The program is geared towards Kindergarten through Grade 12 students
A new program through Protein Industries Canada (PIC) will give students across the Prairies the opportunity to learn more about careers in the plant protein, agri-food and digital agriculture sector in 2021.
“We've partnered with a couple of not-for-profit organizations, Enterprise Machine Intelligence & Learning Initiative (EMILI), Actua and Agriculture in the Classroom Canada (ACIT-C), to deliver programming to Kindergarten to Grade 12 students about career opportunities in agriculture,” said Bill Greuel, CEO of PIC.
PIC along with EMILI, Actua and AITC-C are investing $2 million to help address the ag industry’s need for a skilled workforce.
“We know across the agriculture sector in Canada there are thousands of jobs that are not filled today. At PIC, we're making investments to increase job opportunities for Canadians. We really have to think about bringing in youth and making sure that they understand the opportunities. This is a very long-term play for us to make sure that we've got people with the right talent and skills over the next number of decades as we increase the amount of jobs available in the agricultural sector,” Greuel told Farms.com.
The program plans to reach 69,000 youth over three years in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Several organizations in the private sector also expressed support for this project including, Avena Foods Ltd., Aberhart Farms, Roquette, Exceed Grain Marketing, Lucent BioScience, Verdient Foods Inc., Ingredion Inc. and Botaneco.
These organizations are “stepping up to provide financial support and want to participate in the development of curriculum to make sure that students are getting what they need in terms of what companies are looking for,” said Greuel.
University students who are currently training for careers in ag will also be involved in the program by talking to the students, said Greuel.
“I think that's a really nice connection because you've got some people who are thinking about making this their career talking about the opportunities with other students,” he said.
The program is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2021.