ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A landscaping company in Abilene is launching a new program, teaching others to be their best selves at home so they can be their best selves at work. It’s a program to teach job-seekers about landscaping and life skills, while also being the first company in Texas to use a landscaping apprenticeship program. The application for this program launched Tuesday.

CEO of Masterscapes, Kevin Roberts, said for a long time, landscaping had not been seen as a professional career. 

“Low skill, non-professional kind of work, and nothing can be further from the truth. There’s a tremendous amount of complexity,” explained Roberts.  

While there’s never been an apprentice program created for landscaping before, Roberts told KTAB/KRBC that’s exactly why more education should be available and accessible to future landscapers.

“Education is expensive a lot of times, and it’s not an option that is for everybody,” Roberts revealed.

That is why Masterscapes is beginning what it calls Landscape University. It will consist of landscape education, life skills education and a landscaping apprenticeship. 

“Our lives are not made up of just what we do at work,” Roberts advised. “There are all sorts of aspects of our lives that we need to be better at: Money, budgeting, nutrition.”

Originally formed by the National Association of Landscape Professionals, Masterscapes in Abilene will be the first company in Texas to utilize the apprentice program. 

The program will require 2,000 hours of on-the-job training as well as a minimum of 144 hours in the classroom, or online equivalent. It is open to anyone 16 years and older who have a high school diploma or GED.

Mary Ross, Executive Director of Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas, told KTABKRBC this is an opportunity for people to think about changing careers without having to give up their income, since this is an “earn and learn” option. She said this is especially important in a time when inflation is an ongoing issue nationwide.

“I think a lot of people are worried about whether they can afford to quit their job to go to school,” Ross pondered.

Ross also explained that being apprenticed is important because it shows a certification that someone went through the work to learn more skills about their work, instead of simply learning on the job.

Roberts said he hopes that through this program, his company can help job-seekers and invest in people’s lives, while training the kind of people they are looking to employ. Ross called it a mutually beneficial situation, and Roberts said his hope is that Masterscapes will be better as it helps others. 

Click here to learn more about Masterscapes’ apprentice program.