Are you interested in landscape design or sustainable food production?
Now you can start preparing for a career in horticulture while still in high school.
The Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District (SD42), in partnership with Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), is now offering a Youth in Trades Horticulture Level 1 Apprenticeship program.
“With some of the largest horticulture operations and renowned golf courses in the Lower Mainland – comprising in excess of 1,000 acres in the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows region – offering a first-year apprenticeship program in horticulture seemed like a natural fit,” said Brad Dingler, SD42’s Secondary School Apprenticeship and Trades Co-ordinator. “There has been no shortage of applicants.”
After completing Level 2 of the horticulture technical training program, students can choose to advance their studies by selecting a more specialized apprenticeship stream at KPU including the Red Seal Landscape Horticulturist of Production Horticulturist Apprenticeship programs.
Students can also pursue a diploma or bachelor’s degree in urban ecosystems and plant health.
“So they can either stay in the apprenticeship stream or they can choose to go into the academic stream,” said Kwantlen School of Horticulture instructor Betty Cunnin, who co-ordinates the apprenticeship program. “The students I’ve spoken to say they learned a lot and can’t wait to come back. They are really excited about plants, and the importance of plants in their lives. Students learn about the science of horticulture. They get a better understanding of the relationships between soil, water and plant health.”
In terms of future careers, Cunnin says many of the students are interested food production, and landscape design.
“There’s a huge shortage of skilled labour in the production and landscape sectors. A lot of apprentices are interested in food security issues and are looking at learning to grow food, whether with organic or conventional growing practices.”
Students attend this program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Langley Campus in February and March for six weeks during their Grade 12 year. During the program, students also have the option of working with a horticulture employer from mid-April to June.
SD42 empowers students to discover their unique learning paths by offering more than 30 specialized programs of choice, from International Baccalaureate and sports academies to trades and technology. Download our Programs of Choice booklet.