Growing need for grads to join Ontario’s food and ag sector
Four jobs available for every OAC grad, report reveals
By Kaitlynn Anderson
For anyone looking for a stable job path, food and agriculture may be worth considering.
In the Ontario Agricultural College’s (OAC) recent report, Planning for Tomorrow 2.0, findings reveal that there are four jobs available for every OAC graduate.
The report, which includes survey results from 123 food and agriculture employers in the province, re-evaluated the supply and demand conditions for employment in the industry to update the Planning for Tomorrow report from 2012.
Some “51 per cent of food respondents and 67 per cent of agriculture respondents reported difficulties in finding recruits,” stated the report.
In 2012, these values were 28 per cent and 40 per cent, according to the report.
With a high supply of agricultural jobs available, students can use their post-secondary education to become exposed to the sector before beginning a full-time career.
“I tell students to think about the career (that they) might like and then try to get to know someone who has that career,” said Karen Landman, interim associate dean of external relations at the OAC. “We work to introduce students to experts working in the field.”
Networking is an important aspect of post-secondary education, she said.
“Seeking out and talking to people who have a job similar to your interests is always a great idea.”
While there are many programs offered by the OAC at the University of Guelph, Landman highlights the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management and Bachelor of Science in Food Science, as they are “one-of-a-kind in Ontario and offer students differentiation and unique skills.”
In addition, students can utilize resources available to them through post-secondary programs to make career decisions.
"It is imperative that students leverage internship and summer employment opportunities to gain knowledge about companies and their future,” said Kathryn Doan, director of AgCareers.com and CareersInFood.com.
Also, these experiences can expose individuals to opportunities in the emerging value-added sector.
“We (have) a very diversified food and agriculture sector here in Ontario,” said Doan. “It is rich in small and medium enterprises that are (currently) investing for the future.”
Some of the resources available to those interested in seeking employment in the food and agriculture industries are the online job boards, AgCareers and Careers in Food.
For further information, check out Ag Careers’ online career guide.
Photo: Jun Zhang / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus