Joint winners Will Michieli and George Bishop wowed the crowds at this year’s Garden Centre Association (GCA) Conference with two fantastic speeches about their experience in the Rising Stars Programme.
Now they are urging other young people to get sign up for the 2014 programme before the closing deadline of February 19.
The Rising Stars Programme run by Westland Horticulture and supported by the GCA has been running since 2009. Its aim is to develop the best young talent in the garden centre industry through a year-long training course during which they are given extensive coaching and mentoring in the importance, benefits and financial impact of retail merchandising.
A shortlisted group of candidates are showcased at the GCA conference where they present to the conference how they have made changes at their garden centres and the results this has driven.
Will Michieli, Plant Advisor from Monkton Elm Garden and Pet Centre in Taunton, Somerset and George Bishop, Assistant Manager of Squires, Milford both won the competition after judges decided it was impossible to choose an overall winner. Mentor Ian Boardman described Will and George as ‘inspirational’ and said mentoring throughout the year had been a ‘huge pleasure.’
Will said: “Anyone thinking about entering should do so right now. This is a brilliant programme that will enable you to meet some fantastic people and really stretch yourself achieving results both for yourself and your garden centres.”
George added: “The programme gives you a chance not only to work out what has succeeded, but also how and why this success came about, so you can repeat it again. My time with Westland has provided me with some really valuable tools and experiences that I will carry with me throughout my career.”
Keith Nicholson, Marketing Director for Westland Horticulture, said: “Encouraging new and emerging talent is essential for the future of our industry, bringing with them fresh ideas and inspiration. New talent really can make the difference and that’s why Westland will continue to invest in this area heavily and will once again support this year’s Rising Stars programme.”
Anyone interested in applying for the 2014 programme should contact the GCA on 0118 930 8918 or visit either the GCA website www.gca.org.uk or Westland’s trade website www.trade.gardenhealth.com.