The programme starts in autumn and aims to be a "gold standard" for industry. Apprentices will combine college time with boot camp-style training run by Jody Lidgard of the Landscape Skills Academy (HW, 21 August).
APL chairman Mark Gregory said: "We feel that we need to take an apprentice in house and basically put our own stamp on it. We want a completely different take."
While the failure to recruit youngsters to the industry contributes to the skills shortage, they are also receiving inadequate training once they enter, a problem that has been discussed for decades but has not been addressed.
The new programme will supplement the necessary college training with "industry realism", said Gregory.
APL learning and careers manager Penny Evans added: "This is pioneering as it is bringing together industry with education in defining a learning programme that produces apprentices who are more valuable to their employers. They will receive industry best practice knowledge, skills and techniques and be able to practice in a more realistic environment."
Nine APL member companies have committed to supporting the course and 13 of the 16 places had been filled at the time of going to press.