appointed to deliver the dairy industry’s new world class education initiative, Project Eden. Project Eden is a groundbreaking partnership between leading dairy processors and manufacturers, Improve (the sector skills

council for the food and drink industry) and the industry’s trade organisation Dairy UK. 

Project Eden team Sharon Hopkinson, Derek Allen, Damien Murphy and Chris Edwards

The training programme will deliver a globally recognised, degree level qualification in dairy technology. Project Eden’s Steering Group Chairman, Jens Termansen of Arla Foods said: “We look forward to working with Reaseheath in launching this cutting edge training initiative. Our students will benefit from the college’s dairy expertise and state of the art training facilities. “ Director General of Dairy UK, Jim Begg, added: “This is a great step towards the delivery of truly world class education for our industry. It is vital for the dairy sector that we remain competitive on the world stage, and Eden is a

vital tool in achieving this”. Principal Meredydd David said: “We are delighted to be awarded the Eden training programme and we are confident that we can work with the industry to produce the dairy technologists of the future. We are confident that we can provide world class facilities for a world class education, particularly with our current £6 million investment into our dairy equipment and facilities”. Reaseheath is recognised as an international centre of excellence for dairy training and is dairy champion within the National Skills Academy (NSA) for Food and Drink Manufacture.

Cheesy bid to support national holiday

Commemorative cheese for Cheshire East A unique Cheshire cheese was made by our food students to mark the launch of the new Cheshire East local authority. The cheese was produced in our licensed dairy factory by seven National Diploma in Food Technology students who followed our own award winning formula. Last year, a cheese made to the same recipe was awarded one of the top prizes at the prestigious Nantwich International Cheese Show. The seven kilo traditional round cheese was matured for five months before being presented to the leader of the new council, Councillor Wesley Fitzgerald. The gift was handed over by Jane Casson, Project Coordinator of local food and drink promoter ‘Made in Cheshire’, which is based at Reaseheath. Food Project Manager Damien

Our dairy specialists produced a St George’s flag made of cheese to support a campaign for a new national holiday. The flag, which was unveiled on St George’s Day, was sent to Downing Street in an attempt to persuade Prime Minister Gordon Brown to put the day aside as an occasion for celebrating the best things about England. Our reputation as a leading dairy college led campaigners to ask us to create the exclusive red and white Cheshire cheese flag. Nigel White, Cheshire cheese spokesperson, said: “The North West of England is extremely proud of its history and its famous cheeses. Cheshire cheese is made almost exclusively in the region, which is why we felt it was fitting to produce a cheese flag to show our support for making St George’s Day a national holiday.

Damien Murphy puts the finishing touches to the St George’s Day flag

Food Project Manager Damien Murphy said: “I was delighted to be approached and I fully support the campaign. I love a challenge and the flag looks as good as the cheese tastes. “

Showcase on food opportunities Councillor Wesley Fitzgerald receives the cheese from Jane Casson

Murphy said: “It was a great honour to be asked to produce this unique cheese in honour of the new Cheshire East authority. We hope it will be a tasty reminder of this great occasion for many months to come.”

Our food department held a successful careers convention showing the opportunities offered by the Food Industry. The licensed food factory was opened to schools and individuals. Industry advisors joined our staff to talk about salaries and careers in the food and drink manufacturing

industries. Level 3 Diploma in Food Manufacture students demonstrated how to make smoothies and made many of the dishes served as a buffet to visitors. Staff also produced butter and bread in the food halls. The event was organised by National Diploma in Events Management students.


Africa conservation experience A

nimal behaviour and zoo management degree students gained unique experience of life in the South African bush during a two week study tour. Seventeen students and three staff joined rangers at the Jujeni Game Reserve, a 5,000 hectare reserve bordering the Kruger National Park. The park is home to many predatory and endangered species including serval, lion, hyena, vulture and white rhino. Students observed wild animals in their natural setting, looked at

the managerial responsibilities of a game reserve and undertook conservation work. Their daily routine included dawn safaris, evening animal observations and conservation and research. Highlights included watching lion, hyena and vultures feeding on a kill and elephants and rhino wallowing in mud. The scientific dissection of an impala was even on the programme. The students also learned animal tracking skills. Conservation work involved planting grass seed, preventing land erosion and protecting tree

Pets at Home The successful launch of a bespoke ornamental fish care course for Pets at Home retailers was followed by a specialist reptile care course. Seventeen store managers and assistant managers attended our animal centre for three days for concentrated training on the care and handling of tortoises, leopard geckos and bearded dragons, all of which are becoming increasingly popular as domestic pets. The training, as in the fish care course, is tailored to increase the expertise of in-store specialists in pre-sale welfare and after-sale advice. For more information contact: Dave Hulse 01270 613293 / email

Project Webcam Webcams have been set up in several outdoor enclosures in our animal centre with a direct link to our college website. Initially we are focusing on one of our meerkat families and on a paddock containing our two tapirs and group of capybara. Website viewers will eventually be able to watch a wide range of our animals including primates, small mammals, South American animals, birds and fish. All our animal courses include handson experience with the animal collection and viewers will see students carrying out practical sessions. The project enables prospective students and those from other colleges and schools to improve their knowledge through using the web. It was made possible through a grant from VETNET, an organisation which promotes progression into higher education and into the veterinary profession.


Caption here

Rhino spotting in South Africa

species from destructive animals. Away from the animals, our group picked up some local Xitsonga language and tasted delicacies such as deep fried crickets. Lecturer Suzanne Taylor said: “The rangers we worked with were very experienced, good humoured and interesting. The experience will remain with the

whole group for a lifetime.” The study tour was organised through African Conservation Experience. Animal Centre Head Richard Champion said: “A huge amount of work has gone into arranging fantastic educational study tours in South Africa. This is our second one and the experience gets better and better”.

Project Tylototriton Reaseheath is continuing to lead a successful global project to help safeguard the endangered Himalayan crocodile newt. Herpetologist Ben Baker and fellow supporters are working with researchers, government officials and non government organisations in India’s Darjeeling Hills to protect the eight remaining key breeding sites of the amphibian. Over £1,000 raised by animal management students and staff has paid for fencing to stop cattle destroying the pond margins and local people are being discouraged from washing their clothes in the water. Reaseheath’s logo is displayed at each site. The next stage is to identify the home ranges of the adult newts and to develop a species conservation action plan. A team of specialists will visit the area in June 2009 to track animals which have been implanted with tiny microchips. The team will also inspect a further eight ponds in the hopes that they can be restored and used by the newts

in the future. Ben is hopeful that the programme will encourage the newt population to recover. He said: “The main problems facing the newts is raised water temperatures caused by climate change and degradation of breeding sites. By protecting these ponds and identifying further possible sites we will have gone a long way to helping to save the species.” Project Tylototriton INDIA is working closely with the Association of Conservation and Tourism (ACT), the IUCN (a specialist South Asia amphibian group) and Padjama Naidu Zoo. Reaseheath has one of the UK’s most successful captive breeding programmes for crocodile newts. We have supplied newts to London Zoo, Knowsley Safari Park, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Slimbridge and Stapeley Water Gardens in Nantwich. For further details email

We are the champions! R

easeheath’s newly formed football team has brought home two prestigious trophies in its first season. The student team from our sports studies department, which was launched last September, surpassed all expectations by lifting the British Colleges Sport North West title at the first attempt. The team won 10 out of 14 matches, sealing the league championship. Manager Kevin Cunningham said: “Winning the league was a fantastic achievement. It’s been an incredible journey and the lads have worked very hard. The football team has done a wonderful job of enhancing Reaseheath’s ever growing reputation.” The team train regularly on Reaseheath’s own sports pitch and on the all weather indoor pitch belonging to the onsite Crewe Alexandra football academy. The players have been helped in their training by Nantwich Town Football Club (FC) boss Steve Davis. Five players were selected

for honours at the close of the season. Sam Robinson took two awards - Most Improved Player of the Season and the prestigious Players’ Player of the Season. Goalkeeper Tom Taylor scooped the Manager’s Player of the Season while Chris Dolan and Nigel Johnson won joint Golden Boot awards with an impressive 13 goals in 13 games each. The squad then topped off its season with even more success by winning an international inter-college competition in

Snow Sports Action Over 40 adventure  Skiing in the French Alps sports students spent a week improving their snow sport skills during a study tour in the French Alps. The students, from our First Diploma, National Certificate and National Diploma programmes, were accompanied by five staff to the popular Alpes d’Huez area. final year National Diploma Our group were rewarded with a students. Their training dump of two metres of fresh snow, included the correct use of ice giving them superb conditions axes and crampons and how in which to improve their skiing to move safely through ice and snowboarding skills. All and snow. One group finished students had lessons and showed their week with a fine ascent impressive progress. of a classic Scottish winter Our students also gained a route ‘Aladdin’s Couloir’, with a useful oversight of the winter grade 2 ice pitch thrown in for sports industry by visiting a local good measure. municipal sports facility. • Future events include ongoing • Students taking our Adventure first aid qualifications and Sport Management degree formal coaching awards. practiced winter skills during Residential visits are also a week’s stay in Aviemore, planned for Scotland, the Lake Scotland. They were joined District and North Wales. in Britain’s winter capital by

Spain. Our team played three games against top teams from across Europe, winning two matches and drawing one. The team funded the tour themselves. • Many students play sport as part of our enrichment programme and our hockey, rugby, netball and football teams have enjoyed a busy season playing fixtures in the Northern

Our victorious football team celebrate

Counties Colleges’ League. Home and away matches have been played against the other participating land based colleges - Myerscough, Askham Bryan, Newton Rigg and Bishop Burton. • Our women’s football team has also enjoyed friendly matches. There are plans to expand the programme next year.

Ryan gears up Ambitious triathlete Ryan Morris is gearing up to represent Britain for the second time - as long as he can find sponsorship. Ryan, a National Diploma in Adventure Sports student, has qualified for the GB Under 23 years Triathlon squad which will travel out to Australia for the World Championships in September. After that he has his sights firmly fixed on the 2012 London Olympics. However, all his training may be in vain if he cannot raise the £2,000 sponsorship he needs. Last year Ryan was a member of the GB Under 23 years Triathlon team at the World Championships in Canada and claimed 14th individual position. “I definitely hope to improve on that,” says Ryan, who trains for up to 22 hours a week in addition to his course work. He is coached in running by Kyle Bennet, swims with the Crewe Fliers and has invested in a specialised triathlon bike to improve his overall timings. In Auguse he will be one of an elite squad representing Great Britain in a World Championship Series triathlon on the 2012 London Olympic course. Another ambition is to finish the Nantwich triathlon in under one

Olympic hopeful Ryan Morris

hour - last year his time was one hour three minutes. Ryan aims to become a high level coach or personal trainer and hopes to go to university in September to take a degree which will further his interest in sports fitness. In the meantime he is looking for additional sponsorship. Contact email:


Engineers get a handle on European trade D

riving 21st century tractors at the global headquarters of CLAAS was just one highlight of the European study tour enjoyed by our agricultural engineers. Forty-ones students – the largest group we have ever taken – toured key manufacturing sites in Germany and Holland. We have been running this popular tour for some years. Our group couldn’t wait to test drive the multi-million pounds worth of machinery on offer, which included a CLAAS Xerion multi drive tractor and a CLAAS Scorpion telescopic handler. They also toured the impressive technoparc and factory in Harsewinkel, Germany, and were able to see the different technology and processes used to manufacture different parts of the machinery. Eberhard Weller, CLAAS Head of Customer Care said: “We were delighted to welcome Reaseheath’s students to our family owned company. The students were very good ambassadors for the college and we were very impressed with their level of knowledge and interest in how we operate.” The engineers enjoyed a similar privilege during a factory visit to the German headquarters of Amazone, manufacturers of sprayers and cultivation machinery. The trip included an impressive demonstration of machinery. The group then moved on to Holland to Mitsubishi’s European manufacturing hub for forklift trucks. Reaseheath Engineering

Our engineers view some impressive kit during their study tour

has just bought one of these models so it was interesting for the students to see where it was made. A trip to the Museum de Cruquius, a historical water pumping station, was followed by a visit to agricultural machinery exporter and importer Koop van der Wal. The students were from our full time First Diploma and National Diploma in Land Based Technology. Group member Charles James said: “We had a great time. It was a real eye opener to see the scale of the factories - they were massive. Operating the machinery was awesome.”

Top performing cars Our young engineers raced off with three first prizes after building top performing, remote controlled vehicles. The students had to use their ingenuity and skills to create a vehicle which produced a winning performance on a quarter pipe test track. They were given a set of standard wheels, a battery and maximum dimensions – and a goal of getting the resulting vehicle as high up the ramp as possible. David Perry and Philip Shaw’s vehicle fended off competition from other colleges in Class 1 to

Motorheads take a pitstop Motor vehicle students enjoyed a pit stop at the world’s biggest motorsport show - Autosport International. The NEC Birmingham event, which included the engine tuning and modification feature ‘Pistonheads’, gave 30 students and staff the chance to experience some of the most cutting edge action in the industry. Some students watched interviews with recently retired F1 driver David Coulthard and commentators Murray Walker


and Martin Brundle while others enjoyed a test track ride in the latest Mercedes high performance road cars. Steve Ellis, who manages our First Diploma in Vehicle Maintenance course, said: “The event is the ultimate motorsport experience. Our students had a fantastic opportunity to gain a general overview of the industry. They were able to look at the latest in equipment and engineering which is currently in use in the top end of motorsport and motor vehicle repair.”

Students and staff enjoy Pistonheads

take first prize, while two entries from Henry Dakin, Tom Molloy, Chris Gardener and Matthew Wardell shared the first prize in Class 2. The winning teams brought home more than £450 in prize money and power tools. Ten of our National Diploma in Land Based Technology students competed in the national competition, run by the Institute of Agricultural Engineers as part of a campaign to raise the profile of the industry among young engineers.

Students Get an Overview of Cold Weather Farming

Scholarship for travel down under


ur agriculture students braved temperatures of minus 11C during a visit to eastern Canada to experience farming restrictions posed by cold weather. The week long tour, arranged through SEMEX, Canada’s leading cattle breeding company, enabled 18 final year National Diploma in Agriculture students to visit a mixture of dairy and beef farms and arable units. The students also spent a day at Guelph University, a major centre for agriculture research. Their programme included a talk on ethanol production from maize, which is a growing trend in Canada. They saw this practice in action at the university’s beef research station, where ethanol by-products are fed to the resident herd. The students also visited the dairy cow research centre at Guelph, where major cattle feed trials are carried out. The trip took in the Spring Discovery Show in London, Ontario. Free time was spent sightseeing in Toronto, climbing the CN tower, visiting the Niagara Falls and enjoying the action of a league ice hockey game.

Students join their hosts at Wikkerink Farms in Ontario

Lecturer Natalie Gascoyne said: “Our students had the opportunity to look at how the global market affects Canadian farming and experience first hand the coldness, size and space of Canada. We looked at a lot of good housing designs which withstand very cold winters and extremely hot summers. “This was one of the best tours we’ve done and our thanks go to SEMEX and our other hosts.” Student Cerys Crank said: “I really enjoyed the whole experience. We went to some

Cheshire Ploughing Championship Four engineering students contested the Cheshire Ploughing Society Youth Championship, hosted by Reaseheath. Sam Cliffe took part in the reversible competition while Joe Lomas, Will Redman and Charlie James competed in the conventional classes. All four were having their first

Charlie James competes in the ploughing match

attempt at match ploughing and enjoyed the experience so much that they are looking for further opportunities to compete. Lecturer Tim Ball and members of the Cheshire Ploughing Society were on hand to coach the students, who were pitting their skills against 28 other competitors.

fantastic dairy farms. Looking at the Canadian genetics industry was very interesting.” • Our First Diploma in Agriculture students went to the Lake District for a study tour taking in beef, sheep and dairy. The tour included a trip to a Jersey dairy farm tenanted by former student Stephen Bland • Later this year, students from a number of courses will look at mixed farming in Cornwall while a group of National Certificate in Agriculture students will visit farming enterprises in Scotland.

John impresses Dairy herd management student John Coar ably represented Reaseheath at the selection round for the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers’ (RABDF) Dairy Student Award. We hosted the competition, which drew in a short list of 12 students from colleges throughout the country. The students had to act as a health consultant to our onsite Genus herd. Although John was not selected for the final at the Farmers Club in London, he impressed the panel of judges with his plans for the future of the dairy herd and with his business acumen. John manages a farm in partnership with a farmer and hopes to progress onto a degree course at Harper Adams University College.

Richard Beck

Cheshire dairy farmer Richard Beck spent over a month visiting similar businesses in New Zealand and Australia thanks to a scholarship organised through Reaseheath. Richard, who is a partner in his family’s dairy farm, was the first recipient of the John Platt Travel Scholarship, a £2,000 annual award on offer to young people who live or work in the county’s agriculture or related industries. He said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for me, and greatly appreciated. The trip broadened my horizon and vision and gave me a wealth of knowledge. “I looked at a lot of environmental and economic issues, and at how the market operates under pressures which are different to those here. I’m intending to use the experience to look at different ways of maximising my own business.” Richard joined a study tour with the Livestock Improvement Corporation which visited 16 dairy farms in the north and south islands of New Zealand. He then flew to western Australia to spend a week with former Cheshire Young Farmer Ian Crawford, who has an arable unit in Perth. The John Platt Travel Scholarship is open to anyone aged between 18 and 35 Applicants must show that they want to improve their education and experience through travel by putting forward a project focused on new technology, new or alternative farming methods, diversification, use of natural resources or improved profitability. Contact Reaseheath’s Vice Principal Dave Kynaston on 01270 613243 / email dianar@


Reaseheath Agricultural Development Academy

Fertility counts

Initiative to help livestock farmers


ecreasing dairy cow fertility is a global problem but there is plenty that farmers can do to improve their situation. This was the key message taken home by over 80 delegates who attended a ‘Fertility Counts’ seminar at Reaseheath. The seminar featured three high profile speakers: dairy specialist Neil Howie from the Nantwich Veterinary Group, independent consultant Kate Burnby from The Willows Veterinary Group and Carmarthenshire dairy farmer Howell Richards. All three highlighted key influences on fertility and how even minor changes in management could result in a commercial payback for the farmer. Discussion sessions were followed by practical demonstrations on the onsite Genus MOET unit. Delegates watched vet Den Leonard from Lambert, Leonard and May, using an ultrasound scanner and picked up tips on nutrition and post calving care. The free seminar was organised through the Reaseheath Agricultural Development Academy (RADA) and funded by Elanco Animal Health and the RDPE Northwest Livestock Programme. Elanco

Neil Howie and David Donaldson from Agri-King Ltd give a practical session on cow nutrition

has previously sponsored a dvd in cow footcare which was produced by Reaseheath. Welcoming the delegates, Principal Meredydd David emphasised that Reaseheath was dedicated to supporting the agricultural industry through RADA and through its many partnerships. As well as a £3 million investment into agricultural education facilities, Reaseheath was developing a team of technical specialists so it could share the latest developments with the farmer.

The college had 250 agricultural students - the largest number in its history – and also had a degree student carrying out live research into dairy cow behaviour. Summing up at the end of the day, Jonny Hewitt, Chairman of Cheshire NFU, said that it was evident that Reaseheath had outstanding passion, vision and commitment to agriculture. Its current investment would bring European class education facilities to the doorstep of farmers.

Getting to Grips with NVZs Farmers and contractors hoping to get to grips with new Nitrate Vulnerable Zone regulations attended Muck North West, a demonstration event held at Reaseheath. Sponsored by the Environment Agency and organised by Harvey Hughes Independent Rural Consultants, Muck North West’s live machinery demonstrations and discussion forums attracted farmers eager to comply with the new legislation while making the most of their muck and slurry. Slurry storage, handling and incorporation equipment, including self propelled spreaders, shallow injectors, arable injectors and umbilical equipment were in action. Alternative slurry and manure management systems including reedbeds and bio digesters were


also discussed. Farmers could bring along their own manure for a slurry nutrient analysis. Doug East, Senior Environment Officer at the Environment Agency, said: “We understand that the changes to the NVZ

Demonstration at Muck North West

regulations are a challenge for farmers. We are working with them and consultants to ensure that everyone is aware of the changes, how it affects them and the measures they can do to make the changes easier.”

A new initiative to help livestock farmers in Cheshire and Merseyside improve the performance and efficiency of their businesses is being supported by Reaseheath. The Rural Development Plan for England (RDPE) Northwest Livestock Programme aims to improve farm competitiveness, nutrient management and animal health and welfare by looking at the efficient management of farm resources through various projects. Activity includes animal health plans, nutrient management plans and demonstration events. Reaseheath is working with Myerscough College, EBLEX (English Beef and Lamb Executive), DairyCo and the English Farming and Food Partnerships to deliver the programme’s events and group work element. Two monitor farms are being set up in the sub-region: one dairy and one beef and sheep. A discussion group is attached to each. More information can be found at For further information contact Tim Goldsbrough on 07788 721 943 or email

Shepherds’ Day Reaseheath hosted a free event for anyone interested in rearing sheep. The day’s programme featured practical sessions on our commercial sheep unit and demonstrations of lamb selection and butchery. The day included a ram MOT, a practical session on sheep and lamb health care and a demonstration of our electronic ear tagging system. There was also a veterinary talk on the prevention of liver fluke. The event was sponsored by RDPE (Rural Development Plan for England) and EBLEX (English Beef and Lamb Executive) and attracted sheep farmers, small holders, students and vets.

Another accolade for apprentice joiner T

alented apprentice joiner Josh Johnson has taken top honours in a prestigious competition which rewards exceptional achievements by young people and their employers and trainers. Josh, a bench joiner with builders Conran Homes, took first place in the Further Education (Vocational) category in the North West Learner Awards 2009. The awards are run by the Learning and Skills Council. Josh learned of his success at an ‘Oscar style’ ceremony for the best candidates from the Cheshire and Warrington area. He received a trophy and vouchers from former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq, watched by supervisor Rick Peers and Reaseheath assessor Andy Armitage, who nominated him. Conran Homes specialises in bespoke conversions of barns and character properties and Josh, 20, uses his skills to handcraft woodwork. He has also encouraged his firm to progress by helping to produce risk assessments for a new workshop. Josh successfully gained his Intermediate Construction Award with us and was then helped to find his apprenticeship by Andy Armitage. He has gone on to achieve industry recognised qualifications including NVQ Level 2 in bench joinery. He is now studying towards his advanced apprenticeship, which will lift his skills to supervisory and management level. His commitment was recognised by Reaseheath tutors last year when he was crowned Apprentice of the Year. Said Reaseheath Apprenticeship Team Leader Chris Middleton: “Josh was a worthy

Big Future in Apprenticeships

Peter Johnson (right) and Reaseheath Vice Principal Dave Kynaston

Talented bench joiner Josh Johnson

winner at the North West Learner Awards and we are absolutely delighted at his success. The competition was extremely tough, as every training provider throughout the area put forward their best candidate. The award recognises the way Josh, his employers, and Reaseheath’s construction team have worked together to benefit everyone.” Josh said: “I’m really proud to have been chosen for this award.

I enjoy my work and coming to college because I’m always learning new things. I would like to become a supervisor myself and pass on the skills I have learned to future generations.” Rick Peers commented: “Josh is a pleasure to work with and is a valued member of staff, always coming up with new ideas. I am very pleased, both for him and for our company, that he has won this award.”

The potential for apprenticeships in the food and drink manufacturing industry was underlined at an event held at Reaseheath. Would-be employers and apprentices were invited to look round our food manufacturing halls during National Apprenticeship Week in an event sponsored by Improve, the sector skills council for the UK’s food and drink manufacturing industry. Peter Johnson, Skills Project Manager for Improve, said that many employers already knew the bottom-line benefits of the apprenticeship. The food and drink industry had a £77 billion turnover and was one area likely to see a rise in apprenticeships under an ambitious government programme to promote the training programme. Apprenticeships were one of the best training programmes in existence because they were shaped by industry. He was delighted to have links with Reaseheath, as it was a particularly high performing college. To find out more about apprenticeships phone 01270 613221 email

More LSC success Enthusiastic supporters of the apprenticeship scheme, John and Gaynor McNally of Greenfield Kennels, Wirral, won the Employer of the Year Award (LSC North West region). The McNallys have built up a thriving business, assisted by several animal care apprentices who have continued their training with us. The couple have worked closely with Reaseheath over the past seven years and are extremely supportive of the young people they employ. The awards ceremony took place at Aintree Racecourse.  John and Gaynor McNally receive their award from Konnie Huq watched by Reaseheath’s Chris Middleton, Margaret Henderson, Gill Lee and Sue Fitzpatrick


The Train to Gain initiative matches training needs with training providers at little or no cost where employees meet criteria. Reaseheath College offers a wide range of training opportunities to businesses including horticulture, food

manufacturing, customer service, business administration, team leading, management and information technology. Contact Janet Beardmore on 01270 613189 or email

Partnership helps Aimia develop its staff R

easeheath’s business department is helping hot and cold beverage manufacturing company Aimia Foods Ltd to continue developing its staff. Recognised as one of Britain’s Top Employers 2009*, Aimia earned particular praise for the way it promotes and develops its workforce. An expanding business with an annual turnover in excess of £50 million, the company has three sites in Haydock, Merseyside, with 30 production lines. Its core business is the supply of hot and cold beverages to the retail, foodservice and vending market trade. It also offers outsourcing solutions to major blue chip companies. With such a wide remit, the company employs a multi-skilled workforce of several hundred and says that training its staff has helped to take its business forward. Part of this success is the Train to Gain service offered onsite through a flourishing partnership with Reaseheath. The relationship, started following a site visit by Janet Beardmore from our business development department, has gone from strength to strength. Nearly 60 staff have completed or are currently working towards NVQ level 2 qualifications including food manufacture,

ITQ, business improvement techniques and team leading. Operations Director Malcolm Downing believes that the structured training formalises and recognises the duties which his staff routinely carry out. He says: “One of the greatest benefits from Train to Gain is that people get a greater understanding of what they are already doing in the workplace. We find that completing a course and gaining a certificate can give our staff a great confidence boost. “We have offered the training to everyone and it has really gained momentum. Some of our staff haven’t been in education for years but have really enjoyed the experience. It’s also a very cost effective way of upskilling the workforce.” Technical Operator Mark Smith runs a production line with special responsibilities for quality. Aged 26, he says he joined Aimia five years ago because it offered good prospects and that gaining an NVQ Level 2 Food Manufacture (production control skills) has been a good addition to his CV. He points out: “I already knew how to carry out the tasks but I now have the underpinning knowledge of why we do them.” * Guardian Books 2009

Mark Smith checks the quality of product and packaging on his production line watched by assessor Penny Scott

Gardeners’ hard graft pays off Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council is showing appreciation of its hard working gardeners by encouraging them to take further qualifications. Gardeners with the Parks and Green Scene Unit, which manages the borough’s prize winning public parks and green spaces, have been gaining new qualifications through our workbased Train to Gain programme. Assessor Jimmy Daly has been observing the gardeners at work, checking background knowledge and filling any skills gaps before helping them to complete their portfolio for NVQ Level 2 Amenity Horticulture (Landscaping). The Parks and Open Spaces Unit, which maintains two high profile town parks, 18 neighbourhood parks and 34 children’s play areas plus a large area of public open space, has long serving members who have enjoyed the challenge of returning to learning.


 Assessor Jimmy Daly presents Steve Lynch and Tony Marlow with their certificates watched by Ian Hogan

Chargehand Gardeners Tony Marley and Paul Matthews and Assistant Chargehand Gardener Steve Lynch, who between them have notched up 84 years of service, have found the experience has given them fresh confidence in their ability to

deliver a quality service. Tony, who oversees a team, said: “In this sort of job you tend to do a lot of tasks automatically but you don’t really think about why you do them. Completing the portfolio made me realise how much I

knowledge I had already – and it’s certainly encouraged me to learn more.” Steve remarked: “I’m glad I was given the chance to gain the qualification. It has been a good experience and a great achievement.” Senior Amenity Officer Ian Hogan has welcomed the onsite training for its convenience and for the way it has encouraged higher standards. He said: “I have a very experienced workforce who know how to do the job. Where they have really benefited has been in the technical feedback. “Increased education and understanding must build up confidence and it will certainly help staff in the future if they want to do further study. The programme is beneficial to the employer too – you get a more enthusiastic workforce and it doesn’t take much out of the working week.”

Reaseheath achieves excellence award for working with food employers R

easeheath became the first college in the UK to achieve a national badge of quality for the proactive way it responds to the specific needs of employers in the food industry. The Training Quality Standard (TQS) with Excellence in Food and Drink Manufacturing is awarded only to training establishments which prove that they offer top quality, employer-led training in a specific field, and that they have the flexibility, knowledge and facilities to respond to clients’ individual needs. To be considered for the accolade, our food manufacturing department had to prove that it has developed expert product and services and illustrate how well it responds and understands its specific market area. The department’s services also had to record the highest level of customer satisfaction. The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) sponsored award was independently assessed to European standards and has been endorsed by the Sector Skills Council and the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink Manufacturing. Paying tribute, Richard Marsh,

Margaret Bardsley and Meredydd David celebrate TQS success

Employer Responsiveness Director for the LSC said: “Only the best achieve this award and Reaseheath should be congratulated on reaching this very high standard. “By achieving TQS in Food and Drink Manufacturing, Reaseheath has demonstrated that it is the clear leader in the supply of training to this important sector of the economy. This quality standard is given only to those who can demonstrate excellence in their chosen field and whose customers are prepared to vouch for that excellence.

“This has been a tremendous achievement on the part of all staff in Reaseheath’s food manufacturing department.” Reaseheath’s Business Director Margaret Bardsley said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this very prestigious quality kitemark. This is proof to employers in the food and drink manufacturing industry that we offer high quality training and development solutions, product development and trials. It also confirms that we work with and for employers, and that we understand their specific business.”

Engineering Stakeholder Dinner Reaseheath Engineering further explored the training needs of industry partners at a stakeholders dinner attended by 13 influential guests from the agricultural engineering and construction plant engineering sectors. Guests included representatives from the Institute of Agricultural Engineers, the Agricultural Engineers Association, Harper Adams University College, Case IH, A Plant, Massey Ferguson, Lantra, JCB, Turner Ground Care and Raven Hill Farm Services. Head of Engineering Melvin Johnson said: “We were delighted as our guests told us they were very impressed with the scope and quality of the provision we offer and the responsiveness of us to their needs. We are in a very favourable position, as we have an enviable platform to further the quality and provision we offer. “They were all very influential people and gave us some good ideas to explore to increase our activity in the land engineering based sector.”

Business is go

Safety a priority Environmental health officers and technicians from across the north west spent a day with us gaining an insight into the health and safety issues within the golf trade. Thirty nine officers from local authorities in Cheshire, Merseyside, Manchester and Chester spent time in the classroom learning the theory behind golf course care before touring our golf facilities and watching practical demonstrations of machinery and pesticide use, tree climbing and pruning. The event, hosted by the Cheshire Environmental Health Liaison Group and funded through the Health and Safety Executive, was in answer to a demand for hands-on practical training. Co-organisers Linda Green, Health and Safety Enforcement Officer with Vale Royal Borough Council, and Terry Coppenhall,

Environmental health officers get practical tips from trainer Richard Murray

Environmental Health Officer for Crewe and Nantwich, agreed that the training event had given colleagues a better knowledge of the health and safety risk presented by golf course maintenance practices. Said Linda: “We now have a better understanding of the correct

ways that machinery should be used according to ground conditions, and the common shortcuts used in the industry that present hazards to employees. The training will help us in our duties to educate businesses as to their legal requirements and responsibilities.”

Theme park visit

Business, e-business and events management students gained a deeper understanding of the issues that face business by attending the Business Live conference at Disneyland Resort Paris. Twenty-five students and staff heard speakers from the Financial Times, Bean2Bed (a portable bed / beanbag business) and travel company Eurostar. The importance which successful businesses place on strategic marketing and careful finance, particularly in the current economic climate, was discussed. The students also enjoyed free time to visit the theme parks and were particularly interested in the film set and stunt show.


Vintage play from veteran golfers V

eteran golfers from several counties contested the 2009 Reaseheath Vintage Open, a tournament for players aged 70-plus run by degree level sports turf students. Overall winner was Jack Rowbotham, a member of Hazel Grove Golf Club, who won the men’s section. A delighted Jack said: “The students have obviously worked very hard to make sure that the course is in good condition. We have been made to feel very welcome and the whole competition has been very enjoyable.” Runner up was John Fortune and third was Max Rowe. Monica Norman triumphed in a strong women’s section, followed

by Brenda Cotton, Gwladys Summers and Fay Stubbings. Brenda and Fay are members of Reaseheath Golf Club. Monica said: “It was a lovely day and the students did an excellent job.” The 14th annual tournament took place on our commercial nine hole golf course. Sponsors included Bathgate Leisure, sand and gravel supplier, and Banner building and plumbing. Proceeds are to be donated to the Lingen Davies Cancer Relief Fund, a Shropshire charity. Degree level sportsturf students Tim Johnson, Sam Hamer and Simon Wilgose took the lead in organising the competition as part of their studies.

Vintage golf - industry supporters and the team who prepared the course

Help for job seekers Reaseheath can help you retrain for a new career, particularly if you are finding difficulty getting a job in the current economic climate. The Energisers Programme is open to young people aged 16-19 who are currently not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) and reside in either Crewe, Nantwich, Warrington or Vale Royal. Energisers is delivered over 10 weeks for no more than 12 hours per week. Sessions for the first five weeks are held at convenient local centres. You can take part in confidence building activities such as learning about healthy eating and exercise and go on day trips. You will spend the next five weeks taking part in practical sessions in college to see which subjects you enjoy. These include

working on our farm and animal centre, construction, adventure sports, floral design, horticulture and making ice cream. Your benefits remain protected and transport and lunch is provided. The Pathways Programme is for adults (19+) who live in Cheshire, Warrington and Halton, who would like to achieve an NVQ level 2 and who have no previous qualifications at this level. If you are working or volunteering you can start with an NVQ Level 1 in your workplace. Or you can try an introductory programme covering topics such as confidence building and customer service skills. The 6 Month Plus Offer is available to

Art on show Students from our adult leisure classes for watercolour painting displayed their work at Nantwich library. The exhibition covered a range of topics from flowers to local scenes. Artist Keren Sutton, who teaches the course, said: “This was a great opportunity for both beginners and more advanced students to show off their work.” First time exhibitor Jo Colyer said: “I really enjoy the classes. There’s a very relaxed atmosphere and we all share tips and interests.” Watercolour painting is just one of a wide range of day and evening leisure courses we offer. Contact 01270 613193 or email


Jo Colyer (left) and Keren Sutton hang a picture for the exhibition

those who have been unemployed for more than 6 months or more and are claiming Job Seekers Allowance. Response To Redundancy is a similar programme available to those who have been made redundant or who are serving notice. You will learn employability skills followed by taster days in a variety of departments. You may then have the option of further college training or gain an industry placement with NVQ training. You can also take NPTC certificates and other industry qualifications. There is a special a five week programme for those interested in horticulture which can lead onto a recognised qualification. Contact Tammy Sinden on 01270 613196

Landmark training course for instructors

REASEHEATH AT A GLANCE • Outstanding College (Ofsted) • Beacon College (QIA) • Dairy Champion National Skills Academy for Food and Drink Manufacture • Engineering Academy 14 years - 19 years • Training Quality Standard • Quality standard for information advice and guidance services


ineteen practical instructors have passed a new teaching qualification with flying colours. Our staff followed an intensive five day programme to gain a professional certificate in education. The City & Guilds PTTLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) programme is one of the latest government initiatives to drive up the levels of professional qualifications in teaching and learning. Reaseheath teamed up with AtLast! Training Ltd to create a bespoke course allowing our instructors to study during college holidays, avoiding disruption to students. Vice Principal Dave Kynaston said: “This has been a milestone for Reaseheath. It has been the first time that our instructors have had the opportunity to gain teaching

School Days

Subject areas:

Successful instructors celebrate their new qualifications (with Dave Kynaston and Vince Holley and Margaret Doyle-Bennett from AtLast Training)

qualifications in the workplace. The course was quite intensive but the staff’s commitment was impressive and their efforts will update their own personal qualifications as well as ensuring that Reaseheath remains at the cutting edge of technical delivery.” Succcessful instructors were: Agriculture: Dave Bramall, Mark Walton Animal Management: Lisa

Boardman, Melissa Yaxley Construction: Andrew Gould, Dan Robson, Lee Steele, Danny Collins Countryside: Adam Dempsey, Alistair Maddock Engineering: Richard Hough, Will Hughes, Ryan Johnson, Gareth Baister, Andrew Jackson, Garry Walker Equine: Liz Lyonette Food Industry: James Blakemore, Jenny Tait

Garden makeover

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

In association with:

Total students: Full time Further Education: 1,500 Higher Education: 400 Part-time inc. adult leisure: 4,000 Schools partnerships, work based learning and Train to Gain 1,400

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

Life down on the farm

Local primary schools are welcome to use the special educational facilities at our college during term time. Children can get close up and personal with some of the residents of our animal centre. We also have a farm park, stocked with rare domestic breeds. They can also take a trip round our college farm, which offers examples of high welfare farming systems, or use our woodland trail to look at a variety of wildlife habitats. Or they can try growing their own plants in our gardening department. Our Learning Lab is available over lunchtime for school groups. Cost £3.50 per child half a day / £5 full day Contact Judith Allman on 01270 613219

Turnover Academic year 2007-08: £16 million

Facilities On-site accommodation for 400; 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 agency) Further details - please ask for a prospectus

Reaseheath College Nantwich Cheshire CW5 6DF

Our Foundation horticulture students have been improving the garden for the residents of the Wingate Centre in Wrenbury, an educational centre for children with disabilities. They have been tidying the borders and making the beds more wheelchair friendly and accessible as part of their course.

Course Hotline (16-18 years): 01270 613242 Courses Hotline (19 plus) 01270 613284 Adult Leisure: 01270 613193 Reception: 01270 625131 Fax: 01270 625665 Email: Web:


Animal centre experience R

easeheath’s Animal Centre was the first college based centre in the country to be awarded a zoo licence. We have just had our licence approved for the second time, with inspectors from the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) complimenting us on our excellent standards of animal husbandry and welfare, very good enclosures and clear management. Our Animal Centre houses over 300 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates. Families can now visit our animal centre and farm park on

selected dates. You can walk round our paddocks, which are home to tapirs Ernie and Timmy, serval cat George and our friendly family of ring tailed lemurs. Meerkats, spider monkeys and porcupines are some of the other residents you may meet. Our farm park has wallabies, pygmy goats, Cameroon sheep, rhea, alpaca and ponies. Events such as reptile handling will be held throughout the day. Other activities will include quizzes and face painting. The first open day is on Sunday June 28 10am - 4pm. Entry fee: Adults £3.50, Children £2, Family ticket £10. Contact 01270 613222

Ready to meet the public: alpaca, ring tailed lemurs and Ernie the tapir

Full house at lambing event

Action in the lambing sheds

A record number of visitors flocked into college to meet our newly born lambs. Hundreds of families watched lambs being born and cared for, and children were able to cuddle some of the new arrivals. We were also visited by ITV weather girl Jo Blythe, who presented her report from the lambing sheds. A big screen showed video clips of earlier action and our experts were on hand to demonstrate the special care required for a few of the lambs, such as bottle feeding and fostering. Other stars of our popular event included a collection of creatures from our animal centre. Litters of piglets, a display of tractors, a children’s quiz and a garden plant sale were additional attractions. Our agricultural students had worked around the clock to make sure the lambs and ewes had the best care. Around 500 of our sheep give birth each year. Our lambing events have been running for the past 20 years and are becoming more popular each year. Said Steve Roach, Section Manager for Agriculture: “These events give us a fantastic opportunity to show off the type of work we do and the outstanding calibre of our students.”

Come and see us! June 2009

23-24 Cheshire Show 23 Courses Information Event, all levels (book beforehand) 6pm start 27 Reaseheath Golf Club Open Day 10am - 4pm 27-28 Arley Garden Festival 28 Animal Centre Experience, Reaseheath

July 2009 2 Graduation ceremony, Reaseheath 4 Young Farmers Rally, Reaseheath 5 The One Earth Festival, Bickley Hall 10-12 Bolesworth Show Jumping Classic, Tattenhall 18 Witches and Wizards Maze opens at Reaseheath, until September 6 18 Newport Show 22-26 RHS Show Tatton Park 29 Nantwich Show

August 2009 5-6 Bakewell Show 14-15 Shrewsbury Flower Show 16 Cheshire Game and Angling Fair, Peover

September 2009

Prepare to be Spellbound! Families visiting our maze this year will have to be prepared to come under Reaseheath’s spell! Witches and wizards is the theme for our popular puzzle, which is hidden within our giant maize crop. Our ‘Witches’ maze covers eight acres – equivalent to more than three full sized football pitches – and incorporates two miles of paths and bridges. We have also constructed a smaller ‘Spider’s web’ for younger or less active visitors. Wizardly characters are hiding in both mazes. Unfortunately we can’t hand out broomsticks, but

Diary Dates…

each group of visitors receives a flag to wave if the quest for the maze centre gets too difficult! Maze games and light refreshments are available and we have picnic tables and plenty of space for parking. Witches and Wizards Maze is open from July 18 to September 6. 11am – 6pm (last ticket 4.30pm). Family ticket £15; Adults £5; Children / Concessions £4; Children under three free. Evening and group bookings on request. Contact Jane Clegg 01270 613215 email

6 Witches and Wizards maze closes, Reaseheath 16-17 Dairy Event and Livestock Show, Stoneleigh Park 26 Reaseheath Golf Club Open Day 10am – 4pm 30 Cheshire Ploughing and Hedgecutting Championships

October 2009 17-18 Apple festival, Reaseheath

w w w. r e a s e h e a t h . a c . u k l 0 1 2 7 0 6 2 5 1 3 1 Written and edited by Reaseheath’s Press Officer Lynne Lomax 01270 613279 l Designed inhouse by Colin Barnes l Inhouse photography by Paul Daniels l Printed by Inprint Colour Limited 01270 251589

Grassroots 17 online  

Reaseheath College - Grassroots Newsletter - Issue 17