Floristry students crowned the best in the UK

24.11.2016 Floristry students from from Moreton Morrell College have won Gold and Silver in the WorldSkills UK Skills Competition Finals at The Skills Show.

Dean Sharpe - gold medal

Dean with Sarah Cunningham of the BFA

Dean Sharpe won gold and Zoe Simmons won silver after beating off stiff competition from all over the UK over two days of competition at The Skills Show, which took place from 17-19 November 2016 at the NEC Birmingham.

It is the third Gold Medal in four years for Moreton Morrell College floristry students, with Dean following in the footsteps of Zoe Rowlinson in 2013 and Claire Hammond last year.

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 British Florist Association. They had to make five different floristry creations under timed conditions over two days.

Dean, from Stafford, works full-time at Fleurtations Florist in Lichfield. He said, “I was a little nervous to start with but after the first item I was OK and think going in with a plan really helped me.“When I heard I had won gold I was shocked but happy at the same time. I think everyone did so well in the competition as it's not easy doing something live and in front of a lot of people.

“Winning the gold means so much to me as I've really enjoyed doing competitions and this was the big one, so I'm over the moon to come away with gold. It's given me confidence that what I'm doing is right.

“I’d like to thank Jane and Tina who are amazing tutors, Zoe Rowlinson for her help in the run up to the Skills, Sandi Griffin for organising an amazing competition, my partner Tom for putting up with everything and a general thank you to everyone that's helped and supported me.

“I’d like to do more competitions as I love them, but I would like to get into demonstrating as well as continuing with my Level 3 qualification and just see what other opportunities come my way.”

Zoe SimmonsZoe, from Wellesbourne, said, “I was so nervous leading up to competition I actually felt sick, but everything went to plan.

“When they called out bronze I thought ‘That's it, I've definitely not got a medal’ as there was absolutely no way I would get silver or gold. But when I actually saw my name on the screen for the silver medal I was absolutely gobsmacked and so pleased that all this hard work had resulted in a medal.

“I’d really like to thank Jane for all that she has taught me, and if it wasn't for my fellow student Glynis I wouldn't be doing the competition, as she put my name forward and pushed encouraged me to do something out of my comfort zone. I’d also like to thank my husband for putting up with the constant flower talk, mood swings, stressing, funding everything and actually getting me to the competition and back - 9 trips to and from the NEC! He kept saying I would get a medal all along.”

Jane Benefield, floristry lecturer at Moreton Morrell College said, “I’m immensely proud of Dean and Zoe - to win the gold and silver medal was absolutely fantastic and thoroughly deserved.

“As well as Dean and Zoe competing, some of our other students volunteered to assist the competition at the show which was a really fantastic and valuable experience for them.

“I feel very lucky to have taught all of our students who have competed at The Skills Show in the last few years. They are all wonderful florists and have achieved so much - a true inspiration to our students and staff alike.”

Dr Neil Bentley, Chief Executive, WorldSkills UK said: “I offer my congratulations to Dean and Zoe on their success at The Skills Show.

“All of the apprentices and learners who took part in the WorldSkills UK Competitions are truly inspirational. We will work with them to show young people, whatever their background, the training and career opportunities that an apprenticeship or high quality training programme can offer them.”

Moreton Morrell College offers floristry courses at a range of levels. For more information click here or call 0300 456 0049.