Lecturer wins top civil service award

Horticulturist Colin McKnight (left) receives his Northern Ireland Civil Service Professional of the Year Award 2017 from Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Sir Malcolm McKibbin.
Horticulturist Colin McKnight (left) receives his Northern Ireland Civil Service Professional of the Year Award 2017 from Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Sir Malcolm McKibbin.

Horticulturist Colin McKnight has won the Northern Ireland Civil Service Professional of the Year Award 2017.

The CAFRE Horticulture lecturer, who is an expert in landscape construction, scooped the top award in the NI Civil Service-wide competition for the international success he has achieved with his young students.

The 29-year-old, who has worked at Greenmount Campus, CAFRE for five years said: “I am delighted to receive this amazing honour and thrilled that horticulture and, in particular, landscape design and construction, is being increasingly recognised as a rewarding profession.

“I hope my award helps raise the profile of the industry and the many fantastic career choices it offers to students.”

As well as being a horticulture lecturer Colin was until recently Training Manager for the Worldskills Landscape Gardening Squad and Team. Worldskills is the world’s largest international skills competition and Colin led two successive UK teams to win a Silver Medal in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2015 and a Gold Medal at EuroSkills 2016 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

“The teams, including some CAFRE graduates, have achieved great success competing against the best in the world. To the students it is more than a competition – it’s their opportunity to show the world just how skilled we are as a profession and as a nation.

Paul Mooney, CAFRE’s Head of Horticulture said: “I’m very proud of Colin and his success. He is very deserving of the award and recognition of his work and the success he has achieved with our horticulture students.”