HI, my name is Clara Agnew and I completed Level 2 and Level 3 floristry courses at CAFRE’s Greenmount campus, graduating in 2019.
I have always had a passion for flowers and I have worked Saturdays in a florist since I was 13.
During my time at Greenmount campus I was a residential student and I thoroughly enjoyed college life. The staff are always willing to organise outings or events on campus and I had the opportunity take part in a study tour to the Netherlands and enter floristry competitions for The RHS Chelsea Flower Show and UK Skills. I have made great friendships and I am still in touch with most of my classmates, as well as students from other disciplines whom I met at college.
The floristry facilities at Greenmount are excellent with dedicated floristry studios adjoining a shop and display area. There is a recently added plant studio, which provides an area to photograph your work for staging displays and for houseplant identification and maintenance.
At Greenmount campus we follow industry standards from the segregation of waste, conditioning flowers, creating designs to specification as well as displaying and packaging the finished product.
Whilst on Level 2, I had the opportunity to demonstrate at the UK Skills show in Birmingham. This show brings together many vocational skills from local heats to select the best in the UK. The finalists then progress on to World Skill UK Squad, with the opportunity for training for the final.
After visiting the show I entered the competition myself and was successful in the local heat, which fed into the final in Birmingham in 2019. Due to Covid restrictions, the 2020 show was unable to proceed, but I have now qualified with another florist to the squad training team.
Much of the training has been over Zoom, however last month, with the easing of restrictions, we were able to travel over to England for a training session and this week the UK training manager, Laura Leong, and my fellow squad member Hannah are at Greenmount campus for three days training.
It is Laura’s first time at Greenmount campus and she has been so excited to see the modern studios and facilities in the walled garden and grounds, which are inspirational and support creativity.
Training for World Skills UK is very intense – I have recently given up work and opted to open my own studio so that I am able to concentrate fully on perfecting my techniques and practising different designs at the final, that will be held in Shanghai in 2022.
I have also pushed myself to enter other competitions such as Fusion Flower’s “Just Chrysanths” and “Just Hydrangea” to stretch, challenge and motivate myself.
I would highly recommend the Level 2 and Level 3 floristry courses at Greenmount campus and advise students to grab all opportunities that are given to enter competitions. You get out of any course what you put into it and more! CAFRE has given me confidence, deepened my passion, expanded my life skills and opened up a whole new world of possibilities to me.