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Horticulture Technician Pre-Apprenticeship Program For Women

Program Code: COWD 101

Credential: Certificate of Achievement

Program Length: 26 weeks

Start Date:

Please note that the program is now FULL and applications have closed.

Click here to learn more about the Skills For Change Horticulture Technician Program (delivered in partnership with Humber College) that is currently accepting applications for Spring 2021.


The Horticultural Technician Pre-Apprenticeship Program at Humber College is a tuition-free program funded by the Government of Canada that is designed as a transition step for women seeking an apprenticeship in the horticultural trades.

This program prepares women who have a keen interest in the skilled trades for employment in the landscape sector and provides both academic and practical training. It stresses practical skills through applied study at our on-site construction laboratory and greenhouse, as well as the Humber Arboretum.

The program includes a paid work placement of 8 to 12 weeks.

Program Benefits

  • Academic Upgrading
  • Level 1 Apprenticeship training for the trade of Horticultural Technician in Ontario
  • Employment preparation training
  • Paid work placement in the landscape industry
  • All textbooks, safety training, small tool kit, and safety equipment are included - free of charge

Facilities & Equipment

Humber College has some of the best facilities for delivery of this type of education. The Humber Arboretum is a 250-acre botanical garden that surrounds the campus and includes ornamental gardens, woodland gardens, wildlife gardens, and ecologically diverse environments centred on the west branch of the Humber River. The Arboretum serves as a unique ‘living classroom’ for plant studies, construction, arboriculture and horticultural skills. Our new construction lab is housed in a weather protected 8000 square foot facility that allows construction of full-scale structures such as decks, gazebos, retaining walls, and water features.

Your Career

According to Statistics Canada, the popularity of landscaping activities has resulted in the booming lawn and garden industry. Earn a living with your green thumb and construction skills in a wide range of growth industries such as landscape, horticulture, construction, maintenance, irrigation, lighting and lawn care. This program will help to address the skill shortages in the industry in the GTA and particularly help women to prepare for the opportunities in the sector with the upcoming projects.

Work Placement

Participants will complement their formal training program with a 8-12 week paid work placement in the industry. This will be accomplished through a combination of student input and support from a dedicated Job Developer who will work with you.


This is a thorough study of ornamental plants commonly used in the landscape industry in Ontario. Students are required to learn proper nomenclature, individual and group plant characteristics and cultural requirements, and potential landscape use through studies in the classroom and in the Humber Arboretum.

This course deals with plant pest and disorder identification covering a variety of plant material categories (both woody and herbaceous), utilizing plant health care and integrated pest management principles. Control measure selection to reflect current legislation, application methods and equipment selection, treatment preparation, equipment calibration, treatment application, equipment maintenance, materials disposal, and record keeping are all integral components of this course. On successful completion, the students may choose to write the Ontario Provincial Pesticide Exterminator licensing examination.

This course presents basic maintenance practices required for turf grass care in Ontario. Turf grass identification, fertilizing procedures, quality monitoring, and record keeping are important components. Also, detailed turf mowing practices, including equipment selection, calibration, and usage, are covered. Integrated pest management (IPM) techniques, according to government legal requirements, will be introduced.

This is an introductory course in plant biology. Soils and the plant-soil relationship, the structure and function of the main plant organs, the impact of environmental change on plant growth and health, the assessment of soil and soilless media quality for optimal plant growth, the determination of nutrient deficiencies, and complete transplanting procedures for woody and herbaceous plants are all course components.

This practical course exposes students to the handling and installation of modular precast concrete landscape paving and wall units and landscape timber wall components according to pertinent safety legislation and safe workplace practices and municipal standards and codes. The selection, care and use of the required tools, materials identification and selection, sub-grade and base preparation and installation procedures are all completed in an outdoor lab environment.

This practical course presents scheduled and non-scheduled maintenance procedures for powered equipment typically used in the landscape industry. On completion, students will describe and demonstrate basic scheduled, preventative and on-going maintenance procedures for powered horticultural equipment according to respective federal, provincial and municipal legal requirements and current safety procedures.

Job site safety is the main theme throughout this course. Students are presented with the requirements of all governing legislation and regulations, including the use of all mandatory personal protection equipment. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic control, the impact of environmental extremes and emergency remedial actions are all included areas of study.

Garden and grounds maintenance procedures are the main components of this course. The on-site storage, installation and care of annuals, perennials, groundcovers and woody nursery stock are also covered in detail. The care of the required tools and equipment and recycling/disposal methods are also included.

Basic land surveying and measuring procedures employed in the landscape industry are introduced. This includes all aspects of site interpretation, measurement and layout. Mathematic methods and calculations typically used in the industry, in both systems of measurement, are studied in detail. The use of appropriate survey and measuring equipment is practised outdoors and in laboratory classes.

Today, proper, safe job performance depends heavily on accurate, concise and clear job-site communications. This course helps students improve their oral, written, hand and listening communication skills so they may function more effectively as part of a job crew/team. Problem solving, personal development and taking responsibility are also topics of discussion.

Admission Requirements

Eligibility and Program Requirements

  • Low-income women seeking a career path in the trades.
  • Write an assessment test facilitated by Humber College.
  • Attend an interview (by invite only, based on assessment results).

Academic Requirements

  • Minimum Requirement: Grade 12 equivalency demonstrated via High School transcripts. To learn about accommodations or exceptions to this requirement, please contact the Project Manager (contact details listed below)
  • Must be eligible to work in Canada and obtain an Ontario apprenticeship.

Program Contact

For general enquiries, email:

Please note: This program is full. Please check back in January 2022 for further updates.