Employer and employee buy into education

Article from HortWest – September 2009

In today’s challenging business culture, many horticultural companies are considering how to create or maintain a leading edge in the industry.

Vista Landscape Services Ltd. is enrolling Danielle Dobson into the Level 1 Landscape Horticulture Apprenticeship Program, commencing September 28.

Kevin Slack, owner of Vista states, “We’ve always told our employees that education goes a long way; this really is the first step in their professional development.”

Dobson came to Vista with one year of landscaping experience, and has continued to work with the company for three years. She has shown a willingness to excel and aspires to eventually run a crew. Slack recognizes that he is likely to lose a reliable and enthusiastic employee by keeping them in general landscape duties; “Our company sees that a program like this will help to move an employee like Danielle into a supervisory role.”

He is happy to pay for her education, and is appreciative of the tax credits from the federal government offered to his company while he acts as the employer/ sponsor of an active apprentice. Although, Slack acknowledges that sending an employee to an educational program is often a hard sell for an employer; “Many of the horticulture programs in BC have had a difficult time in the last few years.”

Vista Landscape Services is striving to improve the standard of performance for their employees and use this standard to sell their services. Says Slack, “Education builds credibility with our customers, and I believe it enables us to win bids on new work.”