Ontario school board launches ag-focused program
Students in Huron and Perth counties will have the opportunity to take specialized ag courses
By Kaitlynn Anderson
High schoolers in midwestern Ontario will soon have a chance to immerse themselves in the agricultural industry.
In September 2018, the Avon Maitland District School Board (AMDSB) will launch Farm Refine Dine, a group of Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) designed for students who would like to learn about the business and science aspects of the industry, according to a release AMDSB provided to Farms.com yesterday.
The program, which will be open to all high school students in Huron and Perth counties, includes two SHSMs: agriculture and hospitality.
The school board is still awaiting ministry approval for a third stream which will focus on food processing.
For one semester, students who are enrolled in the program will attend Mitchell District High School (MDHS) to complete courses related to their major of choice, Nick Keller, a teacher at MDHS, said in the release.
Students will also have the opportunity to participate in field trips to events such as Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show and The Royal Agricultural Fair, according to the program brochure.
The program offers “a great opportunity for students already living on farms or for those who are interested in learning about the agricultural industry,” Keller said.
Through the program, students can obtain certifications including Standard First Aid, CPR and Food Safety Level 1, the brochure states.
Upon completion of a SHSM, high schoolers planning to attend college or university are eligible to apply for grants and bursaries from post-secondary institutions.
Individuals with these majors can find advantages in the workplace.
“Many employers are recognizing the SHSM seal and know that students who have obtained this accomplishment bring a focused portfolio of experiences and certifications with them,” the release stated.
Students can consider multiple careers paths, according to the SHSM website, such as:
General farm worker
Customer support representative
Farmer and farm manager
Farm equipment technician
Technical sales specialist
Pet groomer and animal care worker
Veterinary equipment and supplies salesperson
Specialized livestock worker
Winery and viticulture technician
The school board encourages interested students to enrol in the program as soon as possible.