Hard work and practical skills are two values you can see throughout the history of Kiwi and the Munros, in their work and family life. One way this is evident is the family’s commitment and involvement with the apprenticeship process, with Murray starting his apprenticeship at 15 in New Zealand.
Fast forward over three decades, and across the world to Canada, Murray was using his real-life experience in the industry and knowledge built on what he learned in his apprenticeship. Alison, who had her university degree but was also a self-taught accountant/estimator/safety officer etc. was working alongside him to build what is now Kiwi Nurseries. When the Landscape Gardener Apprenticeship Program was first introduced to Alberta, Murray and Alison were both grandfathered in and were passionate about apprenticing younger workers to encourage the landscaping industry to continue growing. Over the years, they have introduced about 10 new apprentices to the program who have gone on to become journeyman Landscape Gardeners.
Kathryn couldn’t turn away from her passion for the apprenticeship program and knew she had to be involved in furthering the program in Alberta. She had lived and experienced the passion and success of her parents’ business and hard work and did not view “blue collar” work as merely a fall back for those who weren’t cut out for “white collar” jobs. She has seen the way an apprenticeship program can complement practical knowledge and build a strong foundation for a successful career for those who have the drive to work hard both physically and mentally. She joined the Provincial Apprenticeship Committee (PAC) as a volunteer, where she was part of a team of representatives across Canada who worked to harmonize the program across the provinces and territories. This involved travel and hundreds of volunteer hours, working with members of the industry, other PACs and professors to create a new curriculum and standardized exams including environmental best practices and consistent terminology and methodology across the country.
With the new Landscape Horticulturist Apprenticeship Program now completed and being taught across the country, Kathryn chose to continue her involvement with the PAC in a new capacity, now sitting as the Presiding Officer of the Committee.
Kathryn’s passion can be seen clearly in this ALIS video, despite some blurry quality and outdated terminology 😉.