A new training certificate from the University of Guelph and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is available for those looking to grow their career in agriculture.
The Ontario Agriculture Worker Safety and Awareness Certificate is an introductory program recommended for those looking to enter the industry, or provide a refresher for those already in the field. It is part of Feeding Your Future, a OFA program funded by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
Peggy Brekveld, the president of the OFA, says they are hoping this course will interest people to learn more about different sectors within agriculture.
"Our most common workforce is people who have known agriculture for a long time, whether they grew up in a community of farming, or if their parents farmed, etc., " she says, "But we need our workforce to go beyond that, most programs or areas of interests that you have, are connected to agriculture."
Some topics reviewed in the program include: an overview of health and safety on a farm; an introduction to farm equipment operation and safety; and, an introduction to crop farm operations and livestock farm operations.
With agriculture jobs available in Guelph and across the province, Brekveld says this online training may be a good place to begin.
"We're hoping people will try it out and see if it's something they might be interested in."
While the program does not replace on farm training, it aims to complement it. Employees become familiar with on-farm safety while it helps employers with training new workers. Training is done virtually through learning modules, which can take between eight to 10 hours to complete. These modules can be done all together, or over the course of a couple days.
"At the end of the day, you can do a lot of things online," says Brekveld, "Then at some point, you have to pick up the wrench, or be in the field, or touch the soil, whatever is required for the you're thinking about following up with."
The fee for the program is normally $229, but has been reduced to $49 until June 30, 2021. Businesses can also register up to five employees for the program for the same fee. Once registered, participants have up to a year to complete the program.
For more information about the program, go to feedingyourfuture.ca/agri-training.