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Pro Landscaper Editorial | Phil Jones CEO | The Young, The Brave, The Powerful

21 Jan 22

Phil Jones' involvement in Pro Landscaper's 30 under 30 : The Next Generation Reunion at Futurescape inspired him to highlight the importance of up-and-comers to continue to succeed

I was thrilled to be asked by Pro Landscaper to be part of an inspirational panel for the first ever 30 under 30 : The Next Generation Reunion at Futurescape 2021. 

And what an inspirational session it was, but not in the way I had first envisaged when I agreed to participate.  The normal ‘talk at’ session from the panel, very quickly became a ‘learn from’ exercise from the gathered audience, or more accurately an intergenerational exchange of ideas, knowledge and thoughts between those with a number of industry years under their belts and ‘the next generation’, who will carry on our legacy.

If this exchange highlighted one thing, it was that we need much more of this kind of networking and openness.  I would like to think there is an opportunity here to continue this dialogue amongst all those in our industry who seek to provide the best possible pathway to success and sharing of knowledge with those who will become the future of landscaping.  Equally, we the industry should be taking note of what our emerging talent have to say. 

Spotting our future leaders can be challenging, and as such the 30 under 30 competition allows for these individuals to be clearly identifiable, albeit this group are not exclusively those who will shine bright in the future. 

As an established presence in the industry, I am always tempted to advise our up-and-coming stars on how to choose the best company to work for and the business that will help them the most to develop their careers; often losing sight of the fact that many young people these days have a desire to actually start their own businesses.

Highlighting this increasing trend in entrepreneurship, there seemed to be a high proportion of 2021 30 under 30 winners who are already running their own businesses.  Not only is this a driver for economic growth but will help spark new trends and ideas and drive new technologies contributing to the future proofing of our industry. 
However, the needs of these new business founders is very different from those in employed roles.  Here, career advice should make way for support and guidance in such matters as the principles and skills of starting and running a successful business in landscaping.

Whilst, during the Futurescape session I advocated bravery from those who attended, I also would further suggest we, as employers and supporters, also need to be brave in ensuring we afford the best possible assistance to these people who will shape the future of our industry. This could be through support and mentoring as well as a commitment to ‘find a place’ for the right people within our organisations.

Starting a business or getting onto the next rung of the career ladder can be daunting at the best of times. The current environment can make things harder still. I would therefore suggest that those who have won the 30 under 30 award have already had success in their career and have demonstrated they have the necessary skills and aptitude to succeed. I would encourage them to be brave and to take advantage of the power they have in forging ahead, grasping this industry by the scruff of the neck and taking it to the next level.

Those of us who care passionately about the industry will stand ready to respond to that bravery and to assist in any way we can. And we will accept that we may learn a thing or two along the way.

Published in Pro Landscaper January 2022 Issue (Page 23)
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