Floristry students reach prestigious national skills final

Two Moreton Morrell College floristry students will be competing in the prestigious WorldSkills UK national finals next week at the The Skills Show at the NEC Birmingham.

Dean Sharpe and Zoe Simmons will compete over three days in front of over 75,000 people at The Skills Show, which takes place from 17 – 19 November 2016. Those competing at this year’s Skills Show have won their places following a fiercely competitive round of over 400 heats that have taken place across the country. The finalists will compete for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in a range of industries from Engineering through to Creative and Professional Services which includes floristry.

Dean and Zoe won their places in the National  Finals of the WorldSkills UK Competitions after scoring highly in the National Qualifiers of the Floristry competition, run in partnership with the BFA. They have been training for the competition with support from students and staff at Moreton Morrell.

Zoe, from Wellesbourne, said, “I originally got interested in floristry after choosing the flowers for my wedding. I signed up for a taster day and loved it immediately so I did an evening course and then progressed onto Level 3. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do competition work, but Jane our tutor persuaded me and it has worked out really well!

“I’ve had a training session with Claire Hammond, who won the gold medal last year, which is great as she has passed on some valuable advice. I know I’m going to be nervous, but as soon as I get there and get settled in, I’m sure I’ll get into the swing of it.

“I have two daughters, Summer and Sydney, and everyone in the school playground knows I’m in the final, which is lovely as they’re all behind me and wishing me luck.”

Dean, from Stafford, works full-time at Fleurtations Florist in Lichfield. He said, “I have taken part in a few competitions, such as the UK Florist of the Year, so I’ve got quite a lot of experience already. I thrive on the pressure and get a buzz from it, so I’m looking forward to competing – I’m aiming for the stars!

“I learn from each competition, and know the pressures so I’m really prepared. It’s important to be able to think quickly, stick to your instincts and just let your imagination go.

“I’m the only guy competing, which in some ways is good as I definitely stand out, but I hope that by taking part in the final at The Skills Show, I’ll maybe inspire others to think about floristry as a career too.”

Jane Benefield, floristry lecturer at Moreton Morrell College said, “I’m immensely proud of Dean and Zoe – for the second year running we have two students in the final which is fantastic!

“The whole college is behind them and we wish them the very best of luck in the competition.”

Dr Neil Bentley, Chief Executive, WorldSkillls UK said: “I wish Dean and Zoe the best of luck as they prepare to compete at The Skills Show.

“Our research shows that WorldSkills UK Competitions teach young people the employability skills that businesses are crying out for. By devising and managing skills competitions that are based on international standards, we can ensure more young people are being equipped with the right skills to help UK businesses better compete globally.”

Moreton Morrell College offers floristry courses at a range of levels. For more information call 0300 456 0049 or go to www.warwickshire.ac.uk/courses.

About Association of Colleges West Midlands

AoC West Midlands promotes and supports the interests of 38 general further education, sixth form and specialist colleges throughout the West Midlands region. The West Midlands is a diverse region and our colleges reflect this diversity. From small specialist colleges in rural locations to large inner city establishments, colleges reflect the needs of their local environment. Working closely with employers, learners and the local community, our 38 member colleges offer a broad range of flexible learning opportunities for individuals at all levels. They aim to give local people the skills they need for success and prosperity, tackling barriers to learning and providing opportunities that meet the needs of individuals and employers
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