A Studentís Perspective: Getting to know Tyler Garrard

Posted by: Halton Industry Education Council
Posted on: July 16, 2010

They say that whenever a door closes, a window opens. For Tyler Garrard, OYAP co-op student from Milton District High School, that statement couldnít be more true.

In grade 11, Tyler began a co-op placement at a bicycle repair shop in Milton. A couple of months into his placement the bicycle shop went out of business and Tyler was left without a placement.

Not sure where to turn next, he approached his co-op teacher, Jan Lehman, for advice. That conversation led him to a whole new industry, as Tyler found himself working at the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNL) for the remainder of the term. It was there that he discovered his passion for landscaping.

'I had always considered landscaping a hobby of mine,' says Tyler. 'I never thought it could be my future career.'

A few months into working with CNL, Tyler was given another fortunate opportunity. He interviewed with Landscape Ontario (LO) and soon landed a position as their summer student.

That experience, says Tyler, 'really helped me get the hands-on training I was looking for.'

After a great experience that summer, he returned to his final year of high school with a new sense of purpose, wanting to learn more about the landscaping industry. His passion took him to take part in the Halton Skills Competition, which allows students from across Halton to compete in over 35 categories of skilled competitions. For Tyler, the Skills Competition represented an opportunity to continue the work he loved and put a spotlight on his newfound skills.

He signed up for the Landscape Gardening competition, but there was one problem: Tyler needed a partner. Tyler called upon his friend Jo Isaak who was happy to be part of his team.

'My buddy Jo had no landscaping experience, but I called him up and told him that he was going to do this with me anyway,' laughs Tyler.

Together the two of them won the silver medal in the Halton-wide competition. This allowed them to continue on the Ontario level competition and compete against the best in the province.

'This was my first time competing in the Halton and Ontario Skills Competition and I couldnít have done it without my best friend Jo,' says Tyler. 'I was so happy for the both of us, we worked really hard and it paid off.'

Tyler and Jo didnít know what to expect coming into RIM Park for the Ontario competition Ė 'an event with over a zillion competitors' Ė or at least thatís what Tyler thought it looked like walking into the Waterloo building in the early morning hours this past May.

After two days of competition, a lot of hard work and a few bags of top soil, Tyler and Jo took home the gold medal.

As if that wasnít enough, Tylerís adventure continued beyond that competition. He soon found himself facing a whole new challenge: public speaking.

Tylerís success story was brought to the attention of Halton Industry Education Council (HIEC) staff who were in the process of looking for student emcees for their upcoming Halton Apprenticeship Advisory Council (HAAC) Honour Roll event, where a number of companies are recognized for opening the doors to their workplace to students and promoting skilled trades excellence in Halton. And who better to take on the co-emcee role than Tyler, who experienced first-hand the value of experiential learning opportunities for youth. Tyler kindly accepted HIECís invitation and came on as a co-emcee of the HAAC Honour Roll Awards and apprenticesearch.comís 10 Year Anniversary Celebration.

During the event Tyler told the audience about his journey through his different co-op placements and how he has now found his true passion thanks to the great opportunities he has been given.

Tyler ended his speech by thanking those that had made his journey possible: 'Mom and Dad I want to thank you for all your support, as well as, all the Halton teaching staff for giving all of us skills competitors this great opportunity.'

From left to right: Tyler Garrard, Jan Lehman, Co-op Teacher, Milton District High School and Jo Isaak at the Halton Apprenticeship Advisory Council Honour Roll Awards.

Tyler is now Landscape Ontarioís newest apprentice and will be starting the Landscape Design Program at Fanshawe College this coming September. HIEC wishes Tyler all the best as he continues to pursue his career in Landscaping and would like to thank him for participating in our HAAC Honour Roll Awards event.

Chair Carr and Mayors

Ted & Sandy Chudleigh and Tyler Garrard

Joseph Isaak, Tyler Garrard and Ted Chudleigh

Tyler Garrard and Tessey Scrivo

HAAC 2010

Tyler Garrard