When embarking on a career in floristry or expanding a hobby in floral design one of the first questions that people ask is where can I train in floristry? Where can I find floristry courses in Sussex? I remember asking the exact same question nearly sixteen years ago!
I started my training at Plumpton College. I did a two year diploma in floristry at Plumpton. The course started my passion for my flowers, but it wasn’t until I went to Jane Packer Flowers and later McQueens that I realised that colleges are not just the way we can train in this industry.
For me although my floristry course at Plumpton College taught me the basics in floristry, I felt throughout my time studying floristry at Plumpton I concentrated more on trying to create arrangements that fitted into the City of Guilds criteria so that I got a better grade, than concentrating on my own floristry style.
When I started out in floristry there were no other options in Sussex to study floristry apart from colleges such as Plumpton College. Flower schools were very much a London thing. I thought it was imperative that I had a diploma and that no one would hire me without it. As my career progressed, I worked for two florists before opening up my own wedding and events business and during that eight years, no client ever asked to see my diploma, they hired me because of my style of floristry not because of the qualification. It made me question; is there a place anymore for qualifications in floristry? The fact is the industry is evolving and now London is not the only place that puts less emphasis on qualifications and more on students style development.
Learning on the job is how most people got into floristry, many years ago. It often started with years of conditioning before the apprentices could touch a flower. I have to admit I completely admire florists who are self taught. For me I feel the need to learn. Even now in my sixteenth year I yearn to learn more, to see how different countries flower arrange. I don’t think you can ever stop absorbing knowledge. My dream one day is to go to Japan to learn the floral artisan of ikebana, but that will need to go on the back burner for some years.
I think learning on the job can offer so many advantages if you have a generous employer. It can give you hands on experience and you can find out what it is really like working for customers and the pressure that comes with creating wedding flowers. Unfortunately I do find many training florists frustrated that they are stuck doing all the necessary jobs but usually not the most fun ones and their flower arranging is limited.
I feel very fortunate that I have experienced all three types of training, my training at Plumpton College in floristry, flower school training at Jane Packer and McQueens and experience on the job. For me nothing compared to the training I had at Jane Packer and Mcqueens. Rules and marks were thrown out the window, instead there was a guidance on how to create technically but encouragement to develop your own style. Surely this is what floristry is all about? We want to see individual florists. No two weddings are the same, so surely we don’t want florists to all be making the same displays?
This is what we encourage at Flourish Sussex Flower School. We teach students the fundamental designs so that all arrangements are technically correct, but then we embrace individual style and expression. Our students are artists and we want all displays to be different and individual to their creator.
Flourish Sussex Flower School offers the ultimate training for a career in floristry. We offer The Foundation Course which covers all the fundamental designs and theory in floristry. Our courses have been designed so they fit around peoples lives, so students can choose from a five day intensive course to a ten week evening course. Once the basics have been mastered we offer a The Wedding and Event course. This course takes designing and creating to another level. All the dramatic displays you see on Instagram you will learn on this course, so you can go away feeling confident , ready to offer your clients all the latest designs.
We also offer hands on experience for our students. Flourish Sussex Flower School take on a small number of weddings each year and students are welcome to help create wedding flowers under the guidance of head floral designer Alicia. This experience has proved so valuable with previous students. They are able to get that first hand experience of creating wedding flowers, without doing it on their own.
The school is all about first hand experience, artistic and style development and ensuring students concentrate on their own designs as opposed to grades. We also offer payment plans so that students can spread the cost of their course. To find out more click here.
If you want to find out more about the training courses we offer come along to our Free Open Day on Thursday 27th June where Alicia will give a talk about the courses that Flourish Sussex Flower School run. To sign up for the open day contact us today.