The Kemptville College Campus welcomed around 300 teenage girls over two days last week to an event meant to expose them to job opportunities in the trades. The Women in Trades event was organized by the Upper Canada District School Board and the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario, in conjunction with Landscape Ontario. Girls from Grades 7 to 12, from both Boards, were present at the event and took part in many workshops, all having to do with the various trades involved in landscaping.
Dan Lortie, of the CDSBEO, says that landscaping is more than just planting flowers. Things like building decks, plumbing, and welding come into play, and there is ample opportunity in the workforce these days for women skilled in these trades. The girls had the chance to try out some of the trades involved in landscaping, including working with interlocking brick, gardening, and landscape design. In one workshop, they were given the task of designing a garden for a specific client, to give them a real taste of the intricacies and creativity of the job.
The representative from the UCDSB, Lori Carlisle, says the response to the event has been extremely positive, with many of the girls showing interest in pursuing landscaping and horticulture as a career. “Some were asking whether this was seriously something people did for a job,” Lori says.
Landscape Ontario is always looking at ways to promote horticulture and landscaping in Ontario, as there are not enough skilled people currently in the workforce to meet demand.
“[This event] is of benefit to Landscape Ontario, because it raises awareness for Horticulture,” says Nigel Carlisle, of Landscape Ontario. “Horticulture employs more people than the automotive industry.”