Sandie Griffith awarded at BFA Gala Dinner - British Florist Association

Sandie Griffith awarded at BFA Gala Dinner

Sandie Griffith was awarded an ‘Outstanding Service to Floristry Award’.

‘Outstanding Service to Floristry Award’ is for those that have worked tirelessly for the industry and have achieved great success in underpinning the future by their work in training and education to maintain and improve skills in floristry, and to inspire the next generation. Awarded and sponsored by Grant McGowan from ‘ The Paper Studio’

Grant said

‘Sandie started in the Floristry Business with her husband Bryan in 1975 with their first shop in Crowthorne.  She came from a non-floristry background but quickly applied herself to learning all the aspects of running a florist shop.   When they bought Jemini Flowers in Oxford in 1984, with three shops and 25 staff, training was always a priority.  Her encouragement of her staff led to three Gold Medals and Chelsea Cups together with many finalists at Interflora Florist of the Year.

She was co-opted onto the Interflora Education Committee and her interest and passion for Training took off.  She Chaired the Industry Training Organisation for Floristry and moved on to Chair the Lantra Floristry Group and sat on the Board of Lantra.

She was invited to join the BFA Board to take over the Training and Education Committee which she chairs. The group represents all sectors of the floristry industry, comprising representatives from employers, tutors, City & Guilds, Lantra, and the UK Floristry Judges Guild.   She is very well respected by all because they recognise that what she seeks to achieve is for the greater good of the industry.

Sandie approaches all she takes on with enthusiasm and a drive for the highest standards.  She wants to benchmark against the best and urges striving for continual improvement.

In mentioning the bench I should tell you that she was for many years a magistrate in Oxford and woe betide any defendant, (or policeman or solicitor) who tried to pull the wool over her eyes.

Sandie constantly promotes excellence and world class standards across the industry. She wants consumers to understand that we do not work in just a retail environment and that it’s a tough, challenging, even sometimes exhausting business, and that skilled florists are in fact a very rare breed.  She strives to promote floristry as a profession, encouraging the public to recognise the skills, qualifications, expertise, and experience of the individual florist and to make people realise that being a florist is a challenging career and is not just about “playing with flowers”.

In this regard she was instrumental in Floristry not being subsumed within an overall Retail category but recognised as requiring a degree of technical skill which needed considerable specialised training.  Can you imagine a florist being treated as just another shop assistant?  That was no mean achievement in the face of ignorance and lack of understanding.  A lesser person would have just been steamrollered into accepting their fate.

Sandie was successful in a bid to lead the development of the Trailblazer Apprenticeship that would represent the needs of the industry now and for the future. As Lead Employer, Sandie brought together a core team of training providers, City & Guilds, Lantra, and a wide pool of floristry employers to pledge their support and help draft the new standard. Backed by industry experts they created and simplified apprenticeship standards, written by employers for employers to make them more relevant to working in a flower business.

Sandie has made sure that the BFA Training & Education Group is highly regarded by the national awarding bodies.  Because of this, the group is often approached to provide their perspective in shaping new qualification standards.

Sandie is heavily involved in organising floristry competitions, especially WorldSkills, working closely with the UK Floristry Judges Guild.  WorldSkills is a global movement of over 80 countries where Apprenticeships and technical education are promoted as prestigious career routes.  It supports young people across the world via competitions-based training, assessment and benchmarking, with members’ national teams ultimately testing their ability to achieve world-class standards in the biennial “Skills Olympics”. The insights gained from training as part of this global network is yet another way of raising the industry standards.  Sandie maintains that preparing for a competition refines your skills and techniques, helps you focus on the fundamentals of design, and raises your aspirations to offer something quite unique.

Sandie, you have supported and inspired so many people.  We would like you to accept this award as a token of the esteem in which you are held.  Ladies and gentlemen – Sandie Griffith  – for Outstanding Service to Floristry.

Sandie wrote

”Not often do words fail me but….

What a wonderful honour to receive this award and I just feel I have to say thankyou first to Grant from Paper Studio for considering me to receive this  and for the amazing reactions from the floor at the British Florist Association Industry Awards evening and on social media.  Anyone who knows me is aware that my love of our Industry is what drives me and the desire to make the public aware of the skill, passion, and professionalism of our Florists. 

I could not have involved myself over the years in so many committees and Boards without the support of our staff who worked with us over the years until we retired and sold Jemini Oxford, many who have sent me some very lovely messages to my post and  also of course to my long-suffering husband Bryan and my lovely family who have often had to take second place to ‘Mum’s committees’.

I have had the privilege of working alongside many dedicated tutors, fellow directors, UKFG Judges and meeting and helping our new generations of trainee florists achieve their dreams.

Looking now at the beautiful bouquet that Kate Whelan made for me, (under difficult circumstances as I kept popping up whilst they were trying to keep this ‘a big secret’ ) and I am thinking that this bouquet says it all “skill, creativity and professionally designed bespoke floristry which you cannot get from a packing house or supermarket – only from a professional florist”

And just for the record I am not retiring yet – I am still continuing in my role as BFA Chair of Education and Training”.

Get the latest updates delivered directly to your Inbox!