Inspiring, celebrity garden designer, Danny Clarke (aka The Black Gardener) is hosting the ceremony for the national Land-Based & Environment Learner (LBEL) Awards later this year, with today marking the opening of nominations for 2024 entries.

For the second year running, this exciting Awards scheme will recognise the outstanding talent, successes, and achievements of learners from across England and Northern Ireland in the land-based and environment sector.

The winners will be announced at a genuine celebration of talent on the 21 November 2024 at the centrally located, National Conference Centre in Birmingham. The ceremony will be hosted by Danny Clarke, who changed from a career in sales to horticulture in his early forties.

Danny Clarke, who trained as a garden designer at Hadlow College said: “I am thrilled to be hosting this year’s ceremony to recognise the talent and dedication of people in education who are taking care of and creating green spaces and looking after animals.”

“Although I didn’t change career until I was middle-aged, my love of the outdoors started early on in my life. I can’t wait to hear the stories behind the nominations, some of whom I expect will be career changers, like me, or young people embarking on their career. Either way, it looks set to be a memorable date in the calendar!”

The Awards organisers, Lantra and Landex, are actively encouraging land-based employers, colleges, private training providers and universities to recognise and promote their top candidates by nominating them for a prestigious award. The deadline for entries is 11 June 2024.

Dr David Llewellyn CBE, Lantra’s Chair of Trustees commented:

‘’We were overwhelmed by the 120 nominations that were received in the first year of the Awards. The LBEL Awards already play a key role in celebrating hard-work and success and in this second year, we are urging employers of apprentices to put their best candidates forward. In this way, we can recognise and reward the very best of our developing workforce.’’

Marcus Clinton, Chair of Landex commented:  

“Landex is calling on the network of land-based colleges and universities to identify outstanding learners who have the talent and drive to push the industry forward. We want them to take some time to nominate these fantastic individuals and join us in giving them the recognition they deserve.” 

The annual awards are open to individuals on a full-time or part-time Land-Based and Environment course or Apprenticeship in England between September 2022 and September 2024. The award categories include Agriculture; Aquaculture and Fisheries, Arboriculture; Forestry and Woodland Management; Equine and Farriery; Floristry; Landscape and Horticulture; Land-Based Engineering; Animal Care and Management; Veterinary Nursing; Environmental Conservation, Game and Wildlife; and Sports Turf and Greenkeeping.

Prizes for the above categories apply across Private Training providers, Further Education (FE), Apprenticeships Awards (Level 2-3), Higher Education (HE) and Higher Apprenticeship Awards (Level 4-7). This year we will be introducing a new category: Research Student of the Year, where supervisors are encouraged to nominate a student studying a post-graduate level either for a master’s degree or a Doctoral Degree.

There are overall prizes for: Research Student of the Year; Apprentice of the Year; Overall Winner; and Runners Up. Online entries are being encouraged, as the quicker and more sustainable option. However, paper copies of the nomination form are available on request, by emailing