What you should prepare for when leaving college and going into the work place.
Leaving college is a big deal. You have studied for a number of years, become familiar with your college / floristry school surroundings and probably most importantly you have learnt from teachers who have had your best interests at heart, who have guided you to do your the best and you have built friendships with your fellow students.
There is no doubt that college is a sound learning board, where you learn, create, become inspired and indeed inspire your fellow students (and possibly your teachers).
Unlike school, this is a place where you are focused on achieving a particular result - a pass, a distinction, a degree - whatever it is, it’s a time that you can soak up every little piece of information that is given to you.
It is also the perfect time and place to be truly creative and think outside the box, letting your design skills come to the fore. Allow the artistic side of you to fly and at times, push the boundaries!
Once you have achieved the result you have been working hard towards, then comes the next step:
”What should I do with this qualification”
“How can I prepare myself for the future in the world of floristry?”
“What do I want to do”
“Where do I want it to take me?”
Such important questions; some will know the answers, however, some will perhaps need guidance and some students may decide to go on to other things. We are all different.
As with any profession, the work place is very different to being in the college classroom. When leaving college or your floristry school, be mindful that each of your fellow students may be experiencing the same feelings, apprehension and fear of the unknown, you are not on your own.
Whilst at college, you may have had the opportunity to undertake work experience or a placement or you may already have been employed by a florist whilst studying at college. This may lead you on to the potential of being offered a full-time or part-time role with this company. Happy days!
If not, please do not be disappointed. Good, hard working skilled florists are always in demand. If you are leaving college with a plan to work in a florist shop or studio, I would advise the following:
Have a comprehensive portfolio and a CV written.
Apply for jobs and if possible, go in person to deliver your application rather than via email.
Personally, visit florists and introduce yourself, showing your qualifications and portfolio.
Register with a recruitment agency that specialises in the Horticultural / Floristry industry (they do exist!).
Visit Event Planners and Event Florists for weddings and other occasions; they may need your help and this is invaluable work experience.
Create social media accounts for your floristry.
Decide if you are prepared to re locate to find employment.
Decide if you are happy to become a freelancer.
Remember any experience, is good experience and the more you have gained throughout college days and the beginning of your career, the better.
It goes without saying that large cities are the places to find more work in the floral industry….there are more opportunities for occasions, more disposable income to spend on flowers and many freelance opportunities.
However, as a freelancer, you can have lots of work and you can have periods of quiet. Nothing is guaranteed, but the upside is that you will have plenty of variety, see lots of different events, meet lots of different people and most importantly, you will gain so much experience and make friends.
Note: as a freelancer you'll need to:
Pay your own taxes and insurance.
Get to and from freelance jobs.
Be ready to work unsociable hours.
Be a team player.
be willing to listen to your team leader/employer.
If you would prefer to be in employment, this will give you more security, but again nothing is guaranteed.
Note: your employer will be responsible for:
paying your taxes and insurance.
offering you a set number of hours for each week, with an agreed hourly/daily rate.
a weekly or monthly salary.
a role title.
a contract, signed by both parties.
an induction to the business and meeting other members of the team.
a full briefing on general housekeeping and health & safety procedure/rules.
lunch/breaks – although these may not be set times!
your holiday entitlement.
You may be entitled to other benefits, to be aware of when you negotiate your role and you may be required to wear a uniform. You will certainly be expected to be an excellent time keeper and be flexible to work extra hours when the business requires you to.
If you would like to go further afield to work as a florist, there are opportunities all around the world. From the Far East to the Middle East, from Europe to the Caribbean, the world is your Oyster.
In summary, lots to think about, but you can do it, flowers can enable you to reach for the moon. I know. I have.
Be full of anticipation.
Be prepared to work hard.
Be willing to listen.
With over 35 years’ experience, Karen Barnes is one of the UK’s leading consultants to the floral industry and an expert in product development, future trends & colours, and floral photography design & planning. She’s an interior floral designer, high profile wedding and event floral planner, and prominent international competition judge.
From teaching on a one-to-one basis to coaching small, intimate classes and larger teams, Karen can encourage, motivate and mentor your next step in the florist industry. Sharing her vast experience, Karen can help you expand your knowledge and creativity.