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Floristry graduate to compete for international glory

After taking home the gold in Queensland's WorldSkills Regional Championships, floristry graduate Ebony Yeomans is ready to represent the sunshine state at the WorldSkills Australia National Championships.

Held in Melbourne in August 2023, the WorldSkills Australia National Championships is Australia's most prestigious trade and skills showcase. It is held every two years and is the culmination of the WorldSkills regional competitions.

Ebony is confident about competing for national honours, thanks to the skills she developed during her Certificate III in Floristry (SFL30115) and while working at Brisbane florist Unveiling Poppy.

"While the state competition was full on and intense, I enjoyed the opportunity to use my skills and get creative, so I enjoyed it," Ebony said.

The national competition requires Ebony to create floral displays in a time-pressure environment, putting her floristry skills and ability to combine artistry and technical skills on display for assessment.

"We'll get blocks of time to complete things like a hand-tied bouquet, an arrangement in a base medium like foam, a pot or a vase, and a wired product as well as a mystery challenge, which we will find out on the day," she explained.

Working full-time as a florist, Ebony can't believe she's getting paid to create beautiful flower arrangements for her customers, particularly after working in aged care before becoming a florist.

"I originally wanted to be a nurse. However, I'd studied visual arts throughout school and still wanted to work creatively, which saw me enrol to study floristry."

While her floristry skills are being refined each day she works, she learnt floristry fundamentals from her TAFE Queensland teacher, Tammey White.

"Tammey taught me to select, package, transport and preserve flowers before turning them into amazing creations for special occasions while also helping me into my first floristry job."

"She also introduced me to Amy Gurling, Principal Florist at Unveiling Poppy who was looking for a florist, so I sent her an email, and I was invited to an interview," explains Ebony.

"I was then challenged with making a bouquet in front of my current boss, which she liked, so she asked me to trial during Mother's Day, and she liked what I created, and here I am."

Helping Ebony perfect her craft was the classroom's industry-standard facilities and equipment that allowed her to cut and arrange the flowers and greenery she'd selected into decorative displays.

From bouquets, wreaths and terrariums, Ebony used trimmers, shapers, wire, pins, floral tape and foam to create floral designs using various floristry techniques that got her employed and set her up to work as a florist and compete against the best from around the country.

Even though she has graduated, Tammey is still mentoring Ebony to help keep her skills sharp by giving her feedback on arrangements and challenging her to think of more creative ways to design arrangements.

"I use the skills she taught me at work every day, and it's wonderful to make unique floral creations for weddings and special events. I'm so fortunate to have found my dream career, and I can see myself starting my own floristry business one day."

Ebony also credits her teachers' industry talents, experience, and passion for giving her the confidence to go for gold by furthering her knowledge and skills.

"They genuinely care about the next generation of florists. Anyone contemplating a career in this field should definitely consider TAFE Queensland."

“It's such a great environment, and every time I went to class, I'd learn new techniques, test my skills and get great feedback from them, and it helped me so much,” she concluded.

Ebony is now looking forward to competing against the best from each state and territory WorldSkills Australia National Championships in Melbourne, hoping to make the national team to represent Australia at the International Competition in Lyon, France, in 2024.

The national competition is a three-day event where more than 500 young people drawn from 34 regions across Australia come together to vie for the title of WorldSkills Australia National Champion in their chosen trade.