September 7, 2022
GROWing the landscape profession
Landscape Ontario’s GROW New Entrant Training Program has been busy training job seekers in the horticulture profession through the spring and summer. The program prepares eligible participants for entry-level positions in the landscape and horticultural sector. The six-week training program includes four weeks of skills training followed by a paid two-week workplace trial intended to lead to ongoing employment.

The program is open to eligible participants in the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Waterloo and Wellington, and the Kawartha and Muskoka regions.

Under the 2022/23 Skills Development Fund, 67 students have graduated, bringing the total since 2020 to 277. We asked GROW students to share feedback on the program.

The GROW Program is an Employment Ontario program funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. Launched by Landscape Ontario in 2020, the program includes three components:

New Entrant Worker Training

Designed for individuals who wish to begin a career in landscape and horticulture.

Supervisory Training Program

Designed for current professionals who want to expand their potential with their current employer.

Employer of Choice

Designed for landscape and horticultural firms looking to recruit and retain the best possible team.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience?

“The wonderful physical work, fresh air, kindness and support from all staff.”
— Michelle

“It has been an exhilarating and liberating experience. I enjoyed the comprehensive learning experience. The application of the various concepts was helpful in obtaining a new skill set. I was able to build new stamina and resiliency by learning the handling of landscape equipment.”
— Ekta

“Being outside working with plants and dirt really confirmed that this is the direction for me to go in. Most importantly, I love the team-based activities/style of training. Everyone has taught me a lot and this style has allowed me to experience a typical day in the field, as close as it can be.”
— Sara

“I’ve met incredible people through the GROW program. I was surprised by how supportive and welcoming the staff have been. I feel like success in the industry is imminent with the resources I’ve been provided!”
— Josephine

What are your career goals?

“Become an environmental advocate.”
— Michelle

“I would like to set up a microsystems/permaculture venture. It will help promote healthy lifestyles and self-sufficient living.”
— Ekta

“I really enjoy learning about plants and how they work together in an environment. I’d like to deepen this knowledge with an apprenticeship program. One day, I’d like to lead a team of horticulturists and share my knowledge through teaching and outreach.”
— Sara

“Working with softscapes, native and pollinator gardens, and perhaps in the future some structural hardscaping.”
— DJ

“I am interested in furthering my horticultural education and gaining more industry experience through hands-on work in the field. Owning a business is my long-term goal.”
— Josephine


Interested in hiring entry-level staff?

Post your positions on the GROW New Entrant Job Bank!

Eligible employers receive:
• Exclusive access to program graduates seeking entry-level positions.
• Free company profile page.
• Unlimited entry-level job postings.

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