Garden centre rising stars begin training

This year's Westland/GCA 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.

This year, 33 people signed up for the programme and ultimately one will achieve the title of Rising Star of 2016. The Southern Masterclass kicked off at Squires Garden Centre in Shepperton on March 1, where Ian Boardman, IBBIS (UK) director was Rising Stars facilitator.

He gave hints and tips on how to increase sales and profits from every square metre in their garden centres and 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.

Keith Nicholson, marketing director for Westland Horticulture 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 said: "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."

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