A Wiltshire College apprentice is thrilled to have reached the national final of the prestigious WorldSkills competition.
Adam McGarry, who completed his Advanced Apprenticeship in Hard Landscaping over the summer, is competing against seven others at The UK Skills Show to create a garden from scratch.
The 21-year-old said he is very excited to have made the final at the show, which started today at the NEC in Birmingham and continues until Saturday 18th November.
“I was really surprised to make the final eight but am also very excited,” he said.
“It’s given me a new outlook on my future career path and to be associated with such a well renowned competition has given me newfound confidence and is an amazing way to be recognised.”
Adam joined the college in 2012 and after completing the Intermediate Apprenticeship progressed on to the Advanced Apprenticeship whilst working with Turner Landscapes in Calne.
During that time he has learned a vast array of horticulture skills and won an award for his work at the college’s annual Apprenticeship Awards in March this year.
Adam, from Calne, said: “I like landscaping as I enjoy seeing the reaction on people’s faces when I’ve transformed their garden.
“I take a great deal of pride in my work for other people.
“My favourite part of landscaping is the hard landscaping, particularly block paving and constructing driveways and patios and this is an area I feel I excel in.”
Since progressing through the WorldSkills competition, which is the biggest vocational education and skills excellence event in the world, Adam has returned to the Lackham campus to further his skills in hard landscaping.
He said: “The whole competition has been a really enjoyable experience.
“It’s a completely different environment to work in with strict time frames, exam conditions and a lot of pressure but I’ve had to stay focused as we are judged on our internal drive as a person as well as how we perform throughout the challenge and the final product.
“The most challenging part for me so far was the semi-final where I head to build a wall and I hadn’t had that much experience in this area.
“To prepare for the final, I’ve been back at Lackham working with head gardener Anthony Cockell to support me with the plant identification element.
“I recently spent eight hours over two days going over and over plant names and got 100 per cent 11 times in a row!”
Anthony, who has accompanied Adam to the competition, said he was proud of how committed he has been.
He said: “He’s been very focused and is now working with the mind-set of what happens after the competition and the impact this will have.
“After meeting fellow competitors, business owners and the organisers, Adam’s ambition has grown and it’s great to see how inspired he is and how understanding he is of how this will affect him long term.
“Association with this competition adds six years to your prospects in six months – it’s a big deal!”
The top two competitors from this stage will represent the UK at the world finals next year in Abu Dhabi competing against the winners from other competing countries.