It seems a perfect storm is brewing in the workforce of the Lakes Region. As the cost of attending college rises, the shortage of skilled labor persists, and New Hampshire is challenged with retaining or attracting young residents, a renewed focus on workforce development has been growing in our area. Now, there is another option for young workers to learn and grow into a career.
This week Belknap Landscape Company of Gilford is celebrating National Apprenticeship Week with their first apprentice, Garrett Peaslee. A 2019 graduate of Gilford High School, Peaslee is the first participant in the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) apprenticeship program in New Hampshire. He began the 2-year program in April, is gaining on-hands training at Belknap Landscape and classroom course instruction through online classes provided by Colorado State University.
“The program helps you to gain general knowledge on all the topics within the trade. From weed-whacking, to reading blueprints and setting grades. I have been surprised to see how many layers there are to this industry.” Says Peaslee
This apprenticeship in landscaping joins dozens of other apprenticeship programs offered to New Hampshire residents. For several years high school graduates have had their choice from HVAC, culinary, hospitality, healthcare and construction apprenticeships just to name a few, but landscaping apprenticeships did not exist in the state. This year Belknap Landscape joined the NALP program to fill this void.
“Our industry requires a diverse set of skills, and we needed to find a way to fill some complex roles,” said Jeff Sirles who manages recruiting for Belknap Landscape. “We have always tried to support education and training in the area, so this program was a great fit.”
Apprenticeship programs have an important effect of our local workforce. They provide young adults an option of continued education and professional development outside of the traditional university system, allowing them to live locally. While most apprenticeship programs do require classroom learning, often these costs are covered by the employer, and the ability to gain real-world experience while also being paid for their work makes continued education obtainable for virtually anyone. Finally, they help develop local workers, providing our local businesses with the skilled employees we need to continue to prosper.
For more information on Apprenticeships in New Hampshire visit apprenticeshipnh.com or to learn more about landscaping apprenticeships email [email protected].