Three products of Challenger Institute of Technology’s floristry training have individually claimed the biggest Australian prizes in the industry.
Annita Bokobli of Hilton, Bettina Van Dijk of Hillarys and Zoe Knox of Albany were recently awarded the Interflora Australia Cup, Smithers Oasis Designz Cup and Wildflowers Australia’s National Category One prize respectively.
For Annita, a lecturer at Challenger for seven years and former student, the award was the culmination of years of perfecting her craft, while for Zoe her regular journeys from Albany to classes at Challenger’s Murdoch campus have been fully vindicated.
“Floristry is something I am passionate about and really more than just a job to me,” said Annita.
“I see competitive floristry as a way that floral designers can further develop and enhance their skills and I now love to pass these skills on to the students I teach,” she said.
The other major prize awarded at the Interflora competition was the Florist of the Future title, which went to former Challenger student Erin Lamb of Yangebup.
Bettina was announced as the National Champion for the Smithers Oasis Designz Cup for 2014, presented at the Perth Royal Show.
Zoe, who now works as a full-time florist, emerged as the winner in her competition from among 83 competitors, scoring highly in all four categories, including theme interpretation, design, component selection and construction.
“I like to describe myself as an all-rounder, meaning I can achieve all styles and disciplines well, but I would say my strength in floristry is in the use of form, texture and colour,” said Zoe, who is about to undertake the Certificate IV in Floristry at Challenger.
“This competition held particular interest for me, as I work a great deal in retail with native wildflowers and highly value their very unique form and find them a pleasure to work with,” she said.
Zoe was particularly complimentary of Challenger’s flexible course delivery that allowed her to complete her qualification in blocks while still living and working in Albany.
Annita said Challenger’s training standards were evident in the success of past and present students and staff.
“For a number of years now our students have been winning the Florist of the Future award and another of our floristry lecturers, 2007 Australia Cup winner Clement Lee, is now training to become an Interflora national judge.”
Challenger offers Certificate II-IV training that caters for those entering the industry to professionals managing their own business. The Advanced Floristry Refresher two-day short course is offered to experienced florists interested in developing more advanced construction techniques.
PHOTO CAPTION: Challenger student Zoe Knox, winner of the Wildflowers Australia’s National Category One prize.