October 31, 2016
By J. Alex Gibson
LO Eastern Ontario Apprenticeship

Alex GibsonOver the last few years, companies who were interested in the Apprenticeship Program faced a lot of misinformation and frustration. Whether it was dealing with the difficult registration process or not having an available in-class training institute, the effort to participate in the program seemed to outweigh the benefits. Over the past six months, Landscape Ontario has focused its efforts on increasing support and assistance for the Apprenticeship Program across the province. This energy has led to an increase in registrations and two new apprenticeship training institutes (Algonquin and Loyalist colleges), and a host of big and small companies who are re-energized with the program.

Our focus for apprenticeship is simple; to help anyone, company or individual, interested in participating in the program. We provide support and assistance — from the registration paperwork to the final exam. With our support, a number of financial incentives, and the training benefits of the program, it’s no surprise more and more employers are taking time to invest in their staff and their company through apprenticeship.

What is apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship, offered through the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (formally the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities) in conjunction with the Ontario College of Trades, is a training and skills development program for your employees. The program is a mix of 20 per cent in-class training and 80 per cent on-the-job work experience. Employee apprentices work with your company trainers to complete the required on-the-job competencies log book for the program. The two in-class training sessions are offered at five colleges across the province and are approximately 12-weeks in length (usually January through to first week of April). The apprenticeship takes approximately three to four years to obtain all program requirements, and apprentices who complete these requirements and successfully pass their final exam will gain a Red Seal designation which is recognized across Canada.

Registration support from LO

Registration has never been easier for LO members. Our apprenticeship team will work with any company or person in the province interested in participating with the program; providing support and assistance from start to finish. As of Aug. 1, we have had a 100 per cent success rate with all applications submitted to the Ministry (who have also shortened wait times). We provide the following services:
  • On-location Apprenticeship Program information and registration sessions
  • Application paperwork review
  • Administrative reminders (financial incentives, in-class training, etc.)
Members in LO’s eastern region (Ottawa and Upper Canada chapters) are able to access the Apprenticeship Group Sponsor Pilot Program. Through this pilot, employers register with LO and we then provide the administrative piece of the program on their behalf (registering new apprentices, ensuring in-class training offers, Ontario College of Trade dues collection, etc.). Companies who have joined this pilot over the last six months have commented on the ease and simplicity of accessing the apprenticeship program.

What does it cost?

The Apprenticeship Program, by comparison, is one of the most cost-effective training tools available for employers and employees.

Employer costs
  •  Time and effort; ensuring apprentices complete their training log books.
  •  Allowing the apprentice to attend school in the winter months (once a year for two terms).
  •  Wages to apprentice while in school if employed year round. Wages not required if employee is seasonal.

Employer rewards
  •  $1,000 completion bonus for each apprentice that passes the final exam.
  •  A potential $2,000 tax credit per year for a registered apprentice.
  •  A workforce with a recognized designation.

Apprentice costs
  •  While in the program, an annual Ontario College of Trades Membership fee of $67.80.
  •  In-class training session, approximately $650 per term. (The Ontario Government pays the other 80 per cent of the tuition).

Apprentice rewards
  •  $4,000 in financial incentive grants throughout the program.
  •  Potential access to EI benefits while in school for qualifying candidates.
  •  Access to Apprentice Program Loans (Federal and Provincial).
  •  A Canada-wide recognized Red Seal Designation upon completion.

View "What does it cost?" as a graphic.
For information or to register for the Apprenticeship Program visit horticulturetechnician.ca, contact Alex Gibson at 613-809-5093 or apprenticeship@landscapeontario.com.