Flowering potential

Traralgon’s Kathleen Horton has blossomed into one of the country’s best up-and-coming florists.

Representing Victoria in the 2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition last week, the 22 year-old placed fourth in the floristry section.

The event is the nation’s largest trades and skills showcase and involves more than 500 competitors battling it out across 60 trades.

Kathleen took part in 16 hours of competition over three days, with all aspects of floristry design and skill tested.

She described WorldSkills as a “big stepping stone” and said her skill set and confidence had been boosted.

“Last week was the biggest opportunity of my lifetime, it’s not something I will be able to do again,” Kathleen said.

For Kathleen the competition also marked the beginning of the next chapter of her life.

Yesterday she relocated to St Kilda to start work at a Port Melbourne florist, which she will juggle with studying for her certificate four in floristry.

She said to progress her career she needed to move where the opportunities were.

“It’s all happening at the moment… life’s going to be a lot different now, but it’s super exciting,” Kathleen said.

“I’m so grateful for what I had here (in the Latrobe Valley) but I need to expand my skills.

“Right now is the perfect time to go the city, it opens up so many possibilities, but I will definitely come back and visit.”

Her word of advice to aspiring regional florists was to go for it and “never give up”.

“It’s harder having to travel to the city for classes, but all the hard work and the hours spent travelling pays off,” she said.