February 14, 2014
By Sally Harvey CLT, CLP
Manager Education and Labour Development

Sally HarveyAnother very successful Congress trade show and conference is behind us. I have received countless communications asking for similar presentations that were made by our expert speakers, and requests for what to consider next on the road to professional development. Presentations are now posted for your access at www.horttrades.com/cp2014.

For those seeking more, the good news is that we have more to offer you. We encourage industry members to continue the journey on the road to prosperity through professional development opportunities. For information about this winter’s seminars that will benefit you, your staff, your businesses and careers, go to www.horttrades.com/seminars. We encourage you to keep the learning going and building your network with like-minded people.

In addition, many of our partner organizations will post continuous learning opportunities on e-news each week. To stay tuned about that and other important LO news, make sure you contact Angela Lindsay at alindsay@landscapeontario.com, to receive at absolutely no cost our e-news and the electronic version of Landscape Ontario magazine. I always find it such a pity, when I am out and about and I hear that many staff members are not receiving these free resources. In my mind, the more your staff knows and are aware, the more professional your staff will be. Remember, they are the ones who are dealing with your clients. They need to be informed.

I suggest that every employer have every staff member connected to these two resources, to ensure that they too remain relevant with news and opportunities. Submit e-mail addresses for your entire team.

Landscape Industry Certification written tests will be offered throughout the winter months and the year. Designations available are Certified Landscape Technician (Turf Maintenance/Ornamental Maintenance, Hardscape Installation/Softscape Installation, Interior Landscaping, and Lawn Care), Certified Landscape Manager and Certified Landscape Designer. For more information about these designations, go to www.horttrades.com/certification.

Tests are scheduled for the winter and early spring months at St. Clair College in Windsor, Fanshawe College in London, Canada Blooms at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto and the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown College, near Chatham.

If you want help in your preparation for any of these designation tests by attending seminars, go to www.horttrades.com/seminars to see which preparation seminar will support you best.

In addition, LO partners with the Irrigation Association (IA) and supports its irrigation certifications. In return, the IA acknowledges Landscape Ontario members and allows our members to register for all IA designations at discounted prices. To check them out, go to www.irrigation.org.    

Here is a listing of the available designations: Certified Irrigation Contractor (CIC), Certified Irrigation Designer (CID), Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor (CLIA), Certified Golf Irrigation Auditor (CGIA), Certified Landscape Water Manager (CLWM), Certified Agricultural Irrigation Specialist (CAIS) and Certified Irrigation Technician (CIT).

For employers who are aiming to increase profits through improved competency and safety, I highly recommend that you attend and/or send your supervisors and trainers to the On-the-Job Training Seminars scheduled this winter in Ontario.

Offered as a train-the-trainer workshop, the method is designed to focus on how most adults learn: On-the-Job. The workshops are simple in design, practical to use and provide employers with a safe and standardized approach to training. By improving how we train, we increase the quality, speed and efficiency of your efforts. Seminars occur over 1.5 days of total training time and introduce the easiest and most effective methods for training. Many companies have bought into the OJT way and are seeing the benefits.

Many employers use the winter season to re-energize themselves and their business processes. May I remind you that LO developed an HR Toolkit available to all in the industry ready for download at www.horttrades.com/hrtoolkit?

Check it out and use it to improve your internal HR strategies that if followed, will support improved recruitment and retention of good employees. You can download it all or just sections, edit as you wish, then cut and paste, add them on your letterhead and use the guidelines to support you in the development of your employee handbook and policy and procedure manual. Note, we update this tool every year for you, and this year is no different. Our HR consultant has worked tirelessly to ensure it captures the legislative changes and updates.

In closing, I had the opportunity to attend a very informative Conference Board of Canada Conference in Toronto last November that was focused on post-secondary education and training in Canada. In fact, The Conference Board of Canada is developing a Centre for Skills and Post-Secondary Education (SPSE). It will be a major five-year initiative that will examine the advanced skills and education challenges facing Canada today.

While education is a provincial government responsibility, improving the skills and post-secondary education system is a national priority. It will be accomplished through broad collaboration of public and private sector stakeholders. The SPSE will address Canada’s advanced skills needs by helping to renew the roles, structure, activities and impact of the post-secondary education system.

Canada is not suffering from a labour shortage, but rather a skilled labour gap. Our present systems are not training people to support the economy of today or tomorrow. It was interesting to note too that Canadian employers spend less on training than employers from other countries in the developed world, and that our government spends more on training than any other country in the developed world.

The conference presented perspectives from all over the world. There is an increased focus on training opportunities beyond colleges and universities, such as apprenticeship and certifications that can provide relevant skills to the economy. I am confident that Landscape Ontario and the industry are well positioned to support this direction and our members going forward.
Contact Sally Harvey at sharvey@landscapeontario.com