A Wiltshire College Hard Landscaping apprentice is celebrating after winning gold at the most prestigious vocational education and skills excellence event in the world.
Adam McGarry said he is absolutely thrilled to have won WorldSkills final after completing a gruelling 16 hours challenge to create a garden from scratch.
The 21- year-old was the only Landscape Gardening finalist from the South West at the competition which took place at the NEC in Birmingham from Thursday 16th to Saturday 18th November.
He said: “I was surprised and excited to make the final, but to win is absolutely amazing!
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, it feels very surreal, but at the same time I am so happy to think I am currently number 1 in the country.
“I was pleased with my completed garden, but didn’t think for one minute I would win.
“Landscaping was the second to last category at the medal ceremony so it was a long wait to find out, and when they called my name to go up on stage, I just couldn’t believe it.”
Adam, was one of more than 500 young tradesmen and women to compete in 55 disciplines in everything from aircraft maintenance to 3D games design, beauty therapy and cyber security.
The interactive show is also open to the public to attend and over the three days, attracted a record 80,000 spectators.
All the winners were invited to an awards ceremony at the Hilton where they were presented with their medals and many will now have the opportunity to be considered for Team UK selection and take part in the international finals in Budapest and Kazan in Russia.
Adam joined the College in 2012 and after completing the intermediate apprenticeship progressed onto the Advanced Apprenticeship working with Turner Landscapes in Calne.
Earlier this year he won Horticultural Apprentice of the Year at Wiltshire College’ s annual Apprenticeship Awards for his hard work and effort.
Since progressing through the WorldSkills competition, Adam who completed his apprenticeship over the summer, has been back to the Lackham campus, where he studied on several times to further his landscaping skills, working alongside head gardener Anthony Cockell.
Anthony, who accompanied Adam at the finals, said: “I am so thrilled for him.
“It was a very intense competition and he was very nervous.
“Even when he wasn’t working actually building the garden, he was working hard in the evenings going over everything.
“One of the things that impressed me about Adam at the competition was that he stuck to his plans.
“When everyone else began to start constructing their decking on the second day, Adam started by constructing the most difficult aspect of his garden cutting out slabs to arrange around a drain cover.
“He thought this would be good to start in the morning, fresh after breakfast when he had lots of energy.
“He could have been put off by everyone else doing the same thing and changed but he didn’t and I really think that helped him.
“It was a very tough final and some didn’t complete their gardens.
“Adam did and it was fantastic.”
Jennifer Mellows, is Head of Land-Based at Lackham.
She said: “We are absolutely thrilled by Adam's success at WorldSkills.
“Adam demonstrated his determination and passion to succeed early on in the competition and his hard work and effort has really paid off.
“The horticulture department at our Lackham campus is thriving as we continue to deliver study programmes that equip our learners with the skills and abilities that the industry wants.
“We are very proud of Adam's success and grateful as well to Adam's employer for his continued support for both Adam and Lackham.”