CULTIVATING A CAREER IN HUMAN RESOURCES

When Lucy Taylor left her job as an editor of law employment books little did she expect to be buying her own copies of them ten years on. For the mum-of-one a new career in human resources has seen her flourish and horticultural retailer company Thomson Bros (Esher) Ltd is harvesting the benefits. What’s more, she has just been named the Women and Work Production Horticulture Winner of the Year. Since 2006, the Lantra Women and Work programme has worked with over 1212 companies in England to support 3,250 women develop their skills and progress their careers in industries where women are under-represented. To celebrate the end of the 2010/2011 training programme, the nine top learners were recognised at the second annual Lantra Women and Work Awards, sponsored by VectorWorks Training, at Nailcote Hall, Warwickshire, on 30 March 2011. “Originally I trained as a bibliographer and it was following a poor experience of HR at the company where I edited law employment books that I decided I had more to offer when it came to human resources,” says 47-year-old Lucy. Lucy now works as a HR manager for leading horticultural retailer Thompson Bros (Esher) Ltd based in Surrey. The family-owned firm, which is more than 125 years old, trades as Garsons employing more than 200 staff across its two garden centres, two farm shops and the UK’s largest Pick Your Own farm. At the height of the growing season Lucy with her new team of two, has responsibility for all of them. But it’s been a ten-year journey to gain HR qualifications resulting in her recent Chartered status in the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), not to mention a degree in the History of Art and Art and Design from the University of Kingston. “When I was made redundant ten years ago from my job editing law employment books I decided I could offer something better when it came to human resources,” says Lucy. From that moment on Lucy set out to become an HR manager starting with a job as a training and HR co-ordinator at DIY store Focus. After three years at Focus Lucy moved to local charity the Princess Alice Hospice as an HR Assistant where she says she got a really good grounding in all aspects of HR. Having made the most of her experience at the hospice Lucy landed a job at Garsons four years ago and was the first proper dedicated HR officer for the company, which has been growing since 1871. “It was great coming here because I was able to introduce so many new things like a staff handbook, management coaching and gently embedding many other positive HR practices. “It’s a wonderful company to work for and has been very supportive of my own HR training,’” says Lucy, “in fact when I read a feature in the Horticulture Trade Association newsletter about an HR officer at a Stratford-Upon-Avon nursery I was inspired to get in touch with Lantra and find out about the Women and Work grant. “The company supported me and the grant enabled my training in CIPD professional assessment of competence route, which was a huge help to me towards achieving Chartered status. Achieving a professional qualification has directly impacted on my work because it helped me get a promotion at work and now I’m recruiting for a HR Assistant.” By her own admission Lucy is very driven but didn’t expect her first HR task when joining the company was to organise the annual staff tractor ride around the massive farm! “It’s an annual event and as well as some fun it gives all staff the chance to familiarise themselves with all the crops on the farm.” For Lucy her recent qualification is just the beginning. She is working towards a Gold Investors in People Standard, as currently the company has a Bronze. And she gearing up for yet more study, this time in advanced employment law – bringing her full circle with the books she once edited a decade ago. Lyndsay Bird, Lantra Women and Work Programme Manager said, “Lucy’s successes show just how far you can go when you challenge yourself and continuously develop your skills, which is exactly what this programme is designed to achieve. Her career is greatly boosted by her determination and no doubt this is just the beginning for her.” The Lantra Women and Work funding programme will commence in June 2011 (subject to contract). For more information and to register your interest visit www.lantra.co.uk/Women-and-Work. Follow Lantra on twitter at www.twitter.com/LantraSSC. ENDS ISSUED BY Lantra Press Office Samuel Zelmer-Jackson, PR Co-ordinator Tel: 02476 858 418 or email media@lantra.co.uk Follow Lantra on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LantraSSC CREDIT FOR PHOTO Lucy Taylor – Lantra’s Women and Work Production Horticulture Award 2010/11 NOTES TO EDITOR About Women and Work • The Women and Work: Sector Pathways Initiative is about raising skills and unlocking potential. The project aims to raise recruitment levels in sectors where women are under-represented; increasing earning potential and aiding career progression. The initiative is in response to recommendations by the Women and Work Commission’s report ‘Shaping a Fairer Future’ and receives government funding, matched by employer contributions. • Women and Work funding is available to those working in agriculture, aquaculture, environmental conservation, farriery, fencing, fisheries management, game and wildlife, horticulture, landscaping and sports turf, production horticulture, land-based engineering and trees and timber. • For more information: www.lantra.co.uk/womenandwork/ About Lantra • Lantra is the Sector Skills Council for land-based and environmental industries, working to ensure these businesses access the training, qualifications, skills and knowledge they need. • Lantra represents 17 industries: agricultural livestock and crops; animal care; animal technology; aquaculture; environmental conservation; equine; farriery; fencing; fisheries management; floristry; game and wildlife management; land-based engineering; horticulture, landscaping and sports turf; production horticulture; trees and timber and veterinary activities. • By working together with the sector, Lantra leads research on skills issues and business needs, sets national standards and develops qualifications to meet modern business needs and help businesses grow through skills. • For more information see www.lantra.co.uk.

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