The BALI Chalk Fund Student of the Year competition is a wonderful way of celebrating the up and coming talent that are training to join our industry. This year, Pershore student, Josh Reid fought off stiff competition to claim overall student of the year.
The BALI Chalk Fund runs the competition every year, BALI Member Colleges are invited to nominate the student that in their opinion, has performed above all others in their year, and that they believe will make a positive impact on the industry in the years to come.
I caught up with Josh and his tutor Clive Evans, to find out how they came across the landscape industry, what they value about education and why they love what they do.
So, how did you get into landscaping?
Josh: ‘Originally, I stumbled across the industry, it began more as of a hobby/therapeutic activity for me, until I began my horticulture studies at Pershore College. I found the industry to be vaster than I previously imagined. From there I began thinking about a career path into the landscape sector, as this is the area I love’.
Clive: ‘I used to dig my grandfather’s veg patch and helped him grow cut flowers. I went to the careers office and told them I wanted to look after roses, and they gave me a prospectus for the Welsh College of Horticulture.
What do you love about this industry?
Josh: ‘The thing that I enjoy the most, is changing a disused/un-loved area and developing something brand new and exciting in its place. I get such a satisfying feeling when I create something out of nothing’.
Clive: ‘I love the finishing touches, the last plant to be planted or last sod of turf to be laid. I like to see students complete show gardens and see the pride on their faces at what they have achieved. I also like to watch students compete in landscaping competitions, knowing that I have supported them achieving it’.
Why do you think people should consider this as a career?
Josh: ‘Don’t judge it before you try it. The landscape industry can be much more than labouring, you can build a very successful and impressive career opportunities. But like all things, you need to put in the time and commitment. Landscaping has so many different elements to it, there’s design, the environmental impact, and the ecology aspect. If you are concerned about the global warming, you can help to build and design a more sustainable world, through the landscape sector. You just have to be determined and committed’.
Clive: ‘It’s so vast, full of wonderful characters and has some great opportunities. The new Agir- tech department at Pershore is full of fresh ideas and staff. There are always new skills and knowledge to learn and develop’.
What has been the highlight of your level 3 horticulture course Josh?
Josh: ‘Getting this far with it, and getting the results I did (Distinction, Merit, Merit) is a huge accomplishment. All my hard work to date has clearly shown, or I wouldn’t be in the running for this award. I’ve been involved in other competitions, like ‘Young Gardener of the year award 2018’ (winning gold) and the WorldSkills competition in 2018 & 2019. My enthusiasm for horticulture and landscaping has given me the motivation to succeed academically, despite having several learning disabilities, I have never let my disabilities become an obstacle or let them write my future. I always persevere through every challenge. I consider myself a “trailblazer” for people with disabilities, showing them they can move past barriers that might prevent us from reaching our goals and aspirations’.
Clive, what advantages does it have to receive an education in horticulture and landscaping?
Clive: ‘Training can give people so much confidence and above all, gives employees commercial speed. Practical landscape skills are so useful as they give a platform for someone to work on their own garden or develop a career in landscaping’.
What’s your advice to tomorrows landscapers Clive?
Clive: ‘Get as much training as possible. Try and get different types of work experience and work with the best people. Be passionate, intense, and willing to learn. Be willing to bounce back and have a ‘can do’ attitude when things aren’t going well and promote the industry to others’.
What are your plans for the next 5 years Josh?
Josh: ‘I hope that by then I will have graduated from Uni at (BCU) studying my bachelor’s in landscape architecture. Then I plan to go traveling for a year, see new and breath-taking landscapes and experience different cultures, to get that clear perspective when I design/build communal areas. I hope to start building my career as a landscape architect and progressing in my line of work. But it doesn’t stop there, I then plan to go back to Uni and complete my master’s in landscape architecture’.
What are the plans for spending the prize money?
Josh: ‘I’m going to spend it on new equipment for Uni and the rest to save for my traveling goals’.
Clive: ‘The College will spend it on materials and equipment for the students to use’.