June 7, 2024
New online portal hosts on-demand garden centre training
Landscape Ontario recently launched a new online training portal to help owners of landscape and horticulture businesses efficiently train and upskill new and returning staff.

LOtraining.ca is now home to a series of 13 free training modules designed specifically for the needs of independent garden centres.

Presented by Landscape Ontario’s Garden Sector Group in collaboration with Garden Centres Canada (a part of CNLA), the Introductory Horticultural Training series is facilitated by garden centre veteran Art Vanden Enden. The free series was developed with input from garden centre owners and staff, who participated in a series of live Zoom training webinars held in the spring of 2023.

Spring is a hectic time for garden centre owners, having to deal with hiring, receiving products and forecasting business. Training is often done on the fly, leading to a sink-or-swim scenario. The training series provides a convenient and cost-effective way for owners to align staff with essential product knowledge, work expectations and best practices that will not only improve the overall customer experience, but also support employee development.

Modules run 30 to 75 minutes and include a PDF version of the presentation used in each video, links to additional resources and a quiz at the end for self-testing. The portal keeps track of progress through the modules and access is gained simply by creating a login to the site.

Modules include: Introduction to Botany; Garden Centre Customer Service 101; Weather Conditions, Watering and Soils; Lawn Care and Understanding Fertilizers; Annual and Perennials; Shrubs and Evergreens; Trees; Vegetables, Herbs and Edibles; and Container Gardening and Houseplants.

Over 300 people from across Canada signed up to access the training modules, with each of the eight live webinars hosting 30 to 50 people.

LOtraining.ca, created by Landscape Ontario’s Workforce Development team, will continue to offer flexible training options to suit the needs of association members and industry professionals. Programs will be added to the platform in the coming months and will include new on-demand learning opportunities.

The Introductory Horticultural Training Series can be accessed at LOtraining.ca/intro-igc-2024.