Peter Thorburn

Honeysuckle Nursery


As the owner of a number of garden centres in the Sydney area, the development of my staff is of absolute paramount importance. When my young apprentice Jack Hutchinson heard about the BBM Global Industry Scholarship for Horticulture, I was more than happy to support his application and give him the necessary time off work so he could go and develop his skills overseas.

Jack returned a different person, both personally and professionally.

During his time abroad, he’d met with leading horticulturalists and worked in some of the best gardens in the world, including competing in the Chelsea Flower Show. He’d always been conscientious but before his award he didn’t really know what he wanted in life. Upon his return, he was absolutely committed to horticulture and developed new skills overseas which made him invaluable in the business – so much so I quickly promoted him to assistant manager.

Horticulture has an ageing population and we need more young people to not only get involved, but lead the way into improving horticultural practices and growing the industry. I find Jack’s contributions invaluable to helping me decide the next thing for the garden centre, and then I can lean on him to help make it a reality.

We can all say that it’s important for young people to take up these opportunities, but what we really need is employers that understand that giving young people these opportunities is paramount for business growth – it may be short term pain letting them have time away from the business, but you will be rewarded may times over with a loyal young employee with new skills and drive they are keen to use in your business as they grow their career.

I would encourage all business owners with young staff and apprentices to keep their ear to the ground for opportunities like the BBM Global Industry Scholarship for Horticulture – you will find yourself with a completely different employee when they return.


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