Fine artist turned floristry apprentice celebrates WorldSkills UK medal win

16th December 2022

A fine art graduate who decided to change career and train as a florist is celebrating after clinching second place in a national skills competition.

Sheffield College apprentice Kirsty Noble, who works at Fresh Ideas Florists in Chesterfield, won a silver medal in the WorldSkills UK National Finals 2022.

Kirsty said: “Winning a silver medal is such a personal achievement. I entered WorldSkills UK lacking in confidence. Winning second place was so affirming and the experience as a whole was unforgettable. 

“This was my first ever competition and I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I put all my energy over the last few months into preparing ideas and designs, and practising techniques, whilst managing to juggle work and family commitments. 

“Thanks to a hugely supportive boss, the team at Fresh Ideas and my tutors, I managed to get through it all.”

Daniele Palacios, Vice Principal, Apprenticeships, The Sheffield College, said: “Congratulations to Kirsty on her WorldSkills UK success. Apprenticeships offer a great opportunity to earn as you learn and go further in a career.”

She explained: “Apprentices study a qualification at the same time as developing confidence, knowledge and skills in the workplace.”

Industry experts are involved in the design of the WorldSkills UK competitions which, this year, tested more than 60 different skills.

Students and apprentices studying a wide range of technical and vocational qualifications competed for gold, silver and bronze medals in WorldSkills UK. 

Competitors are assessed on their knowledge, skills and employability attributes. The floristry competition comprised five tasks, which were timed and judged.

Jo Biddle, Course Leader, Floristry, The Sheffield College, added: “This is a fantastic achievement for Kirsty and we are very proud of her success.” 

Jo trains the College’s floristry apprentices, as well as higher diploma and masters diploma students at The Floristry School in Sheffield.

Kirsty started an apprenticeship after achieving a first class degree in fine art.  She is completing a Level 2 qualification in floristry and plans to progress to a masters.

Kirsty explained: “Working in the fine art sector wasn’t for me, however my art practice always involved floral subject matter.

“I knew that I needed to do something hands-on. I have always learnt best that way. I saw an apprenticeship opportunity and jumped at the chance to do it; it was the perfect fit. 

“Floristry constantly surprises me. I never know what I will be making when I get to work and that is so exciting. 

“Every day is about innovative problem solving and creatively adapting, and I love it. I’ve got my eye on some competitions next year.”

The WorldSkills UK National Finals winners were announced on November 25th, 2022. The floristry competition was held at Barking and Dagenham College on November 16th and 17th, 2022. 

Visit www.sheffcol.ac.uk.

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