October 15, 2010
By Sally Harvey CLT, CLP
Education and Labour Development Department

Sally HarveyThe fall season means that it is time to register your employees for apprenticeship program. The training is available this year at Fanshawe College, Humber College, Kemptville College, and hopefully at Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. Training typically occurs over the winter months, which is perfect for most landscape firms. The Landscape Horticulturist Apprenticeship became the 50th Red Seal trade in the 50th year of the apprenticeship program (2009). The Red Seal designation brings many advantages:
  • Work experience reinforced with technical training
  • Improved competency and confidence within your staff  
  • Achievement of credentials upon successful completion of the Certificate of Qualification exam
  • Journeypersons are 26.5 per cent more productive
  • Marketing opportunities announcing that you have a Certified Journeyperson on staff
  • Mentorship culture is developed within the workplace
  • Training grants for the apprentice
  • Completion grants for the apprentice
  • Training tax credits for the sponsoring employer

In order to qualify for the apprenticeship program, one must have a grade 12 certificate or equivalent and have sponsorship by an industry-related employer. The program’s duration is two 12-week terms in school. It takes approximately 5,400 workplace hours to complete the Apprentice Training Standard. The employer/trainer sign-off of each skill training objective, that was established by the industry, are essential to become a skilled Landscape Horticulturist.

If you are interested in registering your employees for the apprenticeship program, go to www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/tcu/employmentontario/training to learn more from the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU). You may then complete and submit the pre-registration form to your local MTCU office as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Any questions on the program, contact Sally Harvey at

Shortage of skilled workers

Dan Clost, a double graduate in agriculture and horticulture from the University of Guelph, has been professionally involved in the green industry for over 20 years. A supervisor at Connon Nurseries CBV Trenton, Clost volunteers as a member of LO’s Education Committee, and president of LO’s Upper Canada Chapter Board. He provided the following to me:

“The word green is exceptionally popular with governments, educational institutions and, of course, us. In spite of economic downturns, our industry has experienced positive growth. With innovative entrepreneurs, new directions for businesses to explore are constantly emerging. In short, we are an attractive trade.

“However, for a variety of reasons, we are suffering from a shortage of skilled workers who look at horticulture as a career and not just a summer job.

“One approach, and perhaps the best method for us, is to get the message out to those potential employees. This means that we actively engage personnel at the educational institutions and other government, or local boards, developing partnerships with them. We need to become assertive in promoting our industry’s needs by speaking to students, participating in work fairs, hosting tours, or whatever it takes to get our message out. In short, we need to get involved.”

Education seminars

Congress and seminar guides are available this month. Plan your education and training journey for next year in order to ensure that you achieve your training goals. The seminars feature dynamic industry speakers who will share their expertise and insights within each of the Prosperity Partners pillars of success: Financial Health, Professional Operations, Sales Success, Leadership, Customers for Life and Technical Education. For more information on Prosperity Partners, go to www.horttrades.com/prosperity.
Contact Sally Harvey should you have any questions at sharvey@landscapontario.com.