SEVEN individuals from Garden Centre Association (GCA) member garden centres have reached the finals of the Rising Stars programme sponsored by Westland Horticulture (January 2023).
The staff were put forward by their garden centres and took part in a series of workshops.
Gordon Emslie, who mentored the workshops, said: “I’d like to say a huge ‘congratulations’ to , Louise Oates from Bents Garden & Home, Jennifer Ind from Webbs of Wychbold, Mia Crawford from Poundbury Gardens, Ella May Bradshaw from Bosworths Garden Centre and Pip Bransfield-Garth from Ruxley Manor Garden Centre. It has been a real privilege to work with all this year’s delegates and to coach them all on building their confidence and to see their own personal growth over the last 10 months.
“The workshops this year were around supporting the delegates’ projects on environmental and sustainability within gardening. We visited NIAB in Cambridge, Westlands Peat processing facility in Ellesmere Port, GLEE and Allensmore Nurseries as well as workshops held at Westlands facilities in Peterborough, St Peters Garden Centre and Bents Garden Centre. Topics covered included communication, presentation skills, looking at industry best practice, networking and effective team working.
“All the candidates undertook projects within their garden centres that were either environmentally focused or had a sustainability theme to them. Their project ran from early May through to the end of Sept. All of the delegates presented their projects to a Dragon’s Den at Westlands Peterborough in October to a panel of judges who scored them and the final seven were the top scoring projects.”
The finalists will present their projects at the GCA Conference in Blackburn on Monday, January 23 and share with the audience how the Rising Stars programme has helped them develop over the past 10 months.
Gordon added: “The Rising Stars process is a fantastic opportunity for anyone nominated to develop and manage their skills and be mentored by experts in the gardening industry. It is like no other training coaching they will receive and everything they learn is brought back and instilled into the garden centre they work for, so everyone benefits.”
A final winner will be voted for by the conference attendees.
Simon McArdle, Divisional Director at Westland Horticulture, said: “Garden centres and the incredible teams that work within them, are critical to the success of the UK gardening industry. At Westland, we are passionate about supporting the next generation, and we are delighted to have enjoyed sponsoring and supporting this year’s Rising Stars on their journey over the last 12 months to the GCA conference.
“The presentations they have prepared, with Gordon’s guidance, are thought provoking and fascinating, and spotlight the huge potential of this talented group.”
The GCA’s annual conference will be held at the Mercure Blackburn Dunkenhalgh Hotel and Spa in Blackburn, Lancashire from January 22 until 25, 2023 and places can be booked via www.gca.org.uk.
The conference pages on the website will be updated with speaker announcements and full listings as the programme develops and exact timings are confirmed. There is also a dedicated email for any queries members, and those wishing to book for the event, may have: email@example.com.
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 further information, please visit www.gca.org.uk.