Hi all this is my first post on the blog, so I thought I would start with an introduction to who I am and what I do. Firstly my name is Luke Denby, 18 years old and from Skipton, North Yorkshire.

It all started last year around April. I and a fellow student at Craven College were to compete in a landscape garden competition against a rival college. The plans came through and we had begun to practise, after winning this competition we were then put through to the national heat against three other colleges at the IOG show at SALTEX in London.

For 22hours each college fought for the 1st place position and after the tiring 4days we finished with Bronze, all was not finished with just yet! The training manager for Landscaping at WorldSkills asked us to come along to a few training sessions.

What is WorldSkills you may be wondering? ‘Every two years, over 900 of the best young professionals from trades, service and vocational programs around the world gather to showcase their talents and abilities. This thrilling, high-performance, four day WorldSkills Competition is the biggest event of its kind in the world.

WorldSkills was established in 1953. Today it is made up of 49 Member Countries/Regions worldwide. Participants compete for gold, silver and bronze medals – striving to set world-class standards in over 40 skill categories ranging from cabinetmaking to web design’

After a trip to Brathay, Ambleside and a trip to Askham Bryan College, York, the eight selected members including me went down to London to compete in a selection process at the EXCEL event.

After been put through our paces and another tiring 4days we were then seated in front of a panel, including members from UKSKILLS. Five of the eight were chosen for the UK SQUAD and sent to Slough, where we meet up with other selected squad members from other skills.

Where the fun starts!

After been selected for the team and an introduction to what may happen over the next year. I then left London for the long drag back up to Yorkshire!

A few weeks later I received info from my training manager about the dates of our training sessions to progress us further and with an understanding to what will be needed to make us world class competitors. I knew I would then need some tools for practising with, and this is where Bulldog came into play; I had used their tools before and been on a tour of the forge with college so I sent an email asking for sponsorship. With the company being connected to Rollins Group I would also be able to ask for the other specialist equipment such as AMI levels, Marshalltown Trowels, Estwing hammers etc. Bulldog were very excited and sponsorship was granted. I knew with tools supplied by Bulldog, I would be able to strive above my competitors, due to the quality and passion which flows through the Business.

January 2009, Training Starts

Well it finally came! The first date for training although my tools had not arrived, what a week it was. The start was slow as it had been a while since November but Tuesday morning showed all five of us were back in business.

The first part of the week concentrated on two jobs so i was split into a team with Grant (squad member), we were to construct a timber Pergola with cedar roofing boards. Work went well and the day quickly went.

Wednesday included us swapping with the other group, we set on with a mitred brick pattern in a 1.5X1.5m square to test our cutting skills. We had finished by dinner so in the afternoon it was onto, setting out of a complex curved path.

Thursday + Friday Competition time! Placed into groups of 2 we set on with the garden, I was to build the wall, pond and lay the turf. The wall had a ‘lunky’ type stone for water to pass through the wall and create a feature to the garden. The pond was created from large slabs of limestone rock and filled with pebbles and other small rocks, as an eye catching point I decided on my break to go find small moss to put around the wall to give it some age.

Turf was cut into and around the exposed rock and also had a gentle curve connecting the wall to the pond and patio which Simon my team spent doing.

February, Training Continues

Another week spent at Askham Bryan College, York. Base-camp for landscaping. The weather is becoming warmer and so is the nearing of Team selection in June and the news of a trip to Norway in April for a competition against the Swedish and Norwegian teams!

My tools had also arrived, so this month so ‘jobs a good’en’ already, this week we had a specialist dry-stone walling coming to teach us. Although I have experience in walling it was good to see the master teach me useful tips and see what I could improve on. As the week progressed we had learnt how to wall limestone and sandstone to completely different stones the sun was beaming, so out with the Marshalltown cap, thanks guys its working a treat! The tools are also becoming very handy now surprising how often I’ve used them this week even when walling.

Friday came round quickly and a small competition was held, we were to construct a wall to the best of our abilities taken into account, height, batter, courses of stone, and strength.

For each competition there is a winning and the name of the winner is put onto a shield and this week it was my name! So all went well, really good month training for March starts on the 23rd and includes 2 weeks as more training is needed for Norway in April.

All for now folks

Posted in Things we like By Stuart Elsom On 10th August 2009

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