June 15, 2014
By Sally Harvey CLT, CLP
Manager Education and Labour Development

Sally HarveyApprenticeship training is a great opportunity to educate your employees, build their pride. And, if that isn’t enough of a benefit, the provincial government pays 85 per cent of program’s cost.

As the season progresses, employers and supervisors will identify the shining stars on their crews. You should consider how to retain these great workers who have the potential to produce profits with the appropriate training.

The apprenticeship program subsidizes training of staff members who wish to become Landscape Horticulturists. It is truly a gift to employees who want to achieve this competency based designation that is recognized across Canada. There is no other program in Ontario that subsidizes training to this level and that provides training during the winter months to align with the needs of the industry.

The process for apprenticeship registration has changed in Ontario. Apprenticeship in Ontario is now a partnership between the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) and Ontario College of Trades (College).

A defined description of a landscape horticulturist, says, “Landscape horticulturists survey and assess landscape, draw sketches and interpret plans. They construct and maintain gardens, parks, golf courses and other landscape environments. In addition, they advise clients on issues related to horticulture and landscape construction. Landscape horticulturists also propagate, cultivate and study plants, and treat injured and diseased trees and plants. They are employed by landscape designers, architects and contractors, lawn service and tree care establishments, recreation facilities, golf courses, parks, nurseries, greenhouses, and municipal, provincial and federal governments. They may also be self-employed.

Landscape horticulturists work with machinery and equipment ranging from simple hand tools to heavy equipment. They may be responsible for the routine maintenance of tools and equipment. Landscape horticulturists also work with a variety of chemicals such as pesticides, fertilizers and fuels and must be aware of their safe use and government regulations.

Some landscape horticulturists specialize in areas such as landscape design, construction and maintenance, and greenhouse, sod and nursery production. They may work independently or with other professionals such as architects, engineers and municipal planners.

An apprenticeship candidate must complete an application form, submit Grade 12 transcripts, be a resident of Ontario, and employed in the horticultural sector. Employers should register their promising employees in the apprenticeship program now. The candidate and employer contact their local MTCU Apprenticeship Office to sign a Registered Training Agreement (RTA) with MTCU.

For a full listing of the offices go to http://gfl.me/x28x.

Representative from the MTCU may meet with you, or send you an online RTA application to complete and submit. The MTCU will ensure that the employer has the ability to train and educate the employee, and that the employee will make a serious commitment to the program.

Once the application is submitted, encourage your apprentice to check the mail for a membership package from the Ontario College of Trades, which should be received within two weeks of signing the RTA.

Remind your apprentice to complete, sign and submit the membership application form and associated payment of $67.80 to OCOT. If they neglect to complete the OCOT membership, they will not be offered a seat in the in-school training session.

To verify the membership, check the public registry to verify the status of your apprentice as an active member of the Ontario College of Trades – Find a Member at www.collegeoftrades.ca. Once this is completed, a college that offers the program nearest to the apprentice, who should contact him offering a seat in the in-school training session, which is typically in the fall months. A seat in the in-school training is not confirmed until the $600 tuition fee has been paid in full to the college and a receipt provided.

Once the candidate is enrolled into the program, the candidate commits to the following:
  1. Training with the employers for 4,000 to 6,000 hours
  2. Completing a 12-week in-school training session at a community college
  3. Completing a 12-week (advanced) in-school training session at a community college
  4. Completing a skills sign-off Training Standard Book of required skills
Colleges in Ontario offering programs include Fanshawe College, Humber College, Loyalist College, Mohawk College and the University of Guelph Campus at Kemptville.

After registration and the successful completion of the on-the-job training and the classroom training Level 1 and 2, the candidate is granted a Certificate of Apprenticeship. The apprentice is then able to write the government exam involving a multiple-choice system of 125 questions.

The passing mark is 70 per cent and the successful candidate obtains a Certificate of Qualification as a Red Seal certified journey person.

Employers win as they gain back their more skilled and experienced apprentices after the in-school training and are also eligible to apply for the Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit. For more information about employer incentives go to www.horttrades.com/employees.

Apprentices qualify for incentives, such as the Apprentice Incentive Grant that is claimed after each training period for $1,000, and then the completion grant provides $2,000 upon completion of the C of Q exam. New this year is the apprentice loan that enables an apprentice to borrow up to $4,000 interest-free per in-school training period.

Apprenticeship makes sense! Get registered now!

I welcome your comments.
Contact Sally Harvey at sharvey@landscapeontario.com