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TAFE Queensland florist takes out National WorldSkills gold award

TAFE Queensland student and florist Isabella Matthews recently took home the gold medal after competing in the WorldSkills Australia National championship, the country's biggest vocational education and training competition.

On her way to winning the top gong in the floristry category, Isabella studied a Certificate III in Floristry (SFL30115) with TAFE Queensland, preparing for the competition, juggling her study commitments with her full-time job at Brisbane florist Roses Only.

"While the competition was quite full on, quite intense, it was also exciting and fun. I enjoyed the opportunity to get creative, and I'm very competitive, so I enjoyed it," she said.

"When it was all over, I was confident in what I had done; I left knowing I did my best and that I had nothing left to give. I'm so proud of the pieces I made."

The competition required Isabella to create the fragrant and beautiful floral displays that she learnt throughout her apprenticeship in a time pressure environment. She was assessed on her floristry skills and ability to combine artistry and technical skills.

Working as a florist full time, Isabella cannot believe she gets paid to spend her days creating beautiful flower arrangements for weddings and the loved ones of her customers.

Isabella said that whilst many skills get finessed on the job, the basics that came from her TAFE Queensland training have stuck with her.

"The teachers at TAFE taught me how to select flowers, package them, transport them and unpack them at the other end and preserve them."

"I use these skills at work every day, and they enable me to make unique floral creations for weddings, events and personalised bouquet arrangements, as well as help people to spoil their loved ones on Mother's day and Valentine's day.

"I feel fortunate to have found not only my dream career but also a fantastic employer who genuinely cares about their staff and customers."

Isabella credits her teachers' industry talents, experience, and passion for helping her win the gold and furthering her knowledge, skills, and qualifications – setting her on a career path for success.

"They genuinely care about the next generation of florists. Anyone contemplating a career in this field should consider TAFE Queensland first and foremost. It's such a great environment, and I learnt so much."

"Every time I came to class, I'd learn new techniques, test my skills and get great feedback from them. It helped me improve so much that I'm now working in the career of my dreams and a WorldSkills Gold Medal winner – it's unbelievable!"