October 15, 2017

By Rachel Cerelli
LO Education and Labour Development Program Coordinator

Rachel CerelliOver the next month or so, Landscape Ontario’s Horticulture Apprenticeship team of Alex Gibson and I have a goal to ensure every available seat in the Horticulture Technician Apprenticeship Program across the five campuses in Ontario is filled. The landscape and horticulture profession needs to take advantage of this spectacular opportunity provided by the Ministry of Advanced Learning and Education Development and Ontario College of Trades.

The Apprenticeship Program consists of 20 per cent in-class training, from January through March for two years. It is not mandatory for the two years to be consecutive. The remaining 80 per cent of training takes place on-the-job, while working with an employer. A bonus for apprentices is that most are eligible to receive EI while completing the in-class portion in winter. Apprentices essentially earn while they learn and employers get better employee retention, a more skilled workforce and access to tax credits and incentives.

There are a number of benefits, for both employees and employers who participate in the Apprenticeship Program.

Employer benefits

Due to the seasonality of the profession, many employers find it hard to keep staff all year round. Keeping and attracting new, talented labour is the largest issue facing the landscape and horticulture professions. Employers who participate in the program see an increase in employee retention, and furthermore, those employees as a result have higher skills, are more efficient, are more satisfied on the job, plus the employer gets access to tax credits.


Employee benefits

Employees enrolled in the program benefit from knowing their employer is committed to investing in their development which means a more stable job and a less unstable future. Apprentices gain confidence honing their new skills and as mentioned, most are eligible to receive EI during the off season months while they attend school. Subsidies can also be applied for to cover child care and travel costs. Apprentices also receive completion grants up to $4,000.

Whether you are relatively new to the profession or a seasoned veteran, there is room for all levels of experience in the program. Each year, classes are filled with apprentices from various sectors of all ages and skill levels. If you would like more information on the program, or help with the registration process, Alex and I are available to answer your questions and help you complete the application process. Classes start in January, so register today.

Share your story

Are you a past or current apprentice? Are you an employer who has taken advantage of the many benefits of the Apprenticeship Program? We want to share your experiences with the Apprenticeship Program in future issues of Landscape Ontario magazine. Others can benefit from your experience. Let us know when are where you stated, how the Apprenticeship Program benefited you, and how it has helped you to get to where you are today.

To apply or share your story, contact Rachel Cerelli at 1-800-265-5656, ext. 2354 or rachel@landscapeontario.com
or Alex Gibson at 613-809-5093, jagibson@landscapeontario.com.