The horticultural industry can look forward to welcoming more bright students to the trade with the backing of the David Colegrave Foundation (DCF) through its scholarships.

Scholarships worth £13,000 have been awarded to 10 students with interests that include research, sustainability, crop management, breeding, horticultural therapy and commercial wholesale.

Jeff Colegrave comments: “This year we received a record number of applications from horticultural students studying at 22 colleges across the UK. We believe we have selected some excellent candidates who are very worthy recipients of the David Colegrave Foundation Scholarships.”

The winners include:
The £2,500 Horticultural Research Scholarship
winner is Rakhee Dhorajiwala - Cardiff University. Rakhee is the first recipient of this award that supports applied research within the horticulture industry.

Rakee is completing a Doctor of Philosophy (Biosciences) at Cardiff University. Her area of interest lies in the study of postharvest physiology - the maintenance of (often) commercially sold horticultural products. These products, being high value and in many cases easily perishable, have research focused on their physiology once picked to improve their shelf life and quality. Rakee would like to have a career in horticulture and is passionate about being able to support the food and flower industry in providing consumers with the best quality fruit, vegetables and other commercially sold cut flowers and bedding plants in a sustainable way.

Rakhee comments: "I feel very lucky to have won the DCF Horticultural Research Scholarship. I am currently growing lilies for some sugar analysis experiments! I’m eager to continue my research and hopefully make some novel discoveries about how lilies open and how to improve their vase life."

Supporting Rakhee’s application, Jeff Colegrave, DCF Chairman, adds: “Rakhee is a very talented student and I am delighted to encourage further horticultural-related research through this scholarship that will contribute to the development of new tools and approaches.”

The £1,500 John Gibson Environmental Scholarship winner is Juliet Turner - College of Agriculture Food & Rural Enterprise (CAFRE). Juliet is the first recipient of this award that supports environmental solutions and sustainable applications as applied to commercial horticulture.

Juliet is completing a Foundation Degree Horticulture at CAFRE at the Greenmount campus in Co. Antrim, N. Ireland. Juliet has an interest in living walls which are a real growth area in the industry. The DCF Trustees were impressed by her vision and her interest in a commercial application of horticulture that would contribute to a sustainable environment.

Juliet comments: “I am deeply interested in exploring how plants and horticultural techniques can be used sustainably to create welcoming, healthy and climatically responsible urban environments, particularly through the use of living walls. I am delighted and grateful to receive The John Gibson Environmental Scholarship to fund further training in this area”.

Supporting Juliet’s application, John Gibson, adds: “Congratulations to Juliet, a very worthy recipient of this scholarship. Juliet made an excellent presentation for the scholarship and as it is the first of these awards, I am delighted to give her my full support. I certainly think living walls have a great future in the UK. We have so many city centres that need brightening up. Juliet mentions Singapore where they are well established, and I have always been impressed with them when I have been passing through the city. I wish her good luck with her project.”

The £1,000 Student Scholarships winners are:

  • Áine Gilchrist - CAFRE College
    Áine is completing a Foundation Degree Horticulture at CAFRE at the Greenmount campus in Co. Antrim, N. Ireland. Her interest lies in the production of bedding plants throughout the seasons, as well as horticultural therapy and horticultural production within the community and voluntary sector. This has led Áine to volunteer at a community garden, supporting the planning and production of bedding and container planting.

    Áine comments: “Being awarded the DCF Student Scholarship has been a really exciting and encouraging experience.  As a mature student changing career, this support further inspires me to take full advantage of my horticultural studies and experiences, as well as boosting my confidence in pursuing a career in horticulture.”
  • Richard Murray - CAFRE College
    Richard is completing a Foundation Degree Horticulture at CAFRE at the Greenmount campus in Co. Antrim, N. Ireland. He also works at Woodlawn Garden & Lifestyle in Carryduff, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Plant production is of particular interest to Richard, especially large-scale production and the wholesaling of ornamental plants. He hopes to own his own nursery one day.

Richard comments: “This Student Scholarship will allow me to experiment with growing more plants than I would have been otherwise able to, through the purchase of horticultural supplies, as well as increase my knowledge base by allowing me the finances required to attend certain horticultural short courses, such as the ones provided at the Walled Garden, Helen's Bay.”

  • Cody Smith - Myerscough College
    Cody is completing a worked based apprenticeship - Level 2 Diploma in Work based Horticulture (Production Horticulture) at Myerscough College in Bilsborrow, Preston while working at Abi and Toms Garden Plants, a plant and tree nursery in Witherslack, Cumbria. He is particularly interested in growing for commercial nurseries.

Cody comments: “I am absolutely delighted to have been chosen for the DCF Student Scholarship. This is going to make a tremendous difference to my studies and future garden designing as I will now be able to have the technology and resources to help me do so. I really am truly grateful to be given this scholarship.”

  • Franziska Goeckeritz – SRUC

Franziska is completing a BSc Horticulture at SRUC at the Edinburgh campus and works as a Horticultural Assistant at Dobbies Garden Centres. She has a particular interest in the commercial production of ornamental plants and one day, hopes to have her own ornamental nursery producing healthy specimen container grown trees and shrubs.


Franziska comments: “I cannot describe how incredibly grateful and honoured I am to have received this DCF Student Scholarship. The money will allow me to develop my knowledge in production horticulture and it may be used to fund a trip to the Netherlands where I would hope to learn more about ornamental plant production after the completion of my studies.”

  • James Hunter - Writtle University College
    James is completing a BSc Horticulture at Writtle University College at Chelmsford, Essex while also working at Joseph Rochford Gardens a hardy plant nursery based in Hertford, Hertfordshire. James has a keen interest in commercial production, with a specific interest in pest and disease management, especially with regards to the introduction of new invasive species as a result of factors such as climate change and global trade.

James comments: "I feel extremely grateful to the DCF for selecting me for its Student Scholarship and look forward to utilising the money to expand my horticultural knowledge and experience. Having a keen interest in pest and disease management, this scholarship will contribute towards travel that will broaden my understanding of global crop protection."

Three Sponsored Scholarships were also received for The £1,500 Ball Colegrave Sponsored Travel Scholarship, The £1,000 British Protected Ornamentals Association – Peter Seabrook Bursary and The £1,500 South West Growers Show (SWGS) Sponsored Regional Scholarship. News to follow.

The next DCF Scholarship season opens in September 2019.
More information on DCF can be found at www.davidcolegravefoundation.org.uk

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