Horticulture industry faces chronic shortage of skilled workers


Jeffrey Lamrock first caught the landscaping bug as a student working for his grandfather’s company in 1980.

He loved it, stayed with it and made a career with Ernie’s Landscaping, before buying the Saint John-based company in 1994.

“If you like to create and build things, it’s very rewarding,” Lamrock said.

“From a maintenance standpoint, you take care of the gardens and lawns, and you can do your best to make things look as good as possible, and there’s a lot of self-righteousness.”

Reward, hard work

But landscape horticulture is a physically demanding job, and this, coinciding with the seasonal nature of the business, can be a disadvantage for people entering the workforce.

“It’s not difficult to attract young people, students who are motivated to do the job but not to enter the industry,” Lamrock said. “It’s not a springboard for a career path for them.

Kids love to explore, but we tend to shut it down as a society.– Jim Landry, Landscape New Brunswick

“It can be very rewarding, but it’s hard work, and students are looking for something more technological, something in these areas… good jobs that aren’t physically demanding.”

The horticulture industry is experiencing a chronic labor shortage, according to the Horticultural Trades Association, Landscape New Brunswick.

Jim Landry, executive director of the organization, said it has been the number one problem for his industry for about 15 years, and it’s getting worse.

Jeffrey Lamrock, president of Ernie’s Landscaping, says landscape horticulture is rewarding but physically demanding. (Ernie’s landscaping)

Landscaping has been a Red Seal trade for seven years. Certified workers can work in horticulture anywhere in Canada with a similar designation. There are several training programs in Atlantic Canada.

But not enough people are taking advantage, Landry said.

“There are some wonderful landscape horticultural programs out there, but they tend to be completed by people offshore, and it becomes a bit of an extended learning program as opposed to sitting students,” Landry said Monday. Fredericton Information Morning.

More outdoor games

Landry suspects that the problem stems from the fact that the children are not sufficiently exposed to the outdoors.

“The kids don’t have the exposure we were used to,” he said. “We’ve become quite urbanized, and that’s probably the root cause.

“Children disconnect from the ground and love to get dirty.… Children love to explore but we tend to shut it down as a society.”

Landry said landscaping isn’t the highest paying field, but many people find they enjoy the job once they try it.

“We can build things and give them access to things that would encourage this unstructured play, and dig into the ground and all that good stuff,” he said.

“Many schools, even in urban areas, have access to wooded areas. We could create nature trails, we could build outdoor playgrounds, we could help with community gardens and involve them in the culture. “

Landscape New Brunswick is planning a workshop on March 28 at the Fredericton Inn at 1315 Regent St.

It is intended for home and school associations and others interested in designing a natural playground and children’s enthusiasm for careers in horticulture.


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