June 15, 2011
Certification evaluations are coming in July.
Certification evaluations are coming in July.
By Mike Lunau CLP, CHT

The question I hear most often is, “What is the value of certification?”

The majority of business owners are concerned with knowing where the direct monetary value lies in becoming certified, and more importantly, in having their employees certified.  

For the owner of the company I work for (Eden Gardenworks of London), and for myself as operations manager, the answer was never one of direct dollar value. The decision to become certified as a CLP and CHT stemmed from my continued commitment toward education and professionalism, which began as a student in the Landscape Technician Program at Niagara College.

Certification recognizes and rewards an employee’s education and training in a way that is easily and universally recognizable across North America. A shared concern among many employers is, “Once I pay for my employee to get certified, what is to stop him from walking out the door with my investment?”

Employers shouldn’t allow that fear to stand in the way of certifying employees, because employers should be dedicated to advancing their employees’ skills and knowledge. A corporate culture encouraging the continual evolution and improvement of employees ensures staff members remain engaged and challenged.

The culture at our company has always been committed to education. I have had the opportunity to attend many conferences, seminars and trade shows offered by Landscape Ontario and PLANET throughout Ontario and the U.S. I believe it was those experiences, along with my education at Niagara College and extensive field experience, which helped me to successfully complete both certifications on my first attempt. By continuing to attend those conferences and seminars, my continuing education points (CEU) accumulated quickly.

However, the most rewarding way I have found to achieve continued education credits is through volunteer work.

Over the past year-and-a-half I have become involved with the certification committee. This incredible group of people is responsible for administering all of the certification testing, in addition to diligently working to promote and improve the program. It has provided me with a wealth of opportunities to meet members of the industry from all areas of the province.

The value of conversations I’ve had during my attendance at the courses is immeasurable. My personal career development and the abundance of opportunities that have presented themselves through my involvement in the committee have vastly exceeded my expectations.

I initially became certified as a way to formally define my experience and qualifications. It is a way to identify myself immediately as a professional in an industry where it is often very difficult to do so. Certification is just one of the many tools our company uses to convey to prospective clients that we are educated, experienced and dedicated to our work. I truly believe that certification will soon reach a critical mass in the minds of consumers, and it is our responsibility to ensure that these increasingly elevated demands are met. Are you prepared?

The next Landscape Industry Certified testing is at the LO home office on July 21 - July 22. For more information, contact Rachel Cerelli at rachelc@landscapeontario.com.