Plymouth’s Deputy Lord Mayor officially opened the spectacular spaces, created by pupils from Coombe Dean. It is the latest initiative from the Sherford Consortium and its partners, to nurture young talent and develop local skills in construction.
The gardens, designed and built by a dozen Year 10 students from the nearby secondary school, were made over the course of a week during part of their work experience placements. The 15-yearold students worked in teams and were given total freedom over their designs, with help and support on hand as needed. The Sherford Skills Training Scheme and YGS Landscapes worked together to ensure the smooth delivery of the two winning designs.
The intention is to repeat this experience next year and allow more students to flex their creative muscles and design further garden spaces. Located by the Sherford Skills Training Centre, the gardens will be open to all those using the centre, which has already welcomed hundreds of apprentices and site workers through its doors as part of its skills programme. As Sherford develops and access becomes possible to the Skills Training Centre for residents from their homes, the gardens will be open to the wider community to enjoy.
Steve Warren Brown, Managing Director of YGS Landscapes, commented on the success of the programme, “The students had never experienced creating a garden from scratch before, and they worked hard all week to ensure the gardens looked incredible for the opening. Our aim is to make this an annual event, allocating space that our young people can reinvent to make commemorative gardens.”
Steven Ricketts, Skills Coordinator for the Sherford Training Scheme, said, “It is important to expose students to the opportunities open to them after they finish school, which is why these fun but vocational placements are so valuable. By dedicating an area of land to this project, Sherford has given the pupils an opportunity to be creative and learn a host of new skills. We’ve been delivering a refresher course to YGS Landscapes this week too, so it has been great to see new skills developing alongside established professionals honing their skills.”
Pete Castley from the Sherford Consortium, said, “As a sustainable development, we are committed to harnessing local talent and advancing the skills of young people from the community within the construction industry. Thank you to the students who have contributed towards making Sherford an even greener and more beautiful place.”
Nikki Gould, Work Experience Manager at Coombe Dean, said, “We are so grateful for all the hard work and time that the YGS and Sherford Skills teams have put into making this project a unique opportunity for our students who expressed an interest in a work placement in construction and the trades. Steve Ricketts and Steve Warren Brown have made several visits to our students at Coombe Dean, working and guiding them into designing their ‘Show Garden’ over the last few months. After visiting Sherford to do an initial site visit, the students were taken on a trip to Plants Galore to look at materials and plants to complement their gardens.
“It’s fantastic to see how the winning designs have become a reality over the past week, and the maturity and dedication we have witnessed from our students has been a credit to Coombe Dean, as well as the students themselves and Sherford. This offer has exceeded our expectations and we are so grateful to everyone who has given their time and dedication into ensuring our students have been given a first-class work experience.”
Marking the ceremonial event with a classic ribbon cutting, the Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor, Terri Beer, said, “This is such an inspired idea. Young people creating gardens from scratch and learning all about design, the environment and picking up new skills along the way. I have been following all the videos and photos that have been released during the last week on social media with great interest and I’ve been able to send messages of encouragement to the young people involved. It’s great to see so much effort being made to make sure young people who live in or near this new town feel part of it.”
Local businesses Bradfords, YGS Landscapers Ltd, Groundfix and Plymouth Construction Training Group donated materials toward the project.
For more information about Sherford visit www.sherford.org