December 15, 2014
Kemptville College has been an important training facility since the early 1900s; in 1997, it was designated as a campus of the University of Guelph. However, the financially pressured university recently announced it could no longer support programming at Kemptville, threatening an end to horticulture training in eastern Ontario.

A community-based task force is working to continue post-secondary education on the campus, and engaged McSweeney & Associates to prepare a report outlining a renewal plan.
The Kemptville College Renewal Task Force welcomed the resulting report, tabled at North Grenville Council at the end of October.

The Task Force is in full agreement with the report’s findings that program delivery has to be completely re-thought. Programs need to be highly experiential and modular in design, resulting in the ability to meet the employer needs and attract a broader student population, while at the same time enhancing classroom experience. Landscape Ontario’s Manager of Education and Labour Development Sally Harvey CLP, CLT, is a member of the Task Force.

The Task Force encourages everyone to take the time to review it and call upon the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Hon. Jeff Leal, to implement the report’s recommendations.

Campus stewardship will be through a not for profit corporation formed by the Municipality of North Grenville, positioning itself as the owner/manager of the physical campus, but not being involved in actual program delivery.

The report envisions the municipality forming a non-profit corporation as future campus owner while leaving program delivery to others. Specifically, it identifies four potential program partners: Olds College, Vermont Technical College, Trent University and Algonquin College.

The issue of the horticulture program was touched on in the report. “The program has strong industry association (Landscape Ontario) support,” states the report. “There is a need to continue and to expand the delivery and service offerings of the program.”

The report published statistics on the industry, “The economic impact of horticulture is significant, with almost 70,000 employees working for 6,000 employers in Ontario. Horticulture has an aging and shrinking workforce: 48.9 per cent of the workforce is aged 45 to 64 years. The Landscape Horticulture Industry presently has more jobs and careers opportunities than skilled workers. Only 250 postsecondary graduates annually enter into the industry.”

The report also noted that “Kemptville’s contribution to the horticultural industry has been the addition of 16 per cent of Ontario’s graduates on an annual basis.”

A recommendation in the report stated, “The Horticultural Technician apprenticeship Level 1 and 2 apprenticeship intakes must continue in Eastern Ontario at the Kemptville Campus to meet the growing needs of the local industry.”

In conclusion, the report states, “There is a proven and growing need for programming in horticulture. The horticultural program has been successfully run on the Kemptville Campus.”
To read the entire report, go to horttrades.com/kemptvillerenewal.