Rising Stars 2016 gets underway

This year’s Rising Stars Programme has now begun, with a record number of entries from garden centre staff looking to get ahead in the world of horticultural retailing.

The programme, run by Westland Horticulture and the Garden Centre Association (GCA), is now in its eighth year and has been hugely successful to date, welcomed by the industry and participants alike.

This year a total of 33 people signed up for the programme and ultimately one will achieve the title of Rising Star of 2016.

Rising StarsThe Southern Masterclass kicked off at Squires Garden Centre in Shepperton on March 1, where Ian Boardman, IBBIS (UK) director and Rising Stars facilitator put the entrants through their paces. Ian gave hints and tips on how to increase sales and profits from every square metre in their garden centres and more importantly, how to ensure that customers have a great experience each time they visit. The Northern Masterclass will take place at Barton Grange Garden Centre on March 17.

Westland Horticulture marketing director Keith Nicholson said: “This year we made the decision to have a North and South first masterclass to make travelling easier for candidates. The industry is thriving and more and more are pursuing and gaining success in horticultural careers. This has, and will continue to be, helped by initiatives such as the Rising Stars.”

GCA chief executive Iain Wylie added: “The top five candidates will deliver their presentations at the next GCA Conference which will be held in January in St Andrews, Scotland. Each finalist will be voted on by their peers and the ultimate winner will be announced at the Gala Dinner. Best of luck to all those taking part!”