TV gardener David Domoney officially opened the £5.8m redevelopment of Pershore College at a celebratory event with students, staff, local businesses and stakeholders.
David, who presents ITV’s Love Your Garden, and is a former student of the college, cut the ribbon to officially open the new contemporary glass building which includes a spectacular Collections House, teaching rooms, laboratory, higher education suite and business conference zone as well as a new library area and reception featuring a ‘living wall’.
Guests were treated to tours of the college, as well as a chance to try the Pershore College range of juices and ciders and the microveg, microleaves and edible flowers the college supplies to the Michelin-starred Fera at Claridge’s.
Features of the new building are:
- State-of-the-art Collections House where exotic plants can thrive, featuring permanent and seasonal collections. The Collections House is environmentally controlled through a sophisticated electronic management system to control ventilation, humidity, heating and lighting. In addition to protecting and enabling the plants to flourish in a semi-Mediterranean climate, the systems are readily accessible to students as a living demonstration of modern greenhouse technology
- STEM centre (science, technology, engineering and maths) and agri-tech lab where students will be able to learn about the newest innovations in the field, such as sustainable horticulture, aquaponics (an enclosed sustainable system where fish and plants grow together without the need for additional chemicals) and the use of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) in supporting horticulture processes in growing techniques
- New higher education suite for students on degree programmes, including animal science, veterinary nursing, horticulture and arboriculture
- New library
- Conferencing facilities and event space
Warwickshire College Group Principal and CEO, Angela Joyce, said, “We were absolutely delighted to welcome so many of our staff, students, partners and stakeholders here today to the official opening of our stunning new building. A special thank you must go to David Domoney for his wonderful speech – his perspective as a former student was fascinating and I’m sure he has inspired our current students.
“Over the last year Pershore College has seen probably the biggest change in its long history with the construction of this spectacular building and a refocusing of our curriculum. We have embarked on a fresh, dynamic journey to meet the demands of our new world and support key national priorities through the delivery of skills, education and training.
“This building is a visible landmark of this ambition. This investment will give all of our students – whether they are studying animal welfare, veterinary nursing, arboriculture or horticulture – an innovative, technologically-enhanced environment to inspire and give them the skills needed for industry today.”
Speaking at the event, David Domoney said, “The horticultural industry is phenomenal. It offers a diversity that transcends other industries by the variety of our specialisation. As educated horticulturalists we can become scientists, growers, educators, retailers, artists, designers, architects, landscapers, photographers, broadcasters, writers, pioneers and entrepreneurs. The opportunity to control your destiny from an education here at Pershore College is phenomenal.
“A career in horticulture is dynamic and varied, exciting and profitable. This building is more than just a highly functional education centre – its dramatic, iconic and spectacular design is a beacon that shines to change the perception of a career in horticulture. And that is why I’m very honoured to be here and be a part of this day.”
Pershore College offers a range of courses in horticulture, arboriculture, animal welfare, veterinary nursing and more, including apprenticeships, full and part-time courses and degrees. For more information, go to www.warwickshire.ac.uk/courses or call 0300 456 0049.