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News > Landscape Gardening Finalists paving their way to success at WorldSkills National Finals.


Landscape Gardening Finalists paving their way to success at WorldSkills National Finals.

November 10, 2023

College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) Horticulture students have proved they are among the best in the United Kingdom!

Level 3 Horticulture graduates Aimee Copeland (Randalstown), Anna McLoughlin (Ballymena) and student Jacob Mercer (Glengormley) have been awarded places at the WorldSkills National Finals to compete in Landscape Gardening. The three successful students secured their places following the local heats, hosted at Greenmount Campus, Antrim.

The WorldSkills UK National Final, taking place from 14th-17th November 2023 will be held at Oldham College, Manchester. The final will consist of eight competitors, each endeavoring to gain a place on the Landscape Gardening podium. The competitors will follow a detailed plan to build a garden under enormous pressure with rigid time scales, built within strict construction tolerances.

“We are very proud of Aimee, Anna and Jacob who have shown both a passion and determination to succeed. At CAFRE, we pride ourselves in providing opportunities for all our Horticulture students. To have three competitors representing CAFRE is a fantastic accomplishment, not just for the students but also the Horticulture teaching staff at the college”, commented Lori Hartman, Senior Lecturer, CAFRE.

The students were introduced to the WorldSkills Competition whilst studying on the Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Horticulture at CAFRE. Through the course students acquire a strong foundation of horticultural expertise, developing both their practical and theoretical understanding. Having developed proficiency in landscape gardening provided the students with a brilliant basis to showcase their skills at competition level.

On speaking about their achievement to date Jacob Mercer said “In preparation for the heats, we have received great support and training from Horticulture staff at CAFRE. We are delighted that staff will be available to give us further guidance as we prepare for the Final in November. We are also looking forward to receiving further training from industry experts, which will be invaluable to our future careers”.

David Dowd, Acting Head of Horticulture at CAFRE commented “Congratulations and best of luck to our CAFRE representatives competing in the National Finals. Competing enables our students to demonstrate their exceptional talent and diverse skill set through competition-based training programmes, which have been created by industry experts. Not only will our students develop their technical and employability skills, but they will also build resilience, self-confidence and communications skills through competing on a National level”.

If you are interested in following a career in Horticulture, CAFRE offers courses from Level 2 through to Honours Degree at Greenmount Campus. Apply now for our Level 2 and Level 3 courses via or the full-time Foundation Degree and Honours Degree top-up course through