Jonathan Gill and Colin McKnight of the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) have won a Silver Medal at the Worldskills Final in Brazil.

Gill, a former horticulture student at CAFRE who lives in Ballynahinch, won the medal for landscape gardening in Sao Paulo.

The North’s Minister for Agriculture, Michelle O’Neill said that the Worldskills competition is designed to showcase and inspire world class excellence.

“I am delighted to see our young people succeed at a global level.

“Winning the Silver Medal is a terrific achievement and we are all very proud of both Jonathan and Colin’s performance and the many hours of hard work it represents,” she said.

This global skills competition is held every two years and this year attracted over 1,000 competitors from 72 countries and regions, showcasing 45 vocational skills.

Gill runs his own horticulture landscape gardening business and said that studying for his Extended Diploma in Horticulture at CAFRE really got him interested in landscape gardening.

“It has been a fantastic experience but we have worked very hard to get this fantastic result.

“Our South American-style garden had to include decking, paving, dry stone walling, woodwork and water features and planting.

“It was a complex design with mosaic paving and tropical plants including palms, bromelia and heliconia. We then had four days to construct our garden and impress the panel of international judges,” he said,

His success followed a rigorous selection process and an intensive training programme led by CAFRE tutor Colin McKnight, Training Manager for the UK Landscape Gardening Team, who accompanied the team to Sao Paulo.