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Westland picks its 2019 Rising Stars

2019's Rising Stars candidates. Photo: courtesy of Westland.

Westland each year picks 20 up-and-coming garden centre employees who show great potential and would benefit from the opportunity to further their skills and experiences as part of the Rising Stars Program.



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30 July 2019

Each year Westland and the Garden Centre Association (GCA) search for the most up-and-coming employees at garden centres who show great potential and would benefit from the opportunity to further their skills and experiences as part of the Rising Stars Program.

This year’s stars have been announced and they have begun their mentorship with Westland to help them further their skills and expertise, with the first three stages of the programme now complete.

During the first stage of the programme, the 20 candidates met the Westland team for a briefing about Rising Stars and found out more about Westland and the insight the company can offer into the data behind the garden market.

As part of the programme, the Rising Stars have to devise and present a sales campaign based on one of Westland’s four key categories: indoors, lawn care, growing, and wild bird care. During the first round, candidates had to select their project category.

During round two of the process, Westland showcased information about its marketing strategies within the sector, including point-of-sale (POS) materials, wider content, and social media.

They also received information about merchandising, driving sales, financial delivery, and presentation skills to give them a rounded view of what it takes to bring a product to market. At this stage, the candidates outlined their projects and received initial feedback from the Westland team.

In the third round, each Rising Star gave their presentation, which was also recorded to help develop their presentation delivery skills for the future.

The next stage will see each of the participants speaking with Gordon Emslie from the GCA, to receive feedback on their presentations and discover if they are through to the final stage.

“This year, to celebrate the 10th year of Rising Stars, we have changed the format. Instead of picking one person to win, we want to champion and support as many people as we can, which is why we will be selected (sic) 10 of the Rising Stars to go through to the final stage to make their presentations at the GCA Conference in January. It’s been brilliant working with the candidates so far and to see how passionate they are to learn; we’re really looking forward to see how their presentations evolve.”, said Jo Wilkinson, head of communications and insight at Westland.

The Westland 2019 Rising Stars are:

  1. Dominic O’Donnell: Ruxley Manor.
  2. Gemma Stace: Bents.
  3. Arif Khan: Perrywood.
  4. Josh Gilbert: Bosworths.
  5. Rachel Atkinson-Young: Stewarts Broomhill.
  6. Nathan Heywood: Bents.
  7. Michael Knight: Haskins Ferndown.
  8. Sarah Jane Toop: Haskins West End.
  9. Paul Birch: Planters Bretby.
  10. Charlie Watts: Squires Twickenham.
  11. Stuart Sullivan: Squires Badshot Lea.
  12. Bronwen Dains: Thurrock.
  13. James Townsend: Garsons Esher.
  14. Ben Lodge: Notcutts.
  15. Emma Lamb: Barton Grange.
  16. Rachel Wilkes: Webbs Wychbold.
  17. Jack Appleton: Webbs Wychbold.
  18. Naomi Smith: Poundbury.
  19. Adam Wallbank: St Peters.
  20. William Biehler-Wallis: Baytree.

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