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Horticulture awards for Pershore College apprentices

Three apprentices at Pershore College have won a major horticulture award and will now get the chance to attend one the sectors’ most prestigious conferences in Germany.

A trio of Crop Technician Level 3 students have won the International Plant Propagation Society (IPPS) 6-pack award – which gives six ‘new to the industry’ horticulturists the chance to attend the IPPS European Region Annual Conference.

Pershore College’s selected students are Tom McDonald, 24 from Evesham, Donné Perauld, 39 from South Africa but living in Farnborough, and Abigail Green, 27 from Worcester.

Half of the six winners of the award study at Pershore College and the students, who have just completed their first year of study, will be heading to Zwischenahn in Germany for the conference in October.

The award is open to anyone who is new to working in commercial ornamental horticulture or currently studies to enter the industry.

At the three-day conference, the students will get the chance to speak with growers from across the continent, tour nurseries in Germany and assist the conference organisers on delivering the event from 12 to 14 October.

Tom McDonald, who works for New Leaf Plants in Evesham alongside his studies, said: “I did a little jig around the garden when I found out! I’m really looking forward to speaking with growers and finding out how other countries manage their crops.

“To go from working as a seasonal staff member at New Leaf, to a full-time apprentice and now be selected to attend this conference is amazing.”

Abigail Green works for The Bransford Webbs Plant Company. She decided to leave a career in the pub industry behind and pursue a career in horticulture during one of the lockdowns.

“I cried when I found out I was selected. I can’t wait to meet other industry professionals and rub shoulders with some of the best in the business,” she said.

“It’s been an amazing first year experience with Bransford Webbs and Pershore college, and this is a great way to top it off.”

Donné Perold had enjoyed a career in teaching and decided to make the career change to horticulture after arriving in the UK from South Africa.

She said: “I was so humbled to be given the opportunity and recognised for the hard work I’ve put in. Attending the conference will open so many doors for me, but personally it is affirmation that my change in career was worth it.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the technology they use with the watering, how they deal with pests and diseases, their approaches and how it differs from here in the UK.”

Pershore College is part of college group WCG and is a nationally renowned centre for horticulture excellence.

Mark Diggines, trainer/assessor in horticulture at Perhsore College, added: “We have historically had success in getting at least one student placed on this programme – but to have three this year is phenomenal.

“The group of apprentices we have at the college this year are incredibly passionate and jumped at the chance to put themselves forward for this award.

“We are proud of their achievements and look forward to hearing about all the new knowledge they have gained when they return.”

To find out more about horticulture apprenticeships at Pershore college visit

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