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The latest news from Reaseheath College

Issue 22

In this issue

Farming Minister Jim Paice visit See page 2

Spooky skeleton See page 17

HE Graduation - See page 5

Happy future for puppies See page 19

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New Investment Reaseheath is continuing to invest into world class specialist educational facilities and resources, with over £10 million worth of new build completed and opened within the last 12 months. This has included an Animal Management Training Centre and a Food Innovation Centre - both recognised as being the best in the country - an agricultural education and innovation centre, a new hub for students with learning difficulties and disabilities, a dedicated HE centre and refurbished adventure sports facilities. We have invested £3.5 million into our dairy and livestock facilities

Minister applauds new agricultural centre An education and innovation centre, designed to be at the forefront of developments in agriculture, was officially opened at Reaseheath by Jim Paice, Minister for Food and Agriculture. The John Platt Centre for Agriculture is a dual purpose information hub which meets the needs of both students and farmers. It is the new home of the Reaseheath Agricultural Development Academy (RADA), which aims to share cutting edge knowledge and technology transfer across all sectors of the industry. Jim Paice said: “Places like the John Platt Centre represent the future for British farming. With huge challenges and opportunities for British farmers to supply an increasingly hungry world, facilities like these really will lead the way on advances in technology, business

 Minister Jim Paice chats to food technologists in the Eden International Dairy Academy


and competitiveness. “The centre will also help to attract the most talented people into the industry. British food and farming are already highly regarded all over the world, and this will help pioneer the UK’s reputation as a centre of excellence for innovation and expertise.” The Minister also toured other state of the art buildings on our college farm including a fast exit milking parlour, an RSPCA approved high welfare pig unit and a demonstration anaerobic digester. £3.5 million has been invested on the farm over the past couple of years, making the facilities among the best in the country. The John Platt Centre includes a RADA seminar room which is used to support Knowledge and Technology Transfer activities with farmers

and into a demonstration anaerobic digester on our commercial farm. A further £2.5 million is currently being spent on new and enlarged dining and recreational areas. Improved sporting facilities and new halls of residence are planned. Over £35 million has been spent campus-wide over the past five years. The investment is aimed at ensuring Reaseheath students leave with the knowledge, skills and qualifications demanded by employers and universities. Currently 93% of our students gain meaningful employment with a good career path or progress onto a higher level course.

 Minister Jim Paice joins agriculture students Harry Ripley and Charlotte Bloor in our dairy

through workshops, master classes, and discussion groups. Much of this work is funded through the Rural Development Programme for England. The facility has already been used by top level advisors employed by Nestlé Pakistan, who were sent to Reaseheath for bespoke training in dairy herd management. (see page 16) The centre also has seven student classrooms equipped with the latest IT systems which allow the teaching of theory and practical skills in a single session. The building has been named in honour of John Platt, who recently retired after 15 years as Chairman of Reaseheath Governors. A keen dairy farmer,

John was Chair of the Cheshire Agricultural Society for 30 years and also co-ordinated the Cheshire Show. Last year he played a key role in the successful purchase of the high genetic merit Genus MOET herd for the college. Said Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David: “John is a true leader within the agricultural community and he is held in high esteem by everyone he has helped. “We have named this building in recognition of John’s superb contribution to Reaseheath and his excellence in and love of farming and I am delighted the Minister agreed to officially open the centre.”

New Investment

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Food Innovation Centre will help British businesses A unique, world class, food and drink manufacturing centre which will help businesses meet a growing demand for high quality British food has been officially opened on campus. Geoff Russell, Chief Executive of the Skills Funding Agency, toured our new Food Innovation Centre before unveiling a plaque. The event marked the completion of a £7.2 million investment into two factorystandard food processing and manufacturing halls which will be used by national and regional businesses for new product development and trials. The complex includes both the Food Innovation Centre, which allows for the manufacture of all foods including dairy products, butchery, bakery and confectionery, and the Eden International Dairy Academy, a dairy processing plant, which was opened last year. The state-of-the-art facilities, recognised as the best offered by any college in Europe, are staffed by a team of specialist technicians and food scientists.

As well as giving businesses the chance to develop relevant skills and new products, the food halls are also being used to train food and drink manufacturing students, apprentices and future managers already working in the industry. The capital investment was supported by the Skills Funding Agency, the North West Regional Development Agency and leading industry bodies. After touring the food halls and talking to industry leaders and students, Geoff Russell said: “This new centre is an excellent facility - a first class environment where employers can confidently invest in the skills of their workforce and develop their businesses. The development highlights our continuing support and commitment to helping colleges modernise to ensure they meet the needs of learners, employers and entire communities. “Investment in skills significantly impacts on the local economy by providing jobs, promoting and encouraging enterprise and up-skilling learners of all ages and from all backgrounds.”

p Geoff Russell opens the Food Innovation Centre watched by Meredydd David and student ambassadors

Principal Meredydd David commented: “The world and its communities are facing a great challenge. The population is predicted to grow to eight billion by 2050 with a doubling in food requirements without any increase in available land. “Joint investment from industry and Government in research,

technology and specialist staff will need to continue to make sure science can help the world meet the need for more food. Reaseheath will continue to support the food and low carbon agenda by working at the forefront of knowledge transfer, research and technological advancement.”

Weaver Centre is blueprint for the future A custom built centre for young people and adults who need additional support has been opened at Reaseheath. The Weaver Centre, which caters for 160 students from several counties, was described by Cheshire East Council’s Lorraine Butcher as a blueprint for the future. Lorraine, who is Strategic Director, Children, Families and Adults Services, said: “I am delighted that we now have a dedicated centre catering for young people across the region. This is very much in line with Cheshire East’s vision to open up a wider education for all, and very much the way society is moving. “The centre has a unique setting in the centre of campus and students are very much part of the college community. I am impressed that students and staff

have already taken over ownership of the building and the pride that they have is very evident.” The £423,000 self contained building with full disabled facilities was funded equally by Cheshire East Council and by Reaseheath and includes three class rooms with computers and a tutorial room. The name Weaver, which is local, was chosen by the students. They also contributed to the centre’s design and build. The building, which is staffed by specialists, caters for a range of students from those with mild learning difficulties to those with severe and profound learning difficulties. It is also used widely to give taster sessions to school pupils with moderate to mild learning difficulties and by students who have moved up a level in their education. The students, who study

 Lorraine Butcher and Leader of Cheshire East Wesley Fitzgerald (right) are joined by Head of Foundation Kay Lawrence, Chair of Governors Emily Thrane and Principal Meredydd David

animal management, horse care, agriculture, construction and horticulture, enjoy practical sessions using all the college’s specialist resources. Principal Meredydd David said: “This is a very exciting day. We have wanted a dedicated centre like this for some years and we are very grateful for the financial contribution and support from

Cheshire East Council. “This department was launched as a pilot scheme ten years ago and has grown both in size and success, to the point where it has been officially recognised as outstanding by Ofsted. “We are delighted that Cheshire East has recognised our expertise and commitment and has chosen to support this shared vision.”



Reaseheath tops the league for agricultural employment Reaseheath agriculture graduates have the most success at finding jobs, a national survey has found. The National Student Satisfaction Survey, which questioned thousands of higher level students nationwide, showed that 95% of Reaseheath’s agricultural graduates found employment or went into further study. The figures put Reaseheath firmly at the top of the employment league of educational institutions offering degree courses in agriculture and related studies. We were followed by Writtle College with 91% and the Scottish Agricultural College and the Royal Agricultural College, both with 85%. A further breakdown of statistics showed that 50% of Reaseheath’s agriculture graduates went directly into higher level jobs such as management. The survey also showed that an overwhelming majority of the students (83%) were satisfied with their course. The survey, based on the experiences of final year students from leading colleges and universities, is carried out by the government and provides data for its official comparison site.

Our agriculture graduates can look forwards to a successful future

Principal Meredydd David said: “We are delighted with these results, which shows that our graduates are much sought after by industry and have gained the knowledge and skills that make them really competitive in the jobs market.”

Reaseheath is one of the UK’s leading agriculture and dairy production education centres and has a national reputation for delivering world class agricultural education and training. We have 420 agricultural students, 95 of

whom are studying degree level courses. Degree level students are encouraged to carry out practical research and trial work in our dairy and commercial sheep and pig units alongside their academic studies.

New Undergraduate Centre Our cobbled central courtyard has been transformed into a dedicated HE Centre for the growing number of students choosing to study degrees with us. The redesigned buildings, which are connected by covered glass ‘cloisters’, include a new lecture theatre, classrooms, IT suites and areas for private study. The redesign was carried out sensitively with the co-operation of Cheshire


East’s conservation officer, as the building is within a conservation area. Working closely with industry, we offer relevant degrees and higher level courses in adventure sports, agriculture, animal management, countryside management, engineering, equine science, floristry, food industry and landscape and amenity horticulture. Many of our graduates progress into management roles.

New Centre for HE


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Graduates celebrate highlight of academic year Reaseheath graduates celebrated the highlight of their academic year with a graduation ceremony at Nantwich Civic Hall. The ceremony, attended by parents, college governors, education leaders and civic dignitaries, marked the achievement of 130 students who had successfully completed higher level courses validated by Harper Adams University College (HAUC). The graduation was held during Colleges Week, a nationwide celebration of the unique contribution colleges make to the economic and social life within their communities. The event was particularly significant because, although Reaseheath has been delivering higher education programmes for over 20 years and has over 600 students enrolled on programmes with our two partner universities, this was the first time that we had hosted a graduation ceremony and the first time that a graduation ceremony had been held in Nantwich. The graduates had been studying agriculture, equine science, food manufacture, horticulture or engineering. Animal management students will graduate at an event held by the University of Chester. Guest speaker was triple Olympian Richard Davison, whose son Joe was one of the graduates. Four students who achieved First Class Honours degrees received special mention. They were Dawn Gale, Mary

Lennon and Louisa Woodcock (BSc Equine Science) and Laura Whalley (BSc Food Technology). Dawn and Mary are planning to set up similar mobile services advising horseowners on worming programmes. Both enjoyed the parasiticology modules of their course and are aiming to use their skills to keep horses healthy with the minimum of chemicals. Louisa is an equine loss adjustor for Equine First Claims Management, Wirral. She has continued to work part-time during her studies. Laura works for Knight International, auditors for the British Retail Consortium - the trade association for the UK retail industry. Her role is to assist with audit reports on food businesses ensuring that food standards and procedures are met - a topic which she studied in depth on her college course. She worked part-time for the company while studying and was offered a full-time post as soon as she completed her degree.

Jon Miles BSc (Hons) in Landscape Design and Management

Mark of success - the graduation ceremony

 Benjamin Clark, Stephen Davies, Charlie Webber, Thomas Hopkins and Richard Cornes, Machinery Dealership Management graduates

Guest speaker Richard Davison and his son Joe

 First Class Honours: Mary Lennon, Dawn Gale, Louisa Woodcock and Laura Whalley

 Nicole Turner and Steven Williams, BSc (Hons) in Landscape Design and Management



Annual Awards Reaseheath has enjoyed yet another year of exceptional success, with record numbers of higher and further education students enrolling and achieving qualifications. Our reputation has increased nationally and internationally and nearly 7,000 students from over 110 local authorities and from over a dozen countries now study with us. Our annual awards ceremony, celebrating the success of Further Education learners who have completed qualifications, was attended by a record 850 students and their proud families. We had our customary marquee in front of the college lake and our visitors enjoyed strolling around the grounds in glorious sunshine. Guest speakers were Peter Lauener, Chief Executive of the Young People’s Learning Agency, and Dr David Llewellyn, Principal of Harper Adams University College. A vote of thanks was given by Lionel Smith, Sabbatical Student Association President.

Top of the class Eight outstanding students received cross college awards in recognition of their personal achievements. David Ambridge, a Level 3 Diploma in Countryside Management student, was chosen as the student making the best contribution to college life. A key member of the Student Association, he was singled out for supporting all fund raising activities and always offering help to the student services team. Four Irish National Diploma in Land Based Technology students, Brian O’Shaughnessy, Colm Moloney, Harold Goulden and Laurence O’Brien, shared the accolade of making the best all round contribution to our college. The friends, all keen sports players, helped the football and rugby teams to inter-college league success and introduced the sport of hurling to students. They also managed to make the most of social events while still achieving a triple distinction in their coursework. Rugby player Reece


Cross College Award winners Sophie Pegg Brian O’Shaughnessy, Colm Moloney, Harold Goulden, Joe Davison and David Ambridge

Jack Hockenhull, award winner, Adventure Sports

Maybury received the award for contributing most to our college’s sporting activities. Reece, a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport student, was honoured for the way he inspired the college rugby team. It was mainly through his influence that the team had won the British College Sports League. Sophie Pegg, who is studying for a BSc Degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare, was singled out for personal qualities. A member of the Students Association, she was recognised for her bubbly personality and for her leadership skills. Sophie is also a course representative and is a student advisor on the board of governors. Joe Davison, a BSc Equine Science degree student, was awarded the Beacon Trophy celebrating excellence. Joe received the accolade for his showjumping success on a regional, national and international level. As a member of Great Britain’s Young Rider Showjumping team, Joe played a key role in helping to secure team gold at the FEI Nations Cup in Belgium and team silver in Germany. He is a member of the UK Sport’s World Class Development Programme.

Events Management students Kate Bennett, Emily Bennett, Amy Barrow, Nicola Lee, Jenny Barrow and Jordan Lane

Meredydd David, former Chair of Governors John Platt and Dr David Llewellyn celebrate with prize winning students


Horse management: Sarah Yeates, Rhian Wynter and Polly Russell

 Alun Jones - JCB Workwear prize for the best performing student on an agriculture course

 Rachel Brennan - Best Scientific Project - Level 3 Diploma Animal Management

Pre Entry students and tutors celebrate the end of term

issue 22

Countryside and environment: Thomas Grosvenor and Sam Jones

Top Construction Students - Ewan Collins, James Minshall and Harry Finch

Successful florists Vicky Carr, Victoria Tempest and Philip Stanworth



Apprentices recognised for excellence Over 160 apprentices who combine their jobs with college training had their efforts applauded at a special awards evening. The apprentices, who work in businesses throughout Cheshire and surrounding counties, were celebrating completing a training programme in which they attend college once a week and spend the rest of the week in the workplace. Reaseheath is a major trainer within the apprenticeship scheme, which encourages wage-earning trainees aged 16 24 to gain nationally recognised qualifications while working. We also offer adult apprenticeships for those aged over 25. The scheme is supported by many employers, who include golf clubs, exterior landscapers, kennels, pet shops, livery stables, florists, farms and the food and construction industries. Addressing a packed audience, Reaseheath’s Director of Business Development and Marketing Margaret Bardsley congratulated the apprentices and their employers for investing in education which would both boost productivity and improve the individual worker’s skills. Guest speaker Simon Tetlow, Deputy Head Manager at Tatton Park, described the positive effect that his own nine apprentices had had on his gardening team. Top honours went to Apprentice of the Year Kelly Barker, a business administration apprentice at Reaseheath, and to Advanced Apprentice of the Year Peter Drury, a bricklayer who works for A & P Builders, Nantwich. Kelly joined the Reaseheath team straight from school as a Level 2 apprentice and has progressed onto her Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship. She now has a permanent position as a workforce development clerk. Peter Drury began his working life as a croupier in a casino before making a career change and entering the construction industry. He funded his own studies for his first qualification before gaining an adult apprenticeship. He runs his own company.


Advanced apprentice of the year Peter Drury and runner up Adam Jones 

Runner Up Apprentice of the Year was Phil Blackwell, also a bricklayer, who is employed by P.E. Jones Contractors of Alderley Edge while Adam Jones, who works for Acorn Joinery and Building in Crewe, was Runner Up Advanced Apprentice of the Year. Adam is also employed as a part-time instructor in our construction department. Announcing the awards, Workforce Development Manager Christine Middleton said that apprentices had proved to be hard working, focused and an inspiration to others – the sort of skills welcomed by employers. Other awards were: Best Agriculture Project: Jon Minger (Monneley Farms, Barthomley). Best Animal Care Apprentice: Jenny Watterson (Ivy Boarding Kennels, Wirral). Best Construction Apprentice: Oliver Stubbs (T.G. Stubbs, Alsager). Best Food Apprentice: Rob Prendergast (trainee dairy technologist, First Milk). Best Horticulture Apprentice: Luke Wilson (Claire Austin Hardy Plants, Shrewsbury). Best Floristry Apprentice: Amy Gough (Elizabeth’s Flower Shop, Newcastle-under-Lyme). For further details of apprenticeships contact Reaseheath’s Work Based Development team: 01270 613258.

 Apprentice of the Year Kelly Barker (centre) with work force development manager Kate Williams, customer services team leader Jo Studzinska, fellow apprentice Emily Welch and work based assessor Paula Bradbury.

Best floristry apprentice Amy Gough

Best food apprentice Rob Prendergast receives his award from Rob Willock, Operations Development Manager for Muller UK


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National Trust wardens and gardeners graduate Trainee countryside wardens and gardeners celebrated graduating from the National Trust’s flagship careership training programme. The trainees, who work at the charity’s historic properties nationwide, had completed a tailormade, three year training programme run in partnership with Reaseheath. Careership trainees attend college on block release and their training continues in the workplace from their managers, supported by visiting Reaseheath assessors. Special awards went to two outstanding gardeners, Isabel Stratton (National Trust Award for the Best Trainee Gardener) and Sarah Willis (James Row Memorial Award for Endeavour). Outstanding wardens were Mathew Watson (National Trust Award for the Best Trainee Warden) and Kelly Payne (Gareth Seel Award for Endeavour) Isabel works at Nymans Garden, West Sussex, while Sarah is a gardener at Powis Castle, Powys. Matthew is a warden at the National Trust’s Yorkshire Dales Estate while Kelly Payne works at the Bodium Castle and Winchelsea

 Fiona Braithwaite shows off her C&G medal to Mike Calnan NT Head of Gardens, NT Training Programmes Manager Shona Dagless and Reaseheath tutor Ken Higginbotham

Estate, East Sussex. All were chosen for their enthusiasm, teamwork and contribution to their course. An additional presentation was made to talented gardener Fiona Braithwaite, who received a City & Guilds Medal for Excellence in recognition of her exceptional performance. Fiona was put forward for the award by her lecturers, who were

impressed both by her outstanding portfolio and by her key role in restoring the Poem Garden at Bodnant Garden in North Wales where she is now employed as a permanent gardener. Fiona said: “I was thrilled to hear that I had been awarded a City & Guilds medal, not just for the recognition that I have received for my work, but as a means of acknowledging the

Amber rides high Bishop Heber High School, Malpas, pupil Amber Jones was riding high after being selected as best student on a horse care course. Amber was one of over 100 Key Stage 4 pupils from secondary schools throughout Cheshire and Staffordshire to successfully complete vocational qualifications with us. The pupils attend college one day a week while continuing to study for conventional GCSEs at school. They can choose to study horse care, horticulture, agriculture, construction, engineering or animal care as part of the Vocational Opportunities Programme. Those who successfully complete the course gain a City & Guilds Level 1 Certificate in Land Based Studies.

Amber was selected as horse care student of the year after impressing instructors with her enthusiasm and willingness to learn. She was presented with a trophy by sponsor Carol Chandler of Nantwich Saddlery. Reaseheath’s Pre 16 Learning Manager Graham Morgan said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for young people in their final two years at school to receive a practical, work-related experience as part of the Key Stage 4 curriculum. It’s an opportunity for them to do something different from the subjects they are offered at school. “Although some, like Amber, are already competent, many have little or no experience when they start the course. However,

skills and support of those who have helped me.” National Trust Head of Gardens Mike Calnan said: “We chose Reaseheath as our training partner because it delivers the best course available in the country. We are delighted because our gardeners and wardens are now fully equipped to look after the Trust’s fantastic gardens and landscaped parks.”

 Amber Jones celebrates becoming Student of the Year with horse Teddy

they quickly gain knowledge and practical skills and many go on to take further qualifications and follow successful careers in their chosen subject.” A total of 450 school pupils aged between 14 and 16 study at Reaseheath on a weekly basis.

In addition to the Vocational Opportunities Programme, we offer Diplomas in Environment and Land Based Studies and in Engineering. We also run two popular Young Apprenticeships in the Motor Industry and in Food and Drink Manufacturing.


Showtime Cheshire Show

Reaseheath’s a winner Reaseheath’s visitor friendly exhibition was voted top trade stand and took a gold medal at Cheshire Show after we impressed judges with the enthusiasm of our staff and students, the diversity of our activities and the efforts we made to involve our audience. The show coincided with VQ Day, a national celebration of students who gain vocational qualifications, so we had double the reason to showcase the success of our students. Our stand offered a diverse range of activities including a climbing wall, a mechanical horse and bricklaying. Engineers stripped down a gearbox, horticulture students recreated the winning garden from our college festival and construction students and staff built a gazebo. Pens of calves and sheep encouraged visitors to learn more about food and farming, and pets

and reptiles from our animal centre were on display. A practical floristry demonstration, wildlife home building, a competition to identify vegetables and an interactive display by the food department were also part of the action. The college stand, under the banner ‘Do Something Different’, has scooped a medal at the Cheshire Show for eight consecutive years. It is one of the top regional agricultural shows in the country. Marketing Manager Glyn Ferriday said: “Attending good rural shows like these gives us a great opportunity to meet the public and demonstrate the huge range of vocational activities we offer. We are very proud of the success of our students and staff and this is a great platform to show what we can do. Everyone worked as a team to make the trade stand bigger and better this year and we were delighted to gain the top award.”

 Molly and Jack Marrs and Daisy and Louis Therin meet Arthur the tortoise and instructor Leanne Lowton

John Platt Scholarship handed over

 David Williams and Richard Edge celebrate the award of their scholarships with John Platt and Principal Meredyddd David

Digital Marketing Officer Liz Green and FE and Business Marketing Officer Faye Thomson-Butt celebrate with Glyn Ferriday

 The eye-catching gazebo built by Construction students and staff


Two high flying young Cheshire dairy farmers will be travelling to Canada, thanks to an annual scholarship which is managed by Reaseheath. David Williams, 28, of Sandbach and Richard Edge, 24, of Middlewich, each received £2,000 John Platt Travel Scholarships at a presentation at the Cheshire Show. Both plan to use the scholarships to gain a deeper insight into managing and increasing the profitability of large dairy herds. David intends to visit dairy units in Manitoba to research how successful farms maximise fertility while maintaining herd health and welfare. Richard plans to visit the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, which attracts Canada’s best cows and top judges. He hopes to make new industry contacts and also to visit research farms. David studied agricultural engineering with us before returning to the family farm to help manage the 300 head dairy herd. He said: “This has given me an

amazing opportunity to travel and to look at systems which operate successfully in other parts of the world. I am hoping that my new knowledge will help us to expand the herd and increase profit.” Richard, an agricultural graduate from Harper Adams University College, also helps to manage the family farm, which has a dairy herd of 430 cows. He commented: “Winning the John Platt award will give me a fantastic opportunity to expand my knowledge of world dairying by mixing with professionals from other countries.” John Platt OBE retired three years ago after 30 years as chair of the Cheshire Agricultural Society and also co-ordinated the Cheshire Show for many years. He has also just retired as chair of Reaseheath governors. The John Platt Scholarship is open to anyone aged between 18 and 35 who lives or works in Cheshire and is employed in agriculture or related industries. Details: Dee Reynolds 01270 613198.

Showtime Nantwich Show

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Success at Nantwich Show Our success continued at the Nantwich Show, where our show stand was awarded second place in the Professional Trade Stand competition. We were also in the ribbons at the Nantwich International Cheese Show, an integral part of Nantwich Show which attracts worldwide competition and interest from within the industry. We were delighted to take a bronze award at this prestigious event with one of seven cheeses made by students in our Eden International Dairy Academy. The award went to an entry in the Novice Cheesemakers’ class, an 18 kilo block of Cheshire cheese made by agricultural students Dane Jones and Richard Upton. They were two of a group of eight students from our agriculture department who opted to learn first hand about the manufacturing processes involved in making good cheese. The experience was offered specifically to help them understand the requirements of the dairy manufacturing industry and how these can be successfully met by

Sheep Unit Manager Matt Bagley with our prizewinning lambs

suppliers. As well as learning the technical processes, the students studied market demand and how this affects the final product. In total we entered four Cheshire cheeses, two Cheddar cheeses and one double Gloucester cheese in the show - four in novice classes and three in open classes. Project Eden students (see page 15) also made some of the cheeses. Representatives from our food department took the opportunity to share a stand with industry partner Quadra Chem (QCL), which provides analytic testing solutions

Dr Karl Feakes with our prize winning cheese

for cheese makers. We also had success in the livestock section, where our commercial sheep flock was making its showing debut. Trios of home bred lambs selected by Sheep Unit Manager Matt Bagley took third and fifth place in the Butchers Lambs class against strong competition, a very good start which we hope to build on. Our agriculture students also scored a hatrick by winning the award for the tidiest cattle lines for their third consecutive show (more on page 13).

 FE and Business Marketing Officer Faye Thomson-Butt at our Nantwich stand


Royal Welsh Show Reaseheath underlined its support for the farming community in Wales by sponsoring the finals of the Wales Young Farmers’ Clubs competition, held daily on stage at the prestigious Royal Welsh Show. Our Principal Meredydd David joined other key supporters to present trophies to the winners of what must be the most hotly contested events in the annual Welsh farming calendar. The finals were held throughout the four day show and hundreds of members and supporters congregated at the YFC dedicated stage each day to watch as competitors from the whole of Wales showed off their talents. The categories sponsored by Reaseheath included ‘On the News’, in which a team write and

present a relevant news item, a fire prevention roadshow, a dance contest and a competition for the best musical band using recycled garden materials for instruments. The Royal Welsh show is the highlight of the year for Wales YFC, which hosts an action packed programme of events on stage and is also responsible for the Young Peoples’ Village at the show. Reaseheath’s award winning marketing team, supported by members of college departments, supported the Royal Welsh Show by manning a stand and providing activities for the thousands of visitors. Our agriculture students also continued their success in the cattle showring (see facing page).


The Reaseheath team at the Royal Welsh Show

 Principal Meredydd David presents a trophy to young farmers representing Carmarthenshire, winners of the ‘On the News’ competition

College sheep flock best baa none Our commercial sheep flock has won first prize in its category in the Cheshire Farms Competition for the second year running. The 550 head flock gives agricultural students hands-on experience of managing a top class unit as well as providing college income. It is just one of our commercial on-farm enterprises. The accolade is seen as prestigious recognition within the farming industry. Sheep Unit Manager Matthew Bagley is already aiming for a hat trick next year - a feat never achieved before. Explained Matthew: “The Cheshire Farms Competition was set up and is judged by farmers and is extremely well respected


within the industry. The judges looked at every aspect of the enterprise, from marketing to the breeding policy. “This is a very prestigious prize because it means that the way we manage the flock is regarded as top class. It confirms that our students are learning best practice and that they are taking that knowledge and expertise back into the industry when they take up employment.” The Cheshire Farms Competition is one of the longest running, industry judged competitions in England. Past Chairman Ian Garnett said: “Success at our competition is regarded with tremendous respect. Winners must display

 Matthew Bagley and assistant stockman Toby Lawton with our prize winning sheep flock

extremely high levels of animal husbandry and stock management, combined with a keen eye for detail. You must also show sound business skills evidenced by commercial figures showing a healthy enterprise with a good annual return. “We were very impressed with

Reaseheath’s entry again this year. The win was well deserved, as there were particularly high standards and increased entries in the sheep flock category.” • Matthew represents the central region on the National Committee of the National Sheep Association

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Reaseheath Holsteins make their mark Reaseheath Holsteins have made their mark on the cattle showing scene during their first season appearing under our new herd prefix. Our high merit dairy herd, formerly known as the Genus MOET herd, was purchased for the college in 2010. The acquisition has given agricultural students the chance to learn how to train and prepare young animals for the showring and the opportunity to score some fantastic success at some of the country’s foremost agricultural shows. We have not shown our own cows for 11 years and our reappearance in the showring was welcomed by fellow exhibitors, judges and commentators. As well as gaining useful experience, our students have used the opportunity to make contacts within the industry. Hours of preparation and caring for the cattle round-theclock on the showgrounds paid off, with our students scoring a hat-trick by winning the award for the tidiest cattle line at Cheshire Show, at Nantwich Show and at the Royal Welsh Show. They also brought home a fistful of rosettes from each appearance, both in cattle classes and in handler classes, a true testament to the dedication and enthusiasm of tutors Natalie Gascoyne and Julie Baskerville. The herd’s showing debut at Cheshire Show saw six heifers taking part in showing classes and in the Parade of Champions.

Reaseheath Holsteins – out in force at Nantwich Show

An even larger team of students took seven young animals to the Nantwich Show. And, excitingly, one of the first dairy calves born under the Reaseheath prefix registered an impressive placing at the Royal Welsh Show. Reaseheath Tennyson Mazurka B, better known to students as ‘Lady Gaga’, took third place in the Holstein maiden heifer class at the prestigious show, a particularly pleasing result as she was competing against 12 older and larger calves. She was shown by 19 year-old Davina Harding, who has just completed her Level 3 Diploma in Agriculture with us and is now working as a herdsperson. Four heifers from the Reaseheath herd competed at the Royal Welsh Show and students were also encouraged to help other exhibitors in the cattle lines.

 Davina Harding and Lady Gaga celebrate their third place at the Royal Welsh

Winning the Tidy lines competition at Cheshire Show

Sarah Sutton shows off her handling expertise at Nantwich Show


Reaseheath is pick of the bunch There were celebrations all round after Reaseheath horticulture and floristry students and staff carried off top medals at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park. Our show garden, inspired by the children’s classic book ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett, was awarded a silver medal and attracted thousands of visitors. The exhibit, depicting a forgotten garden which is found and reclaimed by children, also proved a media magnet and appeared on BBC North West Tonight and on the popular Gardeners World programme. Stars of the show were primary school children Josh Price, Benji Bailey and Teagan Owen. Dressed in Edwardian costume to match the period of the book, which was celebrating its 100th birthday, the children acted out the garden’s discovery. Gardening guru Carol Klein and journalist Kate Sims were among tv presenters to creep through the forgotten doorway. The garden was researched, designed and built by garden design and horticulture students working at all levels, from degree courses to Land Based Diploma pupils on day release from regional schools plus keen gardeners from our popular RHS day and evening courses. A wall of reclaimed Cheshire brick was built by staff from our horticulture and construction departments. Said garden design lecturer Carol Adams, who led the team: “This is a rare opportunity for a wide range of students to get involved in the design and build of a garden at the highest level and they all gain a lot from the experience. We were delighted that the quality of their work was recognised by the judges.” The garden has since been rebuilt at Trentham Gardens at Stoke-on-Trent, joining two further demonstration gardens which have been built by our students. The Trentham Estate sponsored the garden, along with Nantwich Buildbase, Beeston Reclamation, All Turf Ltd. and the Mill Meece Pumping Station Preservation Trust.


 Benji Bailey, Josh Price and Teagan Owen ‘discover’ the Secret Garden

Carol Klein presents Gardeners World from ‘The Secret Garden’.

Reaseheath’s florists also had cause for celebration after being awarded a silver-gilt medal and the title of most creative exhibition in the floral design studio for their contemporary gold and green design. Said floristry tutor Sarah Parker: “We were thrilled with both of our achievements this year. It really shows that Reaseheath can compete and win alongside the best.” Student Adrian Thomas, who has just completed his Level 3 Diploma in Floristry with us and runs his own on-line business, also won a silver-gilt medal. Fellow students Vicky Carr and Victoria Tempest both reached the top five of the intermediate section of the national WorldSkillsUK floristry finals. The competition, aimed at spotting talented young florists who could represent the UK at the 2013 WorldSkills Championships, brought together top scorers from all over the country. Both students collected ‘highly commended’ medals after a full day under the spotlight, during which they created a necklace, floor standing design, hand tied bouquet and a design of their own choice. Deborah Richardson of the British Floral Association, who manage the competition, commented: “Only the most talented florists qualify and Reaseheath did extremely well to have two contestants in the finals.”

Florists Sarah Parker and Ruth Clarke with their awards

 Victoria Tempest and Vicky Carr celebrate success in the WorldSkillsUK floristry finals

issue 22

Reaseheath triumphs against Project Eden Students of stiff industry competition the Year Reaseheath’s food manufacturing department has taken a major industry award in the face of competition from multi-national businesses. Our contribution towards a groundbreaking degree level qualification in dairy technology was recognised at the prestigious Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) Food Industry Awards in London. We joined partners Dairy UK (the dairy industry’s trade body) and the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink to receive the John Sainsbury Learning and Development Award, which rewards commitment to people development. Other entries in the hotly contested category came from Morrisons, Tesco International and The Co-operative. The award was in recognition of Project Eden, a unique programme that has transformed dairy training in the UK. We have worked with six blue chip dairy companies to create a Europeanrecognised Foundation Degree in Dairy Technology to train the next generation of dairy technologists. Our Eden International Dairy Academy is the only centre to provide this bespoke training. Seventy-five students, a mix of new entrants to the industry and existing workforce, are currently enrolled. Vice Principal Dave Kynaston

 Second year top students Troy Binch and Dawn Mason with lecturer Marian Pusey and the NSA’s Jonathan Cooper 

Vice Principal Dave Kynaston with the IGD award for learning and development

said: “We were absolutely delighted to win such a prestigious award, particularly against such stiff opposition from major players. The Eden project was showcased as a groundbreaking initiative in the commercial world of learning and development. “This is a huge boost to our food manufacturing department and puts us in the ranks of the big players in the industry. This is well deserved recognition for everyone who has contributed to the success of Project Eden.” IGD Chief Executive Joanne Denney-Finch said: “The Food Industry Awards recognise the best-in-class and demonstrate some of the most exciting new

thinking in food and grocery. Our world class industry has a great story to tell and we should celebrate with great pride those companies and individuals that are putting their stamp on the industry.” • A new UK training programme for dairy industry engineers is planned for 2012 as part of the Project Eden initiative. Our nationally recognised Engineering department will deliver the programme in partnership with Midland Group Training Services. The engineering students will train on the latest plant and production equipment in our Eden International Dairy Academy.

 Top first year students Pedros dos Santos, Simon Grills and Mitchell Tullett with Liz Pattison, Head of Skills Solutions, NSA

Cheesemaking on the menu for American visitors Students, teaching staff and environmental specialists from two continents compared notes during an international exchange at Reaseheath. Our food technology department welcomed visitors from the USA’s Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) for a week long, whistle stop tour which included visits to dairy manufacturing plants in the region and a practical cheese making session in our Eden International Dairy Academy. The group, which included seven graduates and undergraduates specialising in agriculture, food and science, were invited to Reaseheath on a reciprocal exchange programme. Our own food

Our international exchange visitors enjoy meeting our staff

technology students and staff have enjoyed two study tours in Tennessee and have both times visited the University for lectures and seminars. Food Industry Training Coordinator Julie Bent has helped to develop close relationships between the two institutions.

Food Safety Officer John Sanford, who accompanied the group, said: “The whole visit has been fantastic and we’ve really appreciated the hospitality shown to us. The emphasis put into agricultural and food production education by Reaseheath is amazing.”

Trainee dairy technologists who are studying on the Project Eden initiative celebrated their end of academic year with an awards ceremony. The students attend our Eden International Dairy Academy for block release training and will graduate with a Foundation Degree in Dairy Technology after three years. While at college, the students gain hands-on practical experience in our industry-standard, food and dairy processing plant. The systems enable the students to see food production from start to finish and also to carry out new product development and functionality, chemical and microbiological testing. Presenting student awards, Jonathan Cooper, Skills Consultant for the National Skills Academy (NSA) for Food and Drink said: “This is a fantastic course because it encourages a high level of innovation and ‘thinking outside the box’. Dairy technologists of the future have to have strengths in product development and product design and they must understand the market in the different sectors of the industry.”


Reaseheath’s expertise bridges skills gap in Pakistan Tailored training by Reaseheath’s agricultural department is helping to bring life changing skills to dairy farmers in Pakistan. Ten key dairy development advisors, who are part of Nestlé Pakistan’s knowledge transfer team, completed an intensive five week course in advanced dairy management with us. The course was designed specifically to help the advisors to assist small scale producers and large commercial farms in Pakistan to improve milk quality and increase milk yield. The delegates, who included eight vets, an economist and an agronomist, studied cattle nutrition, health and breeding and forage and milk production. They also covered farm management, planning and lean processes and visited farms and allied businesses. The course was tailored to be relevant to tropical agriculture while including good practice from the UK dairy industry. Nestlé Pakistan has taken a key role in the country’s dairy development for 20 years and is keen to bring new knowledge

into the sector, both to build a better future for farmers and to improve the rural economy. Bill Stevenson, Nestlé Pakistan’s Head of Milk Collections, said: “We hope that, through this training, our advisors can help farmers to turn their herds into profit making ventures by improving farm management, efficiency and dairy animal welfare. “As well as bringing in a valuable source of income, an increase in quality milk production will also provide a source of employment within communities and a significant boost to the economy. It will also help to uplift the socio economic status of the rural workforce, the majority of whom are women.” International dairy economist Khalid Mahmood, who facilitated the course, explained: “The potential for growth in Pakistan’s dairy industry is immense and there is huge potential for investment into the sector. There are a lot of lessons that can be learned from the UK dairy sector which can be translated into Pakistani conditions.

 The Nestlé Pakistan delegates with Martyn East, Reaseheath’s Director of Business and Marketing Margaret Bardsley, Meredydd David and Khalid Mahmood

“Although the vast majority of our farms are small enterprises, the overall volume of milk produced makes Pakistan the fourth largest producer in the world. We produced over 34 million tonnes of milk in 2010 so a rise of just 10% in yield would make a significant difference.” Reaseheath’s Head of Agriculture Martyn East commented: “We have been delighted at the success of this very exciting and worthwhile

programme with Nestlé Pakistan. “We welcome partnerships with organisations who promote the growth and development of farming business in developing countries, particularly if this leads to improved incomes for farming families and to more sustainable rural communities. “This programme has been very much in line with Reaseheath’s vision, which is to provide education which is accessible to all.”

Prince praises humanitarian effort in Pakistan Reaseheath’s and industry partner Nestle’s role in the regeneration of Pakistan have been commended by HRH The Prince of Wales. Reaseheath’s Director of Business and Marketing Margaret Bardsley and representatives from Nestle head offices in Switzerland, Pakistan and the UK were thanked by Prince Charles for their support of the dairy industry at a gala dinner for the Pakistan Recovery Fund Prince Charles launched the fund to support the on-going recovery of Pakistani communities hit by devastating monsoon floods in 2010 - the worst in the country’s history. He continues to take an active interest in the country’s progress. Nestle Pakistan initially donated £ millions worth of aid for emergency rations and is


continuing to develop and support the dairy industry. Reaseheath is the UK training partner of Nestle Pakistan and helped the company to launch its groundbreaking training initiative. (See story above) Speaking at the gala dinner, which was held in the Natural History Museum, London, Prince Charles expressed his heartfelt thanks to all supporting companies and individuals. He was introduced to all his guests and discussed with Margaret Bardsley the influence of the western hemisphere on the fast growing Pakistani dairy industry and how this is increasing training demands. Said Margaret: “It was a great honour to meet Prince Charles at this highly prestigious event. He is extremely knowledgeable about the issues facing Pakistan,

 HRH The Prince of Wales discusses Pakistan’s dairy industry with Margaret Bardsley

particularly within the agricultural and dairy sector. Both Nestle and Reaseheath College are

committed to continuing to help support farmers and their families in Pakistan.”

issue 22

Reaseheath students shine at HOYS

Our equine students were hailed as champions after playing a key role in bringing the world class sport of showjumping to thousands of spectators at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). Thirty six students and two staff provided the arena party at HOYS, which is the biggest indoor show in Britain and this year attracted 1,500 horses and over 65,000 spectators. The students, under the direction of international course designer Bob Ellis and his team of senior course builders, were responsible for rebuilding fences and changing the courses within a very tight time schedule. Major competitions included the famous Puissance, in which the wall reached 7ft 3in. Led by course managers Sarah Turner and Kerry Nunns, our team were on duty for a

full week, providing a service from breakfast time to midnight. Before the show, the students received two days of intensive training including course building theory, safe lifting and health and safety. Bob Ellis, who is one of the world’s most highly qualified course designers and will build the showjumping courses for the 2012 London Olympics, said: “It is our job to produce exciting, world class, sport by building technical courses which maintain the highest levels of safety. “I have been very impressed with the way Reaseheath’s team have worked with us to produce this elite level of sport. The students have operated at high energy all week despite the late hours, and the staff have been brilliant motivators. “The students can now take away the whole experience

Spooky skeleton brings equine science to life

 Montana is prepared for the demonstration by Foundation Degree in Equine Science, Complementary Therapy and Natural Horsemanship students Gaby Caine, Chris Jones and Shelley Degnan. Design Copyright: Gillian Higgins

Our equine students got down to the bare bones of the horse’s skeleton thanks to a pot of paint and the expertise of an international sports and remedial therapist. Gillian Higgins of ‘Horses Inside Out’ demonstrated how the horse’s anatomy dictates its movement by drawing bones, muscles and tendons in luminous (but washable) paint on chestnut mare Montana and showjumper ‘Bing’. The demonstration, held for both the public and students,

delivered the science of anatomy and biomechanics in an easy to understand, lively and fun way. The purpose of ‘Horses Inside Out’ is to educate riders, trainers and therapists into how they can improve performance and reduce the risk of injury by appreciating the anatomy of the horse. Gillian, who gives demonstrations to top industry bodies explained: “Painting the bones, muscles, tendons and other anatomical systems on the side of a live horse really brings the subject to life.”

Our arena party in front of the famous Puissance wall

of how a show of this size operates. Hopefully they have gained a unique insight into this multi-million pound industry.” Said Sarah Turner: “The students were absolutely fantastic. They were hailed as the best group of college students that have ever worked at HOYS. They really grafted, were always on time and were

happy and polite throughout. They even managed to stick to their curfew most nights!” Robyn Rogerson, a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horse Management student, said: “It was an amazing experience to work alongside the course builders and talk to the showjumpers. It was hard work but I absolutely loved it.”

Animal behaviourist unlocks the secret of successful training

Dr Andrew McLean joins Megan Evans, Kelly Chadwick, Lesley Mitton, Josie Towers, Lucy Emery and Rascal the horse

In another coup for the equine department, international animal behavioural scientist Dr Andrew McLean gave a lecture and demonstration in front of a packed audience of visitors and students. Dr McLean, who was visiting us for the second time, specialises in the theory of equine learning and how this can be applied to training. In particular he can pinpoint the origin of problem behaviour and suggest how to resolve and prevent it. He lectures at an international level

and his methods are adopted by Olympic teams. Dr McLean’s demonstration included groundwork, a ridden session with a young horse starting out on its career and a jumping session. Equine Curriculum Leader Caroline Booth said: “This has been a very exciting and busy time for us. We are gaining a real name for ourselves for putting on events which appeal to both serious and leisure riders. Feedback has been excellent, both about the speakers and the facilities.”


Pioneering partnership plays key part in plant conservation A pioneering partnership between horticultural experts from Reaseheath and from Ness Botanic Gardens, Wirral, is helping to save rare and endangered plants. Historic specimens from Ness, some of which are the only examples remaining in the world, are being propagated in a college glasshouse. The first batch of plants, selected as seed or cuttings by Ness Curator Paul Cook and Reaseheath horticultural supervisor Neil Bebbington, should be ready for replanting at Ness this year and will hopefully go on sale at its garden centre. The plants, collected by past and present day plant hunters, include specimens of Aesculus wangii, a very rare horse chestnut from Vietnam, and examples from Ness’ national collections of birch and mountain ash. Other rare plant species which have been propagated successfully include Viburnum

foetidum, Aconitum and Pieris Formosa var. forrestii - the latter being grown from cuttings from the original plant brought back from China in the early 1900s by plant hunter George Forrest. Tree specimens include Populus wilsonii, Wilson’s poplar which bears 18in long leaves, and Corylus chinensis, a rare Chinese hazel. Describing the partnership as a role model for plant conservation projects, Paul Cook said: “The focus for botanic gardens is to spread the message that we can all take part in preserving endangered plants. By propagating and distributing these plants we give people the chance to grow and increase the population of the species. There is no benefit in holding the last remaining plant of an endangered species.” As well as providing Ness with an opportunity to re-energize its collection, the initiative has

 Neil Bebbington with the rare horse chestnut Aesculus wangii, part of the heritage collection which is being propagated at Reaseheath

provided a valuable teaching resource for both staff and students. Commented Neil Bebbington: “Working with Ness Botanic Gardens has given us a great opportunity to train the next generation of horticulturists as well as provide a cutting edge service

for the garden and its visitors. These heritage lines are traceable right back to source so we are preserving a bit of history which may well have been lost.” Reaseheath operates an outreach centre at Ness Botanic Gardens, where we offer part-time horticultural and floristry courses.

Trainee greenkeeper’s long commute pays dividends A monthly international commute by trainee greenkeeper Hristo Iliev is paying dividends. Hristo, a 24 year old Bulgarian, works at Porto Carras golf resort in Northern Greece but studies with us during the less busy winter months. Aiming to gain a Level 2 Work Based Diploma in Sports Turf Management and then to move up to Level 3, Hristo hopes that the qualifications, which are recognised European-wide, will offer opportunities for career progression and further travel. We offer his bespoke training in six concentrated blocks between the months of October to March. Back in Greece, Hristo completes research and written projects and is supported by senior sports turf lecturer Gareth Phillips via phone and email. Reaseheath’s sports turf department has strong international links and has a history of attracting students from other countries. Hristo is following in the footsteps of another Bulgarian greenkeeper, Georgi


Farfarov, who we trained and who recommended our progressive approach to training. Hristo also heard about Reaseheath through former student, Piers Corcoran, when both were working on golf courses in America as part of the Ohio exchange programme. The programme, which is supported by Reaseheath, offers students the opportunity of gaining valuable experience and skills by working abroad. Hristo previously studied for a degree in horticulture and agronomy with viticulture in Bulgaria and particularly enjoys the scientific aspects of turf care and the practical sessions of his course. He explained: “Learning in an academic environment is very different to learning on the job because you start to appreciate the science behind tasks. You realise that you are not just cutting grass to keep the course tidy, but to achieve a surface which is suitable for both the ground conditions and the level of use. I also find it very helpful being able to share experiences with

 Hristo Iliev and Gareth Phillips measure the compaction of a green with a pentrometer

likeminded students.” Gareth Phillips said: “Hristo is keen to progress and chose to come to Reaseheath to gain qualifications which are recognised throughout Europe. We have worked with him to tailor a programme which suits his current commitments and the training is proving very

successful.” • Reaseheath plans to launch a Level 2 Work Based Diploma in Sports Turf Management training programme in Crete in October, subject to numbers. For further details contact Gareth Phillips on +44 (0)1270 613236; email

issue 22

Dedicated care pays off for dumped puppies Eight puppies which were heartlessly dumped hours after birth have thrived thanks to round-the-clock care by staff and students. The newborn pups were found abandoned in a cardboard box in a cemetery. With just hours to live they were passed to local charity Animal Lifeline, which contacted animal management course manager Emma Caskie because of her specialist skills in hand rearing puppies. An exhausting, two hourly schedule of feeding paid off and the thriving litter is being found responsible new owners by Animal Lifeline. The puppies, a small, terrier type cross breed, became

great favourites at our animal management centre. They were handled by students from foundation to degree level courses and by veterinary nursing students. Explained Emma: “Having the puppies at college provided an ideal opportunity to teach students about responsible ownership, about the skills and dedication you need to foster young animals and about the work done by rescue charities to promote the neutering of animals. “This was an extreme case and there is no doubt that the puppies would have died without prompt action from Animal Lifeline. The fact that the whole litter survived was a really good outcome, although I was very short of sleep

 Will Nixon, Jack Hughes, Tammi Forester and Rachel Sherratt, all Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management students, admire the puppies with lecturer Emma Caskie

and has many puppies and older dogs looking for good homes. Phone 01782 638341.

for the first few weeks! Animal Lifeline works in South Cheshire and North Staffordshire

RAG is a record breaker Environmental


 Harriet Lane hands over the RAG cheque to Jo Fowler, watched by members of the Students Union

Our sporty students and staff went the extra mile to bring in record funds for charity. Swimming, cycling, climbing and walking challenges were among events which raised over £16,500 for the North West Air Ambulance (NWAA), making our RAG (Raising and Giving) efforts the best ever. An impressive cheque was handed over by members of the Students Union at our graduation ball. The students chose to support the NWAA because it carries out rescues in rural areas and in relevant industries such as farming, horse riding and outdoor sports. Fund raising activities included an 870 mile sponsored team cycle ride from John O’Groats to Lands End, a 22 mile swim (equivalent to the English Channel) in the swimming pool at Total Fitness in Crewe, a raft race on the college lake, a sponsored walk up Snowdon and an attempt to climb the 1,344 metre

equivalent of Ben Nevis on the campus climbing wall. Our events management students also organised a successful charity dinner dance and auction in a marquee on the college lawn. NWAA Regional Fundraising Officer Jo Fowler said: “This has been a phenomenal fund raising effort involving a huge range of activities. We have been amazed at how much has been raised in such a short time. “We help over 1,000 seriously injured people every year and rely on donations to raise the £4 million a year we need to keep our two helicopters operational. Reaseheath’s support is important to us and is very much appreciated.” RAG Chair Harriet Lane said: “Everyone made a lot of effort this year and the range of activities was amazing. There was something for everyone and we had a lot of fun as well as raising money.”

Reaseheath was shortlisted for a prestigious “Green Gown Award” given by the EAUC (Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges). The awards recognise exceptional environmental and sustainability initiatives being undertaken by colleges and universities. This was our first attempt at the awards and we were delighted to be selected as finalists in the research and development category. A total of 240 entries were received across the 13 categories, the majority from large institutions. Our application showed how our anaerobic digester plant demonstrates environmentally sound ways of producing sustainable energy from onfarm resources. Tours of the plant, which was opened last year, are regularly offered to farming and local communities. Experts are on hand to ensure our visitors fully understand the processes and see the results and breakdown of our monitoring

programmes. We also offer relevant training and scientifically sourced, independent, research and advice. Richard Hathway, our Eco College Co-ordinator (Curriculum), who made the application, said: “We were delighted to do so well in the awards at our first attempt, particularly as entries in our category were very strong.” Reaseheath is applying to become an eco college within the Keep Britain Tidy Campaign, which reinforces our community links with local primary and secondary schools on shared sustainable initiatives. Richard is already planning to base next year’s application on our student engagement in this project. Our first sustainable campaign this year ‘switch off fortnight’ was very successful. For further information on open days and training on our anaerobic digester contact our Enterprise Delivery Hub 01270 613195; email hub@


RADA We offer a range of workshops and seminars (see below) to farmers and rural businesses as part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Skills Programme for Cheshire, which is supported by Defra. Further details contact Lisa Forbes 01270 613195; email

Farmers get top advice on milking without mastitis More than 70 dairy farmers from the northwest learned about the latest control measures against mastitis at a knowledge transfer event. The free event, held on our campus farm, featured presentations and practical demonstrations from industry experts. Funded by the RDPE Skills Cheshire Programme and sponsored by Elanco and DairyCo, the programme focussed on the latest scientific findings and best practice techniques in the fight against the condition. Mastitis is inflammation of the udder, often caused through bacterial infection, which results in financial loss to the farmer due to vet and medicine bills, reduced milk yield and increased demand on staff. There could also be substantial fines for farmers if milk is found to contain traces of mastitis. Explained James Cheadle,

 Commercial egg producers carry out a practical session with Alastair Johnston of Minster Vets  Farmers listen to mastitis vet Peter Edmondson in Reaseheath’s milking parlour

Ruminant Specialist with Elanco: ”Mastitis is a continual battle and farmers need to know what they can do to keep ahead of the game. This was a great opportunity to have a discussion with acknowledged experts in an open forum.”

Key speakers included Dr Elizabeth Berry, Head of Knowledge Transfer with DairyCo, Sara Pedersen and Neil Howie from the Nantwich Veterinary Practice and specialist mastitis vet Peter Edmondson.

Better nutrition makes dairy businesses more profitable Cheshire farmers and agriculture students attended a nutrition workshop aimed at making dairy businesses more profitable. The event highlighted how to make the most of animal feed in the light of high and volatile prices. Farmers are facing the consequences of increasing cereal costs following a difficult grass and forage growing season. The workshop, run in partnership with animal nutrition company Biotal, considered how to make the most of concentrates, looked at alternative feed sources and discussed how to increase home grown feed production. The speakers were consultant vet and nutritionist Debby Brown from Advanced Nutrition, independent nutrition consultant Tony Blackburn and Johnny Bax, a grass and forage specialist


Training boosts Cheshire’s egg production

Mark Yearsley discusses cattle nutrition

with Biotal / Lallemand. Delegates also toured Reaseheath’s dairy unit and looked at the college’s feeding system with Farm Manager Mark Yearsley. Explaining his plans for the coming season, which include growing lucerne for protein and bi-cropping for

energy, Mark said: “Our focus has to be on growing high energy and protein crops to keep our feed costs under control.” Dairy farmer Richard Homer said: “This has been a really good opportunity to keep up with current thinking which may help me with my business.”

A training programme to help commercial egg producers increase their production and profitability was held in Cheshire for the first time through our HUB. The programme offered a mix of seminars and laboratory sessions and was aimed at giving producers skills which were directly applicable to their free range and enriched colony poultry systems. Topics included the recognition, treatment and prevention of disease, biosecurity, welfare and legislation. Attendees received a certificate as evidence of their training - a future requirement for producing birds under award schemes such as Freedom Foods. Take up for the training was so successful that there are plans to repeat both the full programme and follow-up sessions. Explained HUB Customer Relationship Manager Lisa Forbes: “Our aim was to deliver very realistic training. Commercial egg production is a growing industry in Cheshire and producers are obviously keen to keep up to date with best practice and new approaches which will help them maintain the highest standards of welfare while increasing profitability.” Ben Wharfe, who is setting up a free range egg unit for 12,000 birds said: “This has been a wise investment of my time and money and will reap many benefits over the long term.”

HUB News

issue 22

Food Innovation Centre supports English skills are good growth in small businesses investment Food producers got a flavour of how we can help them expand their businesses during an open day at our cutting edge Food Innovation Centre. Thirty-two producers, from small and medium sized urban and rural food businesses, toured the newly opened centre (see page 3). Food producers can hire the facilities and our technical staff to develop or increase production of dairy, butchery, bakery and confectionery products. Crucially, producers can trial the products and carry out in depth market research before deciding whether to invest in expensive plant and machinery. The food producers were joined by business advisors and by representatives from partner organisations such as Business Link and the University of Chester. They also discussed retailer requirements with Dave Maguire, Team Leader, Food Department

 Reaseheath’s Commercial Manager Derek Allen demonstrates a sauce mixer to Elys Poppy and Russell Stubbs of The Sauce Queen, Michelle Minter of Abbey Foods and Jamie Hodgkinson of So Baby Organics

for Grosvenor Garden Centre, and listened to Sarah Darlington of Darlington & Daughters, which makes over 70 award winning curds, jams, marmalades, chutneys and sauces. Elys Poppy of The Sauce

Queen, a home based Cheshire business, said: “This has been an excellent opportunity to learn what is on offer for the small business start-up. The facilities are brilliant and having qualified staff to advise is invaluable.”

Training inspires women to build better businesses Rural businesswomen improved their leadership and management skills on a programme designed to boost the profitability of their companies. The businesswomen, whose enterprises included an online charity hub, holiday cottages, food production, tree surgery and a rural skills training service, attended monthly training days organised through our HUB. The programme, led by international business coach Alison Zakers, focussed on how to improve performance and increase sales and revenue. Topics covered developing the business vision, performance, sales and marketing, communication, negotiation and recruitment. Explained Alison: “I designed the training to inspire women to improve their management capabilities. I want them to be able to move their businesses forward with confidence by increasing their knowledge and encouraging them to explore all options.

Rural businesswomens benefit from workshop

“One of the trends we discussed is the public’s growing interest in buying local food and services, and how they can benefit from this market.” Sandy Hall, who manages

tree care specialist Tree Medic, said: “The course has been really inspiring and exceeded beyond my expectations. It has made a real impact on how I will approach business in the future.”

Reaseheath’s Workforce Development team has been working with one of Warrington’s major employers, Greencore Prepared Meals, in the delivery of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). Greencore is a UK leader in the preparation and development of chilled ready meals and has 750 employees, almost half of whom are migrants. Over 80 employees have been learning English on a tailormade programme in the workplace, set up by Reaseheath’s Lead Employability Tutor Denise Edwards to accommodate a four shift rota. The learners achieved a pass rate of almost 83% at various levels within the City and Guilds ESOL Skills for Life and Personal Progress qualifications. Raising language skills within the workforce, particularly in such a hands-on industry, has proved to be one of Greencore’s best investments and has also benefited the staff in their personal lives. Course tutor Nicola Oldfield explained: “Our ESOL students came to us from a range of different countries and educational backgrounds. Some have reached a high degree of fluency in English and have achieved very creditable awards. Others came to us with very few literacy skills, even in their first language. It is of great credit to them that they are now able to fulfil vital literacy functions, such as form-filling in English, and also communicate in English in everyday situations in the factory and in the outside world.” Greencore Training Manager Mary Haselden said: “Several learners have now passed the company screening and have moved from agency to permanent staff while others are succeeding in essential Health and Safety qualifications. For the majority, communication in the workplace has improved considerably with workers making eye contact, smiling and greeting other employees.”


Community Team effort to improve nature teaching Pupils at a Nantwich primary school can make better use of their outdoor classrooms thanks to help from Reaseheath students. Staff and students from our food technology department tidied flower beds, a bog garden and a woodland area used by Willaston Primary School to teach children about gardening and nature. The 13 students, who are studying for their Level 3 Diploma Food Manufacture and Product Design, also put up additional bird feeders and nesting boxes to encourage pupils to learn more about their local wildlife. Willaston Primary School is working towards its second Green Flag award, a national scheme which rewards schools which encourage pupils to care for their natural environment. Pupils can join lunchtime eco and gardening clubs and the outdoor classrooms are used regularly for lessons. Deputy Head Clare Grehan said: “We believe it is very important that all children are encouraged to understand and respect their

 Students join Clare Grehan in one of Willaston School’s outdoor classrooms

environment and the wildlife which lives in it and we try to make the best use of our outdoor space for lessons and projects. “Reaseheath’s help has been fantastic. It was wonderful that the students became involved with our projects. Everyone worked really hard and we can now make better use of our grounds.” Food Curriculum Leader Nick Blakemore, who led the team along with Course Manager James Blakemore said: “As well as helping the school, this was a great opportunity for our students to have a break from their own lectures and practical work and they thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Crunch time at Festival Hundreds of visitors poured into Reaseheath for a celebration of the British apple. Our Apple Festival, held for the 19th consecutive year, was the most successful yet and attracted visitors from across Cheshire and surrounding counties. One of the most popular features was an apple press which allowed families to convert their orchard harvest into home made juice. Over 60 rare varieties of apples, pears and other fruit were on show, some dating back over several hundred years. Visitors were encouraged to taste and compare many of the different varieties and also toured our fruit garden. Unusual varieties identified from fruit brought in by local gardeners included the 17th century Monks Seedling and Ladies Fingers, which dated back to the 1840s. Horticulture experts Derek Jones and Harry Delaney were kept busy identifying apples and advising on pruning, pollination, pest control and suitable trees for planting.

 Nigel Walters juices apples

Said Harry: “What was so exciting was that many visitors went away with a new concept of apples, not only in their range of colours but in their differing flavours, textures, density, sweetness and acidity.”

Fun show for dogs

Students help to make Remembrance Day special

A fun dog show organised and run by animal care students raised over £900 for the Wirral branch of the RSPCA. The event was held at Church Farm, Wirral, one of our outreach education centres, and was organised by students studying there for their Level 2 Diploma in Animal Care. The show offered eight novelty dog classes which attracted hundreds of entrants. Supporters included the RSPCA, City Pup Grooming Parlour and The Friends of Birkenhead Council Kennels. Course Manager Katy Noble said: “The students made a fantastic effort to make sure the show was a success. They organised everything themselves, from choosing the classes to designing posters and certificates and ordering rosettes. I was

Our horticulture students helped to make Remembrance Day extra special for Crewe residents by replanting the flower troughs which surround the Cenotaph in Queen’s Park. A team of 12 students selected a mixture of permanent shrubs and winter bedding to brighten up the memorial in time for the laying of ceremonial wreaths. They also cleared and prepared the troughs before planting. The students, who are studying for their Level 2 Diploma in Horticulture, were invited to carry out the project by Queens Park Manager Elaine Dodd. Said Course Manager Anthony Saxon: “We were delighted to be involved, particularly as we were working on such a special monument. This sort of opportunity encourages our students to


Fun at Church Farm dog show

extremely proud of them, and everyone who came had a good day out.” Our education centre at Church Farm offers Wirral school leavers the opportunity to study for a national vocational qualification in animal care and to either progress to higher level programmes at Reaseheath or to find jobs in kennels, catteries or pet shops.

Makeover for the Cenotaph

become involved with their local community as well as giving them practical horticultural experience.” Our horticulture department was also involved in the official reopening of Queen’s Park earlier in the year. A future project could see students working with Crewe and Nantwich Lions Club to create a sensory garden within the park.

issue 22

Reaseheath is Chamber patron Reaseheath has strengthened its links with our local business community by becoming a patron of South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Welcoming our patronage, the Chamber’s Chief Executive John Dunning said: “We are looking forward to working more closely with Reaseheath and enabling the college to have even further input into the strategic economic development of our local area, particularly within the rural economy. “The Chamber will offer Reaseheath enhanced opportunities to work alongside patrons with similar objectives and to play an even greater part in the business community.” Principal Meredydd David commented: “The college mission - to support business and enterprise development in the community - closely mirrors the work of the Chamber.

REASEHEATH AT A GLANCE • Beacon College (LSIS) • Dairy Champion National Skills Academy for Food and Drink • Engineering Academy 14 years - 19 years • Training Quality Standard

“These days there is increased need for colleges and universities to engage with businesses. This patronage will help us to make more businesses aware of our services and how we can help them be competitive in these difficult financial times. The strengthened partnership will also

 Meredydd David celebrates the college’s Chamber patronage with Chief Executive John Dunning

offer us further opportunities to engage with businesses based in rural areas and to contribute to a worthwhile strategy for the future.”

Subject areas: 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:

Reaseheath manager honoured for long service in Further Education Our long serving manager Geoff Oakes was honoured with an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours. Geoff, who retired last year after working for us for 35 years, received the tribute for services to Further Education. During his long career at Reasheath he was recognised as one of the leading clerks in the UK. Appointed as Reaseheath’s Chief Administration Officer in 1975, Geoff was at that time in charge of all non teaching aspects such as marketing, publicity, finance and non teaching personnel. He was later promoted to Director of Administration over all finance, personnel and estates - a job which has now been taken over by three directors as the college has grown. Geoff became college secretary on a part-time basis in 1997 and also took on the role of clerk to Reaseheath’s board of governors. Geoff began his career as a trainee in Cheshire County Council’s education department 47 years ago. He was quickly promoted and became responsible for the administration of four Further Education colleges in Cheshire. At the age of 21 he became the youngest registrar in the country when he was put in charge of all

non teaching aspects of North Cheshire College in Altrincham (now Trafford College). During his career he has been President of the Association of College Registrars and Administrators and has also served on national working groups for the Association of Colleges. A married man with children and grandchildren, Geoff has carried out much voluntary work within his local community. He served for 10 years as clerk to Audlem Parish Council and has also been clerk to Hankelow and Buerton Parish Councils. He continues to assist advisory committees on the appointment of magistrates throughout Cheshire. Geoff is also very involved in church activities and in playing golf and is a former President of Reaseheath Golf Club. He is also involved with United Christian Broadcasters, a Christian television and broadcast company. Looking forward to his investiture, which is likely to be within the next six months, Geoff said: “This has come as a complete surprise but, of course, I am thrilled. “I had an absolutely delightful career at Reaseheath under three different principals, all of whom

Total students: Full time Further Education: 1,800 Higher Education: 600 Part-time inc. adult leisure: 4,500 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 Turnover Academic year 2010/11: £24 million

Geoff Oakes

have helped to push the college forward. It has been a real privilege to work at such a rapidly expanding and well known college.” Principal Meredydd David said: “This is a hugely deserved accolade and honour. Geoff has provided exceptional service to Reaseheath for many years in addition to his selfless contribution to voluntary work within his community. He is respected hugely by those who know him, both professionally and socially.”

Facilities 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


Giant giraffes are welcome zoo addition

A pair of giant giraffes are among ‘larger than life’ chainsaw sculptures welcoming visitors to our zoo. The 22 foot high works of art were created by internationally acclaimed chainsaw sculptor Andy Hancock. Andy also carved an eyecatching sculpture of two horses’ heads which was unveiled by Her

Majesty the Queen and is now wowing passers-by at the entrance to our Equestrian Centre. An Australian who lives in Texas, globe trotting Andy has created award winning works of art in Russia, Australia, New Zealand and America. He has created over 20 sculptures from dead trees on campus, influenced by the natural forms of the trunks and branches.

Come and see us! January 2012 14

Courses Information Event (FE and HE) 10am start 18 - 19

LAMMA Newark

February 2012 13

Croft End Information Event, Oldham 25 - 26

Reaseheath Live Lambing and Zoo

March 2012 3-4

Chainsaw sculptor Andy Hancock and the giraffes

Reaseheath Live Lambing and Zoo 3

Zoo opening makes for twice the fun

Church Farm Courses Information Event, Wirral 17

Courses Information Event (FE only) 10am start

April 2012 2

Croft End Information Event, Oldham 18

Church Farm Courses Information Event, Wirral 21

Courses Information Event (FE and HE) Date TBC

Wedding Fayre

May 2012

Families enjoyed twice the fun when they visited our summer attractions. As well as re-opening our popular maize maze, we welcomed the public into our campus zoo for the first time. Visitors were able to meet resident animals including meerkats, ring tailed lemurs and birds of prey and chat to keepers. Both attractions were themed ‘Fun in the Forest’ to coincide with the UN’s ‘International Year of the Forests’. The zoo opens agains at Easter.


Church Farm Courses Information Event, Wirral 13

Reaseheath Family Festival 26

Warrington Horse Show 28

Croft End Information Event, Oldham

June 2012 1–4

Bolesworth Castle Showjumping Event 6–7

Stafford Show 12

Courses Information Event (FE and HE) 15 – 17

Cholmondeley Pageant of Power 16

Church Farm Courses Information Event, Wirral 19 – 20

Cheshire Show, Tabley 23 - 24

Arley Garden Festival 28

Reaseheath Awards Ceremony

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 22 online  

Reaseheath College - Grassroots Newsletter - Issue 22