And the Rising Stars winner is……….

Company: Westland Horticulture

Sophie Liebthal has been revealed as the winner of the Westland/GCA Rising Star of 2015.

Sophie from Coolings Rushmore Hill was voted for by delegates at the Garden Centre Association (GCA) Conference in Brighton and picked up her award on stage at the Gala Dinner.

Now, she is urging other garden centre staff to sign up for the 2016 programme before the closing deadline of February 19.

The Rising Stars Programme, run by Westland Horticulture and supported by the GCA has been running since 2009. Its aim is to develop the best new talent in the garden centre industry through a year-long training course facilitated by Ian Boardman, IBBIS Director. The course helps the Rising Stars understand the importance of merchandising and Ian works with each candidate to show what they could implement at their own garden centres and how to measure results. He said “Sophie has done really well. Starting out as a weekender on the till she now runs the fencing and timber area as well as supervising the tills on alternate weekends. Her confidence has grown during the Rising Stars and her presentation at the conference came across as very genuine and from the heart.”

Keith Nicholson, Marketing Director for Westland Horticulture, said: “Encouraging new and emerging talent is essential for the future of our industry, bringing fresh ideas and inspiration. That’s why Westland will continue to invest heavily in training for garden centre staff and will once again support the next Rising Stars programme.”

Iain Wylie: “We are delighted to announce that nominations are now open for the 2016 Rising Stars Programme. I’m sure garden centre owners will once again be encouraging their own employees to benefit from initiative.”

Anyone interested in applying for the 2016 programme should contact the GCA on 0118
930 8918 or visit

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