Ask McQueens: Which is Best, Floristry College or Short Course?

Answering today’s Ask McQueens query is Selina Kerley, junior florist and social media assistant at McQueens. Having changed course after a 5-year career in SEO and marketing, Selina is just the person to ask about the best options available if you’re looking to re-train and fulfil your dream of becoming a florist!

Dear McQueens, I’m in my late-twenties and hoping to re-train as a florist (I’m currently a studio manager for a small graphic design company). Having looked at all the available options, short courses, college course and work experience, I’m a little confused about what to do and was wondering if you could help. What is the best (and ideally, quickest) way to become a professional florist? 

Rebecca, London


Dear Rebecca,

I hear you! Not that long ago I was asking myself the same thing and eventually decided to enrol in a combined level 2-3 floristry course at a local college. Asides from a love for flowers and a knack for making shop-bought blooms look good in a vase, I didn’t have loads of experience, so it was important for me to learn in an environment where I could start from scratch and gradually progress to more complex designs. The two-day a week schedule also meant that I could work part-time and not rely too much on my savings while I studied.

Learning at college has proved an excellent way to build a solid foundation of floristry knowledge across all areas of the industry, from hand-ties, sympathy and wedding designs, to learning how to run a business and promote yourself. It is, however, a significant time commitment and not necessarily the fastest way to get a foot in the door — although being qualified can help. It wasn’t until I began working as a florist and gaining some real, hands-on experience that I really began to flourish and feel confident in my skills. After all, working in a real life environment is quite different to the relative comfort of the classroom!

During my studies, I was very fortunate to land a role at McQueens and in my time here I have become very familiar with the McQueens Flower School, witnessing the impressive quality, scale and craftsmanship of the creations produced by the students here every week. The four-week vocational course is unrivalled in quality, and a three-month work experience programme is available for those who complete it (an invaluable opportunity for anyone wanting to refine their newly-learned skills).

Therefore, if you’re looking to gain some floristry skills quickly, then a short course could be ideal. If you’re happy to invest more time, however, a college course may be perfect. No course, however, will turn you into a fully-fledged florist overnight and this is where work experience is so important. Most of the pros I’ve met began helping out at their local florist on a Saturday and never looked back! Whatever choice you make, just make sure it’s the right one for you because ultimately, it’s your hard work and determination, rather than qualifications, that will lead to your success. Good luck!

Selina, McQueens

Do you have a flower-related query you’d like us to answer? Email for the opportunity to have a hand-selected McQueens florist answer your question.

Selina Kerley, florist and online content coordinator at McQueens
Selina Kerley, florist and social media assistant at McQueens