Dig into NIC horticulture

Turn your love of gardening into a career with NIC’s new Landscape Horticulture programs starting this February.

Whether you want to work toward your Interprovincial (Red Seal) in Vancouver Island’s only Level 1 apprenticeship training in landscape horticulture, or grow your hobby, you can train while you work this winter and graduate in May, just in time for peak gardening season.

The Landscape Horticulture Apprenticeship Training – Level 1 Enhanced program is designed for people employed at landscape companies, municipal parks, golf courses, garden centres, nurseries, and other related horticulture businesses. Study Industry Training Authority-approved curriculum developed by the horticulture industry, while learning the skills to work industry-wide. Courses are offered evenings and weekends in horticulture equipment, plant ID, plant science, plant health, understanding soil, and maintenance skills. NIC’s enriched curriculum also includes landscape maintenance and design, giving you extra skills attractive to employers.  Up until now, students starting an apprenticeship program have had to go to the mainland to get their training. “Having a part-time apprenticeship program on the Island is a wonderful opportunity for those who want to study horticulture locally”, says Anne Kadwell , CEO of HortEducation BC. “It makes it much more affordable and means that they do not have to be away from work or family.”

The program gives local landscape companies and apprentices access to industry-recognized skills close to home.

“Landscape Horticulture became a Red Seal Trade in Canada in 2008 and now has provincial certification in BC,” says Jim Pelton, Director of Training Delivery at the Industry Training Authority. “Horticulture apprenticeship links learning and employment: participants complete four levels of technical training at an educational institution while accumulating work-based training hours with a sponsor. Apprenticeship benefits the apprentice, the local business sponsor, industry and the community.”

Not sure you want to go the apprenticeship route? NIC also offers a part-time Landscape Horticulture Fundamentals certificate this winter.

“We wanted to provide an option for the recreational gardener who wants to increase their knowledge or turn a hobby into a career,” says Cheryl O’Connell, NIC’s Dean of the School of Continuing Education and Training. ”This program is also a good starting point for someone who wants to test the waters before going onto further, or more specialized horticulture training.”

Three free information sessions will be held at NIC’s Comox Valley campus for prospective employers and students:

  • Learn How to Sponsor a Landscape Horticulture Apprentice with HortEducation BC (for employers).
  • Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2:30-4:30 pm at the NIC’s Trades Training Centre, Rm. 101.
  • Landscape Horticulture Programs Information Session (for prospective students & apprentices).

Registration required, see to sign up.

  • Saturday, Nov. 24, 4-5:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 6, 6:30-8 p.m.

Contact Julia Peters at 250-923-9724 or for further information or visit

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