December 11, 2020
Brent Wursten learns from others in the profession
Wursten recently finished his second year in the Horticultural Technician program at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ont. — an apprenticeship program that combines in-class learning with on-the-job training.
“I like the program at Mohawk because the teachers are professionals, and most work in or own a business, and they know all the tricks of the trade. They are more than happy to pass on their knowledge,” Wursten says.
Wursten also learns a lot from his dad, who used to be a carpenter. “He enjoys building things, and I would help him every once in a while, whether it be hammering nails or whatever the job entailed. I always enjoyed seeing projects come together as a whole,” Wursten explains. “I credit my dad for teaching me most of what I know about landscaping and construction.”
Wurstens’ dad eventually started his own landscaping business. “I respect anyone who owns their own landscaping business, as there is a lot of stress and work behind the scenes,” Wursten says. “I would help him every once in a while, while still going to high school, so I started working with him right after I finished.”
“I credit my dad for teaching me most of what I know about landscaping and construction.”
— Brent Wursten
Wursten now has three years experience in the profession despite his high school not having any landscape or horticulture program. “The closest course that I took was construction, which helped grow my basic knowledge of building things,” he says.
Now, Wursten is focused on accumulating the on-the-job hours required in order to complete the apprenticeship program and write the Red Seal Exam — an interprovincial standard recognized across Canada. He feels obtaining the designation will demonstrate his commitment to learning and his passion for what he does.
His long-term goal is to own his own business. “What makes a good leader in my opinion is that they have to be very strong mentally. They have to be able to make tough decisions, listen to other people’s ideas and options. They should be working just as hard, if not harder than the rest of the company. In general, they have to be really good in dealing with people,” Wursten says.
Looking back on the impact of Covid-19 on businesses and society in 2020, Wursten says, “It has shown me that plans and routines can change so suddenly, and we as people, but also companies, have to be ready for these things so we can still put food on the table, and a roof over our heads.”
In 2020, Wursten was awarded a $600 Apprenticeship scholarship from the Ontario Horticultural Trades Foundation.. “It has helped with paying for the tuition and it will get my name out there,” he says. “If I own my own business, I can use the scholarship as a company boost.”
Outside of landscaping, Wursten continues his love of the outdoors through participating in many sporting activities, including: snowboarding, basketball, volleyball, and baseball. Wursten says the common theme with sports and landscaping is trust. “You trust your teammates on the court, but you also trust your colleagues to do their part of the job correctly. Another one is teamwork. We have to all work together to make sure the job gets done efficiently and accurately.”