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28 May 2011

WorldSkills London 2011 takes Gold, Silver and Bronze at Chelsea Flower Show

worldskills at chelsea_bamboo wedding dress.jpgBy WorldSkills London 2011

Judges at the 2011 RHS Chelsea Flower Show have awarded WorldSkills London 2011 a Silver-gilt medal for their ‘hands on’ educational exhibit “Showcasing Skills that Shape our World”, whilst WorldSkills Competitors Joe Massie and Jessica Andrews scooped up the Young Florist of the Year Gold and Bronze respectively.

Created from an original concept by WorldSkills Fashion Expert Victoria Mawhinney with expert content from the Eden Project and consultancy with TV Broadcaster Chris Beardshaw, the WorldSkills exhibit was commended for its innovative design, superior educational value and interactive visitor experience.

WorldSkills Competitors featured strongly in the Young Florist of the year competition, with Joe Massie, a WorldSkills bronze medallist from WorldSkills Calgary 2009 winning Young Florist of the Year for the third year running and Jessica Andrews, of this year’s WorldSkills Squad UK, taking bronze.

Located in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show’s popular Continuous Learning Zone inside the Great Pavillion, the WorldSkills exhibit amazed visitors by showing them how plants, combined with skills and human ingenuity create jobs and wealth around the world. Visitors, who included Sir Michael Parkinson, JLS, Prince Philip, Joan Rivers, Bill Bailey, Will Young, Paul McKenna, Dame Helen Mirren, Anne Diamond, Arlene Philips and Natasha Kaplinksky and Peter Sissons were invited to Have a Go at making mood enhancing floral buttonholes or a glamorous floral hair dos.

Visitors to the exhibit also had the opportunity to learn about the important role plants play in eco-friendly fashion and beauty. Special touch-screen displays – incorporating fascinating facts from the Eden Project and City and Guilds addressed eco-fabrics and the benefits of natural plant-derived materials and dyes, including hemp, ramie, flax, nettle and bamboo as well as the qualifications available in those industries. Two contemporary wedding dresses created by designer Julie Dutton using sustainable bamboo and silk proved that eco-friendly can also be luxurious and fashion-forward.

Skills Minister John Hayes said:

“The winning exhibits combined the magic of beauty and the power of learning. I congratulate everyone involved for a splendid result at Chelsea, and look forward to celebrating even more success when the WorldSkills UK team competes in London this autumn.”

Chris Beardshaw says;

“This is a fantastic achievement for WorldSkills with their first Chelsea interactive exhibit and I hope visitors to the show will enjoy learning about the power of plants on the WorldSkills stand.”

Sir Michael Parkinson, who Had a Go at making a button hole with his wife Mary, commented:

“This is absolutely the right idea – it is so important for young people to get out there and have a go!”

Jessica Andrews, WorldSkills Squad UK (Floristry) and bronze winner of the Young Florist of the Year said,

“I am thrilled to be awarded Bronze Young Florist of the Year. Joe Massie, who is now the winner three year’s running, is actually my WorldSkills mentor, and he was WorldSkills Bronze medallist in Calgary 2009, so I am also delighted for him, and honoured to be working with such amazing florists. Hopefully I’ll be representing the UK later this year at WorldSkills London 2011.”

Chris Humphries, Chairman of WorldSkills London 2011, said:

“We are thrilled to have been recognised with a medal; the competition was incredibly stiff so this is a huge achievement for our whole team. In the lead-up to WorldSkills London 2011 this October, we are creating one million opportunities for the UK to Have a Go at a new skill. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which has long been associated with the highest level of horticultural education, is the perfect forum to showcase skills that focus on people and plants, and I hope that the visitors who joined us found the experience enlightening.”

Have a Go activities at the WorldSkills stand were led by experts from Merrist Wood College, Pureology, Cookson Precious Metals, and Westminster Kingsway College.

For more information on WorldSkills London 2011 Have a Go and to register for complimentary tickets to the event between 5-8 October, please visit