As part of our ongoing mission to inspire and encourage people into working within our fantastic industry, we have carried out a series of interviews to show what a career in horticulture can look like. We went to Walberton & Binsted Nurseries in West Sussex and met Marc Jones, their Managing Director, and we asked him to answer a few questions for us.
How did you get started?
It all really started when I went on a school summer placement over 2 weeks for the economic forestry group which was a large nursery. They gave me an insight into the whole business as an impressionable 14 year old, and one of the managers told me how he got into the industry and that was through Writtle college doing courses there. I thought that was a pretty good starting point.
What was your first job?
I had a bit of a gap year after college and travelled, got some life experience, worked in a cardboard factory and did some stints at Anglia alpines with a focus on herbs. I then moved on to working with tomatoes in the new forest for a period.
What happens on an average day here as general manager?
There isn’t an average day in this particular position in life, the role is partly strategic looking ahead at future development, crops and investment. But too often you will deal with things coming out of left field and supporting the management team which is the biggest part of it, trying to build a team that is capable and able to do their jobs effectively. A lot of meetings and a lot of walking around giving advice. I try and get out of the office as often as I can but it’s never enough. There are days when you are attached to a computer but the walk around the site is light relief but also great to absorb what’s going on.
What would you say is the best part of your job?
I love just watching good products grow and get put out the door. Although I am not directly involved and hands on, everyone is technically involved in that process and seeing that happen makes me very proud.
Whats the most challenging part?
Its juggling those demands that come out of left field. Lots of problem solving, and that’s what makes it so interesting.
What would you say your biggest work achievement has been so far?
Getting to this position was something I had aspirations to try and do, the industry as we know it hasn’t got a lot of opportunities at higher management level so it was something I didn’t think I would ever quite get to do. I enjoy developing the business, building new glasshouses, but seeing people flourish is the other part as well.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Seeing the businesses grow, we want to be market leading within the industry, the place people want to come and work with. I have been the general manager here for 5 years, on the nursery for 20 years from dispatch manager to operational management to here. So understanding a lot of the background has been key and its gone very quickly which I think it a testament to how enjoyable it’s been.