Young Achiever 2015 Finalists

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A special day has been set aside for this year’s Young Achiever competition. The two finalists, Tom Ferguson from Southern Woods Nursery Canterbury, and Ben Jones from Lyndale Nurseries Auckland, will compete against each other on Friday 17th July at Growing Spectrum nursery in Kihikihi.

Tom Ferguson, 22, works in propagation and sales at Southern Woods Nursery. He has had a passion for horticulture from an early age, living in Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
Tom has been with Southern Woods working part-time from 2008 while finishing his education, graduating in 2014 with a Bachelor in Viticulture and Oenology from Lincoln University. His tertiary studies extended to experience in land and employment law, tax, budgeting and research plus practical qualifications in machinery operation and safety, chemical use and arboriculture. After a stint of working for a Marlborough winery, he realised his passion lay in horticulture and so in August 2014 he moved to a full time position with Southern Woods. Tom recognises that the nursery & garden industry faces a number of challenges, such as biosecurity, health and safety, urban sprawl, competition and succession planning. He is keen to add to his skill set while working at Southern Woods and to further his education through Primary ITO.

Ben Jones, 27, is Production Manager at Lyndale Nurseries Auckland. Ben was runner-up in the 2013 Young Achiever competition in Queenstown. Ben started his career in England and has a National Diploma in Arboriculture and Tree Care and BSc (Hons) degree in Sustainable Land Management. He worked part time with a local gardening/landscaping business, gathering valuable practical experience in arboriculture, tree law, contract management, plant knowledge and sustainable practices. He started work with Lyndale Nurseries in 2012 after immigrating to New Zealand with his wife. The spread of pests and diseases, skills shortage, climate change and the past global recession are all issues Ben recognises as having an impact on the nursery & garden industry. He plans to continue working at Lyndale Nurseries, to learn more of the industry and improve his own skills.

Tom and Ben will face a day of activities on the 17th July including an interview with the judges, a computer exercise and 6 practical activities. They will each present a 3 minute speech to a dinner audience in the evening.

Please show your support for these two and join us at the dinner – for details, please contact      



Tom Ferguson

Ben Jones