January 15, 2015
A dedicated group of nursery professionals from across Canada took part in an all-day session to share their expertise for the development of a National Occupational Standard (NOS) for the nursery sector.  

The NOS is the authoritative resource on occupational information in Canada. It is used daily by thousands of people to understand the jobs found throughout Canada’s labour market.

This facilitated session was an important first step towards the development of a certified nursery worker program, as part of the Landscape Industry Certified suite of programs which currently exist for the landscape construction, landscape maintenance, design and retail garden centre sectors of the industry.

With financial support from Human Resource and Skills Development Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program, the objective of the nursery worker certification project is to develop the required training and testing programs to ensure a minimum standard of competency required by nursery technicians in today’s complex production sector.   

The group set out to determine the level of worker skill most needed by the nursery sector. It was generally accepted that the largest skill gap within the sector was to find nursery workers in the low-to-middle management area, as low skill tasks are adequately met through the sector’s access to the offshore worker program.

The standard-setting day was held on Dec. 11 in British Columbia under the guidance of Kwantlen College’s Bruce McTavish and HortEducation BC’s program manager Annika Kristensen.

Ontario members taking part in the session, included Rob Albrecht of John’s Nurseries, in Waterloo; Adam Kobes, of Kobes Nurseries, Bowmanville; and Nick Winkelmolen, of Winkelmolen Nurseries, Lynden.