This month’s Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) Magazine will feature a section on retail staff who have just received their HTA Diploma in Gardening Retail, including our wonderfully dedicated Christine and Simon! Christine spent her childhood working on the family farm during the holidays, before spending 13 years there growing continental salad vegetables and Simon completed a Biology degree at the University of Manchester. Shaun was their mentor throughout the process, guiding them through the course and holding regular meetings to follow their progress. The course covers all aspects of running a garden centre across 12 modules, with topics ranging from how to manage a team effectively, to product knowledge and the use and production of promotional material. Both members of staff joined us in late 2009 and started working on their diploma a year later. Simon says that he has gained a much deeper understanding of all aspects of the garden centre helping him to become more aware of the bigger picture and his role within it. We hope that this continued investment in our talented staff will help us to achieve our goal of becoming the premier garden centre in the North West!