Westland Horticulture Garden Centre Association Rising Stars announced

They delivered presentations on the topic how to boost autumn sales covering growing media, autumn lawn care and bird care.

Operations director Neil Cain (left) with Matt O’Conner and the award

Increases in sales of 40 per cent to 70 per cent were reported, with more than double digit growth in one case.

Daniel Holden (Barton Grange), Rupert Sleight (Squires Cobham), Kathryn Crouch (Haskins West End), Hana Parker (Monkton Elm) and John Bradley (Stewarts) have all made it through to the GCA Conference at Fairmount, St Andrews in Scotland in January 2017. There they will deliver their presentations on stage, in front of colleagues and peers.

The overall winner – the 2016 Rising Star of the Year - will then be chosen by conference delegates.

The finalists are the last ones standing after an eight month programme in which candidates attended three Masterclasses run by IBBIS director and training facilitator Ian Boardman. Skills taught included the importance of keeping hotspots fresh, creating clear signage, organising themed displays and the benefits of teamwork.

The first Irish finalists are: Emma Cooke (Springmount), Eoin Long (Arboretum) and Natalia Cvetic (Newlands).

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