Joanne Haynes trained as a florist at Plumpton College in East Sussex. Only a few years after qualifying, she bought the floristry business where she had done her apprenticeship.

"I am a trained aromatherapist, but three-and-a-half years ago I decided that I wanted to change my career. After doing some research I enrolled on an NVQ floristry course at Plumpton College. That involved working at a florist, Ladybird Flowers in Eastbourne, for four days a week, with the fifth day spent in college. The apprenticeship confirmed for me that this was exactly the career I was looking for.

"When the chance arose I bought Ladybird Flowers, which is now a flourishing business. We cover all aspects of floristry including contract, wedding and funeral work. There is always a lot to do and it can be hard at times, but floristry is a lovely industry to work in and I enjoy every minute of it.

"Having done work-based learning myself I understand what the benefits are, so I’m making sure that the four members of staff I employ all trained at, or are training at Plumpton College.

“I found that learning at college while getting experience at work was a successful mix for training. You learn about all areas of the industry, and then put it into practice. I’ll definitely keep adding apprentices to my workforce!"