Applications now open for GCA Rising Stars programmes

MEMBERS of the Garden Centre Association (GCA) are being encouraged to put forward their employees for the organisation’s two Rising Stars programmes taking place throughout the year (2019).

The GCA will once again be running its Rising Stars programme, sponsored by Westland Horticulture, focusing on core gardening and its new Catering Rising Stars programme, sponsored by Creed Foodservice in 2019.

Iain Wylie, GCA Chief Executive, said: “The application process for our Rising Stars programmes is now open and if garden centre managers or owners feel they have a member of staff who is a rising star within the business, then they should seriously consider putting them forwards for the process.

“This year’s gardening-based programme will be led by Gordon Emslie and will follow a similar format to previous years, with 10 candidates being selected for the whole programme, undertaking a series of workshops on topics such as merchandising and concluding with attendance and a presentation at our annual conference in January 2020. The focus of this programme will be core gardening categories, including plants. The deadline for nominations is Friday, February 22. 

“After the roaring success of our first ever Catering Rising Stars programme in 2018, we will be running it again this year. It was created to highlight and develop the talented individuals in garden centre restaurants and cafés and to recognise the important role catering plays in the industry.
“The programme focuses on front of house and restaurant management. It is ideal for supervisors and assistant managers with potential to be catering managers. It will once again be sponsored by Creed Foodservice and facilitated by Chris Brown from Turpin Smale Catering Applications now open for GCA Rising Stars programmesConsultants.

“Twenty applicants will start this year. There will be four masterclasses designed to help them to improve their knowledge and experience, as well as show them what else is going on in the wider market place. The deadline for nominations is Friday, March 15.”

For a nomination form for either of the Rising Stars programmes, please email Once collected, the nominations will then be put to a panel of judges, who will confirm the participants.

Iain added: “The Rising Stars process is a fantastic opportunity for anyone nominated as they’ll be able to develop and manage their skills and be mentored by experts in the gardening and catering industries. It is like no other training they will receive and everything they learn will be brought back and instilled into the garden centre they work for, so everyone benefits.”

The GCA represents nearly 200 garden centres nationwide.

Through sharing information and its inspection programme the GCA helps members to achieve high standards in customer service, plant quality and reliability.

For other information, please call 01244 952170, visit on to or follow the organisation on Twitter