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AgScape and FoodGrads Unite to Bring Food and Beverage Processing Education to Youth in Ontario

Milton, Ontario – AgScape, a leading charitable organization dedicated to bringing innovative agriculture and food education to Ontario classrooms, is proud to announce a new partnership with FoodGrads, an interactive platform focused on closing the gap between students, graduates and employers in the food and beverage industry. This collaboration, funded by the governments of Canada and Ontario through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP), marks a significant step forward in ensuring youth in Ontario have access to educational experiences to learn about Ontario’s food and beverage processing (FBP) sector and discover diverse careers within this robust sector.

“Our food and beverage sector holds so many opportunities, and helping young people get a foot in the door is vital to its long-term prosperity,” said the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. "Through shared funding under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, students from across Ontario will have the tools and information they need to explore a rewarding career in a growing sector looking to attract and retain top talent.”

“Addressing labour force challenges is one of the key priorities set out in the Grow Ontario Strategy, so this collaboration between AgScape and FoodGrads is very welcome news,” said Lisa Thompson, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “By introducing students and recent graduates to the lucrative and fulfilling careers available to them in the agriculture and food industry, we’re ensuring the long-term sustainability and strength of the industry.”

The FBP sector in Ontario holds the distinction of being the largest in Canada, representing a significant 37% of the industry’s revenue in the country. Notably, the sector employs more Ontarians and contributes more to the province’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) than other types of manufacturing. Despite its remarkable contributions, the sector faces a labour shortage that has been a growing challenge.

“Workforce development is the number one priority for Ontario's food and beverage processing industry. Recent labour market analysis tells us that by 2030, close to half of the labour force will require new people,” said Chris Conway, CEO of Food and Beverage Ontario. “Awareness of opportunities in the industry, including among youth, is an important aspect of growing the workforce. Through our partnership with AgScape and FoodGrads, we hope to inspire young Ontarians to pursue meaningful careers within the industry.”

Through this partnership, AgScape and FoodGrads will leverage their combined expertise, resources and networks to increase awareness of the FBP sector among youth in Ontario and inspire them to pursue meaningful careers within the sector. The collaboration will be executed through a multifaceted approach. These initiatives include “From This to That: Food Processing in Canada,” classroom lessons tailored for grade 4-6 students delivered by AgScape’s skilled Teacher Ambassadors. Additionally, FoodGrads will run interactive stations at AgScape’s thinkAG Career Competitions to engage with grade 5-12 students and showcase a wide range of careers in the sector. Furthermore, the two organizations will collaborate on offering virtual field trips that allow K-12 students to explore Ontario’s innovative food system and meet experts in the field of agriculture and food.

“We are so proud of this collaboration with our colleagues at FoodGrads. Both of our organizations have many years of experience in engaging the public in having a deeper understanding of our role in our agriculture and food systems,” said Mira Lyonblum, Executive Director of AgScape. “By leveraging our many years of combined experience in the industry and our diverse partnerships across the province, we can inspire a new generation of educated food leaders who will secure a sustainable food supply for every person in Ontario.”

“Food processing career paths are simply not part of the conversation in school, yet it's an industry that isn’t going anywhere—we all eat—and that’s not going to change; we’re thrilled to work with AgScape to inspire youth to explore a rewarding and meaningful career,” said Nicole Gallace, Founder and Talent Solutions Manager at FoodGrads. “We are proud to share our passion for the industry and are dedicated to celebrating the people and professions while developing resources to support students and graduates. Due to technological advancements and innovation, there has never been a more exciting time to join the food and beverage processing industry!”

For more information about AgScape and its programs and initiatives, please visit www.agscape.ca.

For further details about FoodGrads and its programs, please visit www.foodgrads.com.

Source : Agscape

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