Employers in the landscape and horticulture industry are increasingly worried about finding and holding onto quality, skilled workers. Faced with warnings of increased labour shortages and a widening skills gap, what are employers to do? Apprenticeship — that age-old worker-training model that pairs on-the-job training with classroom instruction — is the perfect solution to a problem that is not going away anytime soon.
Apprenticeship offers a myriad of benefits to employers. By investing in talent development through apprenticeship, you can grow your own talent and shape their skills and knowledge to meet the needs of your company. Signing up an apprentice can help secure that employee for your company throughout the four-year term of their apprenticeship program. They will become your core workforce who will share their skills with new apprentices, fill in skills gaps and become the future managers and leaders for your business.
How Does Apprenticeship Work?
A landscape horticulture apprenticeship includes both paid on-the-job work experience and in-school classroom training. As the employer-sponsor, you are responsible for the work experience portion of the training at your place of business and job sites. Your apprentice will work regular hours with you and attend classroom technical training at Red River College. Once all requirements have been successfully met, your apprentice becomes a certified journeyperson.
It’s easy to get started!
- Identify an employee. Your apprentice can be a new hire or existing employee who is interested in building a career in the landscape and horticulture industry. Those apprentices with a year or two of work experience prior to registering for technical training tend to be the most successful.
- Determine who will train your apprentice. Apprentices are typically trained by a certified journeyperson. However, if one is not available, as a qualified, experienced tradesperson in the landscape and horticulture industry you or one of your staff can become a designated trainer.
- Review your responsibilities. As an employer-sponsor, you will need to set up your online profile in AccessManitoba, allow your apprentice time away from work for classroom technical training, and track and submit apprentice hours.
- Register your apprentice. Complete the Apprenticeship Application and Agreement with your apprentice and submit it to Apprenticeship Manitoba.
Show me the money!
There are a number of provincial and federal grants, tax credits and other incentives available to employers who employee apprentices and to apprentices to help cover the cost of their education. Following is a brief description of the incentives currently available to you as an employer-sponsor. Please visit Apprenticeship Manitoba for more detail on these programs and those available to your apprentice.
- The Province of Manitoba subsidizes the cost of classroom training with no direct cost to you as the employer-sponsor.
- The Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit (AJCTC) is a non-refundable tax credit available to employers or sponsors who hire and train apprentices in certain skilled trades such as landscape horticulturist. This credit is equal to 10% of the eligible salaries and wages payable to eligible apprentices in respect of employment after May 1, 2006. The maximum credit an employer can claim is $2,000 per year for each eligible apprentice. If your business hires an eligible apprentice, you qualify to claim the credit.
- Manitoba Paid Work Experience Tax Credits (PWETC) provide incentives to employers who offer work experiences to qualified apprentices and recently certified journeypersons. Eligible trades include both Red Seal and non-Red-Seal trades, including landscape horticulturist. A 15% credit on wages and salaries to a maximum of $5,000 per apprentice per year is available for hiring apprentices through all levels of apprenticeship and for hiring journeypersons for the first two years. The rural and northern bonus for hiring Level 1 and 2 apprentices provides a total 20% credit on wages and salaries, with a cap of $5,000 per year per apprentice.
The in-class technical training for landscape horticulturists is completed in four blocks. The first three blocks are nine weeks long. The fourth one is eight weeks. Apprentices typically complete one block of in-class training per year.
Wondering if this is the right fit for your business?
Manitoba is home to a vibrant community of Landscape Horticulturist Journeypersons that have successfully completed the apprenticeship program. They own their own businesses, work in all sectors of the industry and employee their own apprentices. For obvious reasons, they are great supporters of the program and excited to talk about their experience as an apprentice, journeyman and employer. Connect with one or more these Red Seal Landscape Horticulturists on the MBNLA Professional Development committee; Stephanie Moskal, Guy Dowhy, Jaime Chavez, or Aaron Szuck, to learn how to grow your business with Apprenticeship.