Explaining the many options available
Whether you’re thinking of kick starting your floristry career, or wish to develop your skills further, there are many routes you can take to build knowledge, experience and expertise.
College based training is often the first route that a student will take to becoming a florist.
Many UK colleges offer floristry courses, these vary from specialist ‘land-based’ horticultural colleges with purpose-built training facilities, to general further education colleges without special facilities.
The range of floristry courses and study options available is complex and it is important to seek advice when selecting an appropriate course.
The main decision you will need to make is whether you wish to study full-time or part-time.
Full time study
Ideal for school leavers who wish to improve their employment prospects and gain a wide range of floristry skills. Full-time routes are also ideal for mature students seeking a change of career as they can gain a wide range of skills in a short period and are then well placed to enter the industry at intermediate level. Full-time courses also exist for students wishing to undertake a more academic study route, e.g. Higher Education, although some prior industry experience is normally an essential entry requirement. No matter what course you do always ensure its an accredited course. You will also be expected to complete a required number of hours working in the industry which in most cases fits in well, as the full time courses are often 3-4 days a week in college. A number of land-based colleges also offer hostel accommodation for students studying away from home.
Full time courses offer training in a wide range of skills, but it is recommended that you gain as much work experience as possible to build commercial knowledge and put your skills into practise.
It is often possible to find the same course offered both full and part-time by different colleges. Where this is the case it’s best to consider which option best meets your needs: does the part-time course cover the training in as much depth? Does the full-time course offer enough flexibility?
Bear in mind, if you choose a part-time course it may take longer to develop the same range of floristry skills, so you should try to gain part-time employment to compliment your studies and practice within a commercial environment.
Apprenticeships / Work Based Training
Learning on the job is a practical way to develop your skills. However, if you’re hoping to go for a career in floristry it’s crucial you underpin practical knowledge with official accreditations. These not only help with the more technical elements of the job, but also with the business side – which is crucial if you want to succeed.
A current apprenticeship combines work-based training together with formal assessments and building a portfolio of work. Your training is moderated by a college or approved training provider who will visit the workplace on a regular basis. Some colleges / training providers also provide apprentices with ‘off the job’ training to supplement the skills developed in the workplace.
Trailblazer Apprenticeship Scheme
There’s no better time to start your floristry training now that the new Floristry Trailblazer Apprenticeship is set to launch.
Apprenticeships are Government funded and are normally available free to the candidate and the employer.
This new apprenticeship is created by florists for florists, to ensure your training and knowledge is up-to-speed and up-to-date with industry standards and expectations. It’s the best way to make sure your finger is on the modern floristry pulse.
Trailblazer Apprenticeships are Government funded to an extent. The employer will put a percentage towards the cost and the student will work and learn on the job.
Watch this space for further info on which colleges will be assisting employers with the delivery of the Trailblazers.
Trailblazer Apprenticeships will only be available in England at the moment.
So, you’ve gained your first certificate? Congratulations! But what next? Once you have gained basic floristry skills and qualifications it’s best to consider taking follow-on courses to further advance your skills and training. Part-time courses are ideal for this as they enable you to work and study at the same time.
Some employers can be wary of taking on florists who are purely college trained. This is partly because a student may lack commercial experience and speed and often need further training to fit into a busy shop. With this in mind, it’s always best to get some shop-based work experience. In the long term, college training offers advantages both to the employer and employee – the range of skills and underpinning knowledge you will gain from college training will assist you throughout your career but there are also things you will only learn from ‘live’ experience.
To read all about Floristry Qualifications click here.
*Please note other qualifications are available but are not widely recognised within the floristry community. Be also aware of courses which do not offer qualifications but are attendance based or web based. These courses can be classed as CPD (Continuous professional development) but you will not be able to use them as a qualification to join the IoPF for instance.
Other florist related experiences.
BFA FleurEx is the UK trade show for professional floristry, featuring demonstrations and masterclasses run by world-class floral designers (which contribute to CPD). You’ll also find inspiration, engaging trade exhibitor stands and the opportunity to compete in floristry competitions.
BFA Vision is the annual spring floristry business conference. Featuring an engaging programme of inspirational speakers and business workshops (which contribute to CPD) on essential commercial topics to re-energise your business mind.
European Floristry School
A bi-annual event where you can unleash your hidden floristry potential - the European Floristry School delivers workshops by the finest designers in the world. Introducing new concepts and sharing a range of designs including bridal work, you will walk away with newly developed skills in creating fabulous floral art.