Meet our management trainee - Adrian Smith

Meet our management trainee -  Adrian Smith

Welcome to the team, Adrian Smith, who recently joined the team as a management trainee. Adrian, like Charlotte, will work at different sites within the business and learn about how each site runs.

1) Have you had any previous experience in horticulture?

I have spent the last 20 years in various nurseries/garden centres starting as a nursery assistant, then as assistant manager and finally as a nursery manager involved in the production of plant stock to sell within the nursery.

2) Did you study anywhere?

I haven't studied horticulture other than gaining an HTA Diploma in Garden Retail which allowed me to utilise what I learnt within the retail environment of horticulture I have come from. But carrying out the job I have for the time I have done it within different places has enabled me to learn so much.

3) Where did you previously work?

I started my career in horticulture after being made redundant from the Post Office. My first placement in horticulture was a year in a garden centre as a plant area assistant. Then came an opportunity to work within a retail nursery where I spent ten years and learnt a lot about growing, not just selling plants, and widened my plant knowledge considerably. During that time, I also set up my own garden design business along with a friend and would carry this out on my days off. After ten years, the company I worked for had to be sold, so I moved on to be an assistant manager in a garden centre for a couple of years, then had the opportunity to become a growing manager back at the nursery I started at after being taken over. I was then given the opportunity to become a nursery manager at a garden centre near Rutland Water, where I was able to grow many varieties of plants to sell within the shop.

4) What will your training at Johnsons involve?

While carrying out the management course, I will have to spend so many weeks within each department of Johnsons to enable me to understand a little of how the whole business works. This will go on for a period of 2 years, and some departments will go back for a second time. During this time, I have to complete sections of a file of work. I have to show what I have learnt about each particular job every few weeks.

I will have meetings with my mentor Rob along with the particular manager of each department to discuss how I am getting on and any concerns I may have.

5) What have you enjoyed so far?

Having just spent five weeks at Roecliffe, I have been allowed to learn a variety of things that are done within the company, which has made it enjoyable. I also spent a day at Newlands with my partner Charlotte, learning Tractor and Dumper Truck driving. We had a great day with Martin teaching us despite him constantly getting my name wrong. Ha ha. Plus, it fell on the same day that we had 'Burger Day', so it was a good day all around.

6. What are you looking forward to in your new role?

I am hoping to gradually gain more confidence in my own abilities as I struggle to have self-belief in what I can do. Also, as both my partner and I are very interested in the propagation and growing plants, we hope that in time we will be able to use what experience we have in this field to get the business to look into more of this if the opportunity arose.

7. What do you think the challenges will be?

Having come from a smaller retail growing environment, I think for me the challenges will be working for such a large wholesale company with many different departments and separate locations that work in a completely different way than I am used to. Along with this, getting to know so many different people each time I move onto a new department and hope that they will be able to work with me. It's always a big challenge moving to a new job, but also moving to a new area and working in a field I am not used to can sometimes become a little overwhelming.

8. Tell us a random fact about yourself?

In between my roles within horticulture, I took on a role within the Ambulance Service as an Emergency Care Assistant for a short time. This was quite a challenging job but one which I am glad I had a go at despite the stresses. In the end, Horticulture came calling again, and I went back to looking after plants rather than people.

9. Do you have any hobbies?

I haven't done any since moving to Yorkshire, but I have done various half and full marathons and find running a great activity for clearing the mind. I also like to do quite a bit of hill walking and, in the past, have done the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

Posted 5th Dec 1:02pm