IoPF Training and Qualifications

Starting out in Floristry? Unsure of where it can get you? Here is a brief summary of the route your career could take

College Based Route

‘College based’ training is often the first route that a student will take to becoming a florist.
There are currently around 100 UK colleges offering floristry courses, These vary from specialist ‘land-based’ horticultural colleges with purpose built training facilities; to general further education colleges without special facilities; some colleges offer courses at ‘out-centres’ such as community centres.

The range of floristry courses and study options available is complex and it is important to seek advice when selecting an appropriate course. (See the Qualifications Table for information about courses that may be suitable).

The main decision to make is whether to study full-time or part-time.

•    Full time study is ideal for school leavers who wish to improve their employment prospects and gain a wide range of floristry skills. Full-time routes are also ideal for mature students seeking a change of career as they are able to gain a wide range of skills in a short period and are then well placed to enter the industry at intermediate level. Full-time courses also exist for students wishing to undertake a more academic study route, e.g. Higher Education, although some prior industry experience is normally an essential entry requirement. ‘Full-time’ attendance can range from 3-5 days per week plus home study, depending on the course & college, and a number of land-based colleges offer hostel accommodation for students studying away from home. Many ‘full-time’ courses also include a period of ‘work experience’. Full time courses offer training in a wide range of skills but it is recommended that students seeking to study full-time gain as much work experience as possible to enable them to put their skills into practise, and build up their commercial awareness.

•    Part-time study is more widely available than full-time, especially at non-specialist colleges. It is often possible to find the same course offered both full and part-time by different colleges. Where this is the case students should consider which option best meets their needs, for example: Does the part-time course cover the training in as much depth? Does the full-time course offer enough flexibility? – If you choose a part-time course it may take longer to develop the same range of floristry skills & you should try to gain part-time employment alongside your studies. (It is not realistic to expect to master the skills a florist needs without significant practice and commercial experience.)

•    Once you have gained basic floristry skills and qualifications you should consider taking follow-on courses to develop more advanced skills and training. Part-time courses are ideal for this as they enable you to work and study at the same time.

•    Some employers can be wary of taking on florists who are ‘college trained’. This is partly because these florists can the lack commercial experience and speed required when they first start a job, and often need further training to fit into the shop. However, in the longer term college training offers advantages both to the employer and employee due to the range of skills and underpinning knowledge the florist gains from college training. Some business owners are understandably wary of employing students completing ‘advanced’ courses, as these florists could become competitors in the future. However, there is a significant skills gap in the industry at advanced level and good employment opportunities do exist.

Work Based Route

Apprenticeship Training is intended for those candidates who are already employed in a floristry business. Training typically takes 2-3 years and is based on completion of the NVQ2 / NVQ3 floristry awards, plus key skills and a technical certificate.

Apprenticeship training can be tailored to suit the needs of the individual trainee and combines work-based training together with formal assessments and building a portfolio of evidence. In all cases the candidate’s training is overseen by a college or approved training provider who visits the candidate in their workplace on a regular basis. Some colleges / training providers also provide their apprentices with ‘off the job’ training to supplement the skills developed in the workplace.

Apprenticeships are Government funded and are normally available free to the candidate and the employer. A useful resouce is KEITS.

Floristry Qualifications

Level 1

Certificate in Land based studies – Floristry route. (CF) 

*Please note that the above list focuses on the qualifications that are most widely available and recognised by the floristry industry. Other qualifications are available.

Level 2

National Certificate in Floristry (NCF)  
First Diploma in Floristry
NVQ2 Floristry & Key Skills

Level 3

Advanced National Certificate in Floristry
(ANCF)  National Diploma in Floristry
(Also National Certificate / National Award at level 2/3)  
NVQ3 Floristry & Key Skills & Technical Certificate

Level 4

Intermediate Certificate Society of Floristry (Society of Floristry) (ICSF)*  
Higher Diploma in Floristry (HDF)  
Foundation DegreeHND HNC  
NVQ4 Floristry Business Management

Level 5

National Diploma Society of Floristry (Society of Floristry) (NDSF)*
Master Diploma in Professional Floristry (C&G/NPTC) (MDPF) Degree

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