January 15, 2011
By Michael Pascoe CLT,
Fanshawe College

In the late 1990s I joined Fanshawe College’s landscape design program as a full-time faculty member direct from industry. I was surprised to see at the time that we had a very weak connection with the industry that we were trying to serve. I had assumed that there was a seamless integration of industry needs and wants with that of educational institutions. After all, we provided a product (skilled individuals) to a customer (the landscape industry).

Today that relationship has changed dramatically. We count the industry as a full partner in all our horticulture and landscape educational programming. We listen and try to respond to an ever-changing market of growth and demand.

I have been tasked by Landscape Ontario to chair an advisory panel to review LO’s role and interaction with education, focusing on delivery methods to secondary and post-secondary students. This will include the educational aspects that affect primary, secondary and post secondary programs (including apprenticeship) within the province of Ontario.

In a separate review, Richard Rogers from the Ottawa chapter will look at the professional courses and training offered by Landscape Ontario. Industry certification may be considered by both review panels, as we see it as an industry directed educational improvement with the possibility of integration into the public school/college/university curriculum.

Open forum

This article is an open forum asking for your input into this industry and educational institution relationship. It is a chance for you to tell us what we are doing right, and what you would like to see improved. We need to hear what you feel Landscape Ontario’s relationship should be with us, going forward over the next five years. I have distilled the review down to two principal questions:

If you are an industry individual, or an educator, what do you believe your/our role within the landscape/horticultural sector should be?

What would you like to see future Landscape Ontario involvement include in regard to education and partnerships within these educational institutions (over five years)?

However, do not feel restrained by these two questions, as all your comments are valued. There is renewed growth and interest in horticulture from both the public and students. As a green industry, we see our program over-subscribed and a bulletin board full of career opportunities.

Landscape Ontario’s Green for Life campaign sells this to the student, the consumer and industry; we are the green industry. In the next few years, we expect our programming at Fanshawe to grow even more, thus moving more qualified individuals into our industry. We want to give you want you want: skilled, practical individuals with the skills to grow your business green for life! But, we must hear from you in order for that to happen.

I may be reached at mpascoe@fanshawec.ca, by fax at 519-452-4226, or via telephone at 519-452-4430, ext. 4323. I would also like to explore with those of us from academic institutions, about what we believe our role within the landscape/horticultural sector should be.
Michael Pascoe is the Coordinator-Horticulture Technician Program at Fanshawe College and a member of Landscape Ontario.