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Record number of entrants sign up for Rising Stars 2015

The Rising Stars 2015 Programme has received a record number of entries from garden centre staff looking to get ahead in the world of horticultural retailing.

Demand for places and the calibre of the applicants was so high that a second workshop has been planned for early April (April 1) to accommodate everyone.

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

This year a total of 31 people signed up for the programme and ultimately one will achieve the title of Rising Star of 2015.

The first Masterclass kicked off at Westland’s Merchandising Lab in Peterborough, 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 Rising Stars must now put the merchandising tips they were taught into practice and measure the impact, ready for the next Masterclass in June. A follow-up session will be held at the start of April for those unable to attend yesterday’s session.

There will be three Masterclasses held throughout the year in which participants will be given extensive coaching and mentoring in different aspects of retail merchandising. After the first two Masterclasses, the most successful participants will be taken through to the next round.

Keith Nicholson, Marketing Director for Westland Horticulture said: “Each year the Rising Stars Programme gets more and more successful and the standard achieved higher and higher. This demonstrates that horticultural retailing is a strong career choice, which is fantastic for the industry as a whole. We are proud to be once again supporting this initiative.

“I would like to wish all of the 2015 candidates the best of luck. I’m certain, regardless of whether they go on to win or not, they will get a lot of benefit from the experience.”

Iain Wylie, Chief Executive of the GCA said: “We are all really excited about this year’s programme. Due to popular demand we will once again put forward the top 5 candidates to deliver their presentations at the GCA’s annual conference in January 2016 before the ultimate winner is announced at the gala dinner a day later on Tuesday 26 January 2016. Best of luck to all those taking part!”

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