England and Northern Ireland’s first ever Land-based & Environment Learner Awards were held at Reaseheath College in Cheshire this week.
The Land-based & Environment Learner (LBEL) Awards were launched by leading land-based training & qualification awarding body Lantra, and the representative body for land-based colleges and universities, Landex, with the aim of celebrating and rewarding the industries’ top candidates.
The Awards were open to apprentices and further education and higher education learners, working and studying in land-based and environment sectors between September 2021 and September 2022.
The event was attended by the Rt Hon Mark Spencer MP, Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), an acknowledgement of the importance of the land-based employment sector to the UK and Northern Ireland.
Host for the evening was Adam Henson, Country File TV presenter and one of the best-known faces in farming and the environment.
There were two Floristry awards categories, Apprentice of the Year and Further Education/Higher Education Learner of the Year, both sponsored by the Interflora Floristry Trade Club.
Having been initially nominated by their course tutor or learning mentor, finalists for the LBEL Awards 2023 were selected by an independent judging panel. Each finalist submitted a short video in support of their nomination.
The Floristry finalists were:
Abigail Dewhurst - Abby has completed the Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Floristry at Reaseheath College. She has progressed to the Level 4 Higher Diploma in Floristry and has also set up her own floral events business, Floral Smiles, based in Blackpool.
Emily Robbins – Emily is studying the Level 2 in Floristry at Suffolk Rural. She took over a florist shop six months into her training and now runs Robbins Flowers in Debenham, Suffolk.
Shelley Keefe - Shelley is completing the Level 2 Floristry Apprenticeship with Windsor Forest Colleges Group and works at Elder Floral Design in Maidenhead.
With so much amazing talent in Floristry, these inaugural Learner awards were able to shine a light on and recognise the hard work and achievements of all the students nominated.
Shelley Keefe – Floristry Apprentice of the Year, Abigail Dewhurst – Runner-up, Floristry Learner of the Year, Emily Robbins – Floristry Learner of the Year
Huge congratulations to Shelley, Emily and Abby for reaching the finals this year. Their individual stories of how they found floristry as a career were inspirational to hear.
Thank-you to Shavington-based florist Elaine Dunlop of Petal Power, who produced the beautiful bouquets presented to all 19 category winners of an LBEL Award.