KATE Richards has just started up her own florists after completing an apprenticeship.

The 20-year-old has spent five years in floristry after approaching the Dutch Nurseries in Haxby.

Having previously trained as a hairdresser, Kate decided it wasn’t for her. She was attracted to floristry and called all the florists in the Yellow Pages, until she found someone to take her on.

The Dutch Nurseries took her on part-time and offered her an apprenticeship, studying at Askham Bryan College to get her NVQ Level Two in floristry.

She said: “Working in the industry as well as going to college was a big help. I learnt so much and had some brilliant mentors.

“I loved the business, but then my boss retired and the business was sold. I always said if I left there I would do it on my own rather than work for anyone else.”

And she did. With help from her father, Philip Richards, a business consultant, and financial support from the Whyte Knight Business Fund, Kate opened Kate’s Flowers, in Moorcroft Road, Woodthorpe, York, on Saturday.

“I thought I have got to give it a go. It’s worth it,” she said.

She will do flowers for all occasions, big and small.

“Your customers should get the wow factor whether they’re spending £15 or £150,” she said.

Kate said she hopes one day to be in a position to take on her own apprentice.

“I have done it myself and come out the other end and started my own business.

“I would love to train somebody up. It’s a really good opportunity for people to do apprenticeships, especially in floristry, which is one of those jobs that if you love it, it’s something you enjoy for life.”

The Press, in association with City of York Council and the National Apprenticeships Service has launched the York Apprenticeship Challenge to encourage businesses to create 100 apprenticeship opportunities in 100 days.

To support the campaign, or search for an apprenticeship, visit apprenticeships.org.uk or phone 08000 150 600.