CAFRE’s landscape gardeners celebrate Silver Medal success in Brazil

Jonathan's winning South American garden design which helped his team secure a Silver Medal at the WorldSkills event in Brazil.
Jonathan's winning South American garden design which helped his team secure a Silver Medal at the WorldSkills event in Brazil.

A CAFRE-dominated landscape gardening team have come up smelling of roses after winning a Silver Medal at the WorldSkills Final in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Agriculture minister Michelle O’Neill congratulated former horticulture student, Jonathan Gill (21) and CAFRE tutor Colin McKnight, for their success on the world stage.

Jonathan Gill and his parents celebrate his Silver Medal win at the WorldSkills event in Brazil.

Jonathan Gill and his parents celebrate his Silver Medal win at the WorldSkills event in Brazil.

“The WorldSkills competition is designed to showcase and inspire world class excellence and I am delighted to see our young people succeed at a global level.

“Winning the Silver Medal is a terrific achievement and we are all very proud of both Jonathan and Colin’s performance and the many hours of hard work it represents,” said Minister O’Neill.

This global skills competition is held every two years and this year attracted over 1,000 competitors from 72 countries and regions, showcasing 45 vocational skills.

Jonathan, who lives in Ballynahinch and runs his own landscape gardening business, said: “Studying for my Extended Diploma in Horticulture at CAFRE really got me interested in landscape gardening.

“It has been a fantastic experience but we have worked very hard to get this fantastic result. Our South American-style garden had to include decking, paving, dry stone walling, woodwork and water features and planting. It was a complex design with mosaic paving and tropical plants including palms, bromelia and heliconia. We then had four days to construct our garden and impress the panel of international judges,” Jonathan explained.

His success followed a rigorous selection process and an intensive training programme led by CAFRE tutor Colin McKnight, Training Manager for the UK Landscape Gardening Team, who accompanied the team to Sao Paulo.

If you are keen to develop the skills necessary for a career in landscape gardening or another sector of the horticulture and floristry industry, visit CAFRE’s website: http://www.cafre.ac.uk or come along to the Careers Advice Event at the Greenmount Campus on Thursday 20 August, 7-9pm.