From education to employment

Sheffield College Apprentice Wins WorldSkills UK National Finals Place

A Sheffield College floristry apprentice is preparing to put her vocational talent to the test by competing in the WorldSkills UK national finals.

Alicia Holdsworth, aged 20, who is completing a floristry apprenticeship at Level 3, will take part in the national finals during The Skills Show, the UK’s largest skills and careers show for young people, from November 16th to 18th at the NEC Birmingham.

She currently spends four days a week training at Floral Magic on Manchester Road in Stocksbridge, developing industry skills, and one day a week studying at the College’s Hillsborough campus on Livesey Street.

Alicia said: “I’m really looking forward to competing in WorldSkills UK. It feels amazing to get this far. I chose an apprenticeship at The Sheffield College because I love learning new skills, and it’s great to earn as I learn.”

She continued: “Floristry is really creative because you need to think about the design, colours and textures. It’s also very rewarding to help customers during an emotional time of their lives. In the long term, I’d like to set up my own business.”

Alicia added: “I really want to thank my family and friends, my boss and my College tutors as well as the British Florist Association for their support. I couldn’t have got this far without them!”

Abigail McGuire, Business Owner, Floral Magic, commented: “Alicia is a valuable asset to our team because she has such a thirst and enthusiasm for learning. We are very proud of her success. Alicia will give 110% to WorldSkills UK and we wish her the best of luck. Thanks to support from The Sheffield College, being able to recruit keen apprentices such as Alicia is really helping our business to grow.”

Angela Foulkes, Principal, The Sheffield College, said: “We provide an inspirational learning experience that enables our students to get the skills that employers need. Taking part in competitions such as WorldSkills UK demonstrates the high calibre of vocational talent available to employers. We are very proud of Alicia, and wish her every success at the national finals.”

WorldSkills UK aims to inspire the next generation to be ambitious in their pursuit for excellence and equip them with lifelong, world class skills to help UK businesses compete on the global stage.

There will be around 50 different skills areas at The Skills Show, which is free to attend, including construction, engineering, digital and hospitality. Visitors will also get the latest careers advice, and information on live employment and training vacancies. Visit

Alicia won her place after scoring highly in the national heats held across the UK last term, run in partnership with the British Florist Association.

Sandie Griffith, Training and Education Manager, British Florist Association, added:  “The Skills Show is where the best compete at the highest level in their chosen skill. It raises levels of expertise, which in turn helps us benchmark our apprenticeships and training programmes. I am proud of all the competitors who have made it to this year’s national final. Working with this young emerging talent is truly inspiring, and helps our industry get the recognition it deserves.”

The Sheffield College is the largest provider of work-based courses in the city and surrounding areas, and works with around 850 employers on apprenticeship programmes for more than 2,000 apprentices aged 16 to 24 and older.

For more information on apprenticeship vacancies, or how to benefit if you are an employer, visit or call 0114 2602600.

About The Sheffield College

  • The Sheffield College is a further education college that provides full-time and part-time academic, vocational and professional courses to approximately 16,000 young people and adults every year. It has a £321 million economic impact on the city annually.
  • The College offers a broad range of qualifications including apprenticeships, vocational diplomas, A Levels, access courses, and foundation and honours degrees, and has four main campuses: City, Hillsborough, Olive Grove and Peaks. Visit Call 0114 2602600. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

About the British Florist Association                 

  • The British Florist Association (BFA) is the voice of the independent florist, representing the profession to consumers, media and government. The BFA works to drive floristry standards and help florist businesses in high streets and flower studios compete and thrive throughout the UK. Visit


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