Blooming Marvellous Career Change for Vanessa

After 15 years of working as an optical consultant, Vanessa Plews felt it was time for a change – she wanted something completely different, and thanks to East Durham College, she got it.

Vanessa, 37 from Hunwick in County Durham, decided to make the change and train to become a florist after coming along to East Durham College for a short course.

“I tried the six-week short course in floristry at East Durham College to see if I liked it, and fell in love with it. I then went on to take a full City and Guilds Level 2 in Floristry.”

Floristry employers generally look for either a Level 2 or Level 3 qualification in floristry when scouting for potential employees, so Vanessa’s course put her in a good position to pursue a career in the floristry industry.

Vanessa now works at Flowers by Natrass in Darlington, where she’s putting the skills she learned on her floristry course with East Durham College to good use.

“My career allows me to be creative every day.” says Vanessa, “Floristry is one of the few jobs where you see people both on their best days of their life – for example, when they are planning a wedding – and at their lowest, say organising the funeral of a loved one.

“It’s an emotional rollercoaster, but it’s always rewarding because people are so grateful for the flowers and arrangements.

“I love translating their vision into reality and then seeing how happy they are with the result.”

Floristry is a career that is centred around creativity and bringing flowers to life as attractive arrangements, but Vanessa is also keen to let others interested in the industry that it’s not just putting flowers together in patterns – there’s plenty of hard graft involved too.

“I love floristry, but it’s not quite as glamorous as people might think! It involves lifting heavy buckets of water and boxes of flowers, and because flowers must be kept cold to stay fresh, being cold, wet and dirty is part of the job.”

If you’re interested in a career change and getting into floristry, or are a young person considering floristry to study at college, you can learn more about East Durham College’s range of floristry courses by clicking this link.