The advantages of floristry formal training
In August, the Australian Association of Floral Designers (AAFD) held a demonstration and competition. The evening was well attended with seventy members present. The demonstrators were Nicole Gibson, Thuy Nguyen, Jenny Finlay and myself. Nicole demonstrated a hanging installation and a posy beidermeier. Thuy demonstrated a modern parasol with the main application using cold glue and Jenny demonstrated steam punk style bouquet. I made three bridal bouquets using wiring and gluing techniques and a display piece. Wired trailing bouquets have made a huge resurgence in Europe and techniques were explained including the construction of a glamelia and a tumelia. The competition was supported by twenty-five entries and the theme was Christmas in August. The AAFD qualified judge was Lyn Sutton. The competitors designed a table centre for a round table seating eight and the guests were all floral designers. Twelve entries were from Box Hill Institute, one independent member and the remainder were from Marjorie Milner College. The winner was Jenny Findlay, Marjorie Milner College (MMC). The evening was enjoyed by all who attended.
Looking at the standard of the competition I am always impressed by the enthusiasm and creativity that students put into their work. This is strongly influenced by the training system we have in this country. Australia has a nationally endorsed training package leading to a national qualification. Funding is also available for traineeship/apprenticeship training. Apprenticeship training is the best way to learn a trade as you work on the job and attend trade school one day per week. Incentives are available for employers. Check with an Australian Apprenticeship Centre as incentives do alter from State to State. Trainees and apprentices are the future of our industry, otherwise we will revert to an industry that is lacking qualifications and training. It concerns me today to see so many event companies where there are no floristry qualifications and some of the work you can view on Instagram or pinterest fills me with disappointment in regard to industry standards. Flowers look beautiful naturally and combined with a pleasing colour combination the public conceive the item is beautiful. To a trained eye any defects are immediately seen in design. You cannot argue with balance or visual perception. For example, if two people are of uneven weight on a see-saw and they are equally spaced from the axis they will not balance. The heavier weight must move closer to the axis. The same applies with correct balance in any floral design. This is not opinion, but rather fact. Flowers and foliage either balance or they do not. A trained florist understands the difference. If you stand and look at a building in the distance our eye perceives the building to be smaller. This should reflect in distance and size of flowers from the focal area.
School based and part-time apprenticeship
Some employers are unaware that school based apprenticeships and part-time apprenticeships exist. A school-based apprentice can work part time in the industry and also attend specific days at school. This system works for both parties and the floristry studies are part of the secondary schooling curriculum.
I am personally not in favour of workplace training where a trainer comes to the workplace. The business always comes first and often the training cannot proceed as the demands of the business dictate the client must come first. Some employers do not want to allocate flowers and sundries for a cross, heart, pillow or wired wedding designs for example yet, at trade school, the wide range of items are constructed.
America does not have nationally endorsed floristry qualifications, nor does Japan or China. I could keep listing countries and I feel very fortunate to be involved with floristry education in this country. It is sad to hear some florists who are newer to the industry are totally unaware of this method of training. Competency based training is the mode of training required by Vocational Education and this allows for an apprentice to commence training at any time through the year and there are no set intakes under this mode of training. The apprentice moves through the studies at their own pace. The government offers completion incentives to an employer.
You expect a plumber, electrician, hairdresser, barber, jeweller to be qualified. Surely floristry should be the same. Support trainee/apprenticeship training and the industry is assured of standards, professionalism and a future.
This article was published in Flowers Magazine by Gregory Milner.
For more information about this magazine please visit https://flowers.flowersaustralia.org/