Olds College is cultivating its horticultural programs to meet demand.
Last year, the program received 83 applications for 30 students. In response, the college is making room for 50 students this year.
Horticulture programs have been a college mainstay for more than 50 years. Students study the production and management of plants, as well as how to manage pests, landscapes, soils and water systems to achieve productive and sustainable systems.
“Olds College has a history of offering programs that reflect the importance that we place on the world around us,” says Jason Dewling, vice-president of academic and research.
“Sustainability, water management, production horticulture and urban agriculture are all areas that are seeing significant growth in interest, and as experts in the field it is our responsibility to ensure that we have enough spaces available to students to meet industry demands.”
The college offers three horticulture designations: a one-year horticulture technician certificate, two-year horticulture technologist diploma, and four-year bachelor of applied science degree.
“Olds College’s horticulture program is unique, with a blended curriculum of online delivery, face-to-face inquiry based learning and hands-on learning to go along with industry field schools,” says Dalin Bullock, dean of animal sciences and horticulture.
“Graduates will be prepared to apply their knowledge and skills in the areas of horticulture crops, landscape design, construction and maintenance.”
The decision to increase the capacity of the horticulture program comes on the heels of the college’s announcement that it is boosting enrolment in its agricultural management program.
“Sustainability, water management, production horticulture, and urban agriculture are vital elements of the world in which we live,” says Bullock. “Increasing the availability of seats in these programs reflects the growth in the agriculture and horticulture industries.”
Applications for the 2017 intake for the horticulture technician certificate are still being accepted, but space is limited. Students interested in the program are urged to apply early.