Emma Cooke from Springmount Garden Centre, Ballycanew Road, Gorey, has been selected as one of three finalists in the Irish Rising Stars programme. She is now getting ready for her final challenge at the Retail Excellence Ireland awards in November.
The initiative, in its first year in Ireland, seeks out and celebrates exceptional talent in the garden centre industry. It is coordinated by Westland Horticulture which has run a similar training model in the UK for the past six years.
Some 16 hopefuls began on the programme in April, when they were given merchandising training and provided with the skills and knowledge needed to make an impact on sales. They used these skills to promote GroMór, a nationwide campaign to get Ireland growing.
Keith Nicholson, Marketing Director for Westland Horticulture, said that encouraging new and emerging talent is essential for the future of the industry. 'It brings fresh ideas and inspiration, essential for driving participation in the garden sector,' he said. 'This is the first time we've run this initiative in Ireland and already the standard has been very high. I wish all the finalists the very best of luck.'
The winner will be announced REI Awards at Radisson Blu Galway on November 5.