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School of agriculture technology launched at Olds College

The newly launched Werklund School of Agriculture Technology at Olds College represents an important step forward for both students and the nation’s agriculture industry, say officials.
The school was officially launched during a ceremony on Friday, with college teaching and administrative staff, board members, politicians and other dignitaries on hand.
The launch event included speeches and the unveiling of a plaque for the new school.
The school will give students access to new agriculture technology programs, including the precision agriculture – techgronomy diploma and agriculture technology integration post-diploma certificate.
Applications for both programs open on Oct. 1, with the first intake of students in the fall of 2020.
The school will also give students access to high technology, hands-on experiences through the college’s Smart Farm, the Smart Ag Innovation Centre, and a new agriculture technology hub scheduled to open in the fall of 2022.
The school is named after David Werklund, a philanthropist, oilfield industry leader and entrepreneur who, along with his partner Susan Norman, made the school possible through a financial donation to the college.
One of the dignitaries at Friday’s ceremony, Werklund says he is very pleased to be helping future agriculture students excel and lead the industry going forward.
“I think this is a clarification of a new chapter and a turning point for the agricultural college, but also the industry,” said Werklund. “I can see the students leaving this college better equipped to integrate into the workforce of Alberta and any other place in the world with the young people understanding all the fundamentals and all the technology that can be achieved through this learning process.
“We have a passion for innovation and new technologies and we firmly believe in investing in youth and education. Olds College was a natural choice for us because of its long-standing commitment to agriculture education and our shared vision towards engaging more of Alberta’s youth in the business of agriculture through leading technological advancement.”
He commended the many people involved in making the school a reality.
College president Stuart Cullum called the launch of the new school a “historic day for Olds College.”
“This announcement today reflects Olds College’s social purpose, transforming agriculture for a better world,” said Cullum. “The launch of the Werklund School of Agricultural Technology is a profound indicator of Olds College’s commitment to our social purpose and to building Alberta’s position as a global leader in agriculture and technology.
“Today is a truly special day, not only for Olds College but for our students, our agriculture industry, and the province of Alberta. As an agriculture-focused post-secondary institution, Olds College understands that it is our responsibility to offer career focused programming that supports industry and creates a highly skilled workforce that will fill the new jobs emerging in our sector, grow new companies needed to strengthen our economy and attract much needed investment to Alberta.”
During the ceremony, Alberta’s Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides called the new school great news for the province and the nation’s agriculture industry.
“This is such an incredible milestone,” said Nicolaides. “Agriculture is a foundational industry of our province. It is clear that Olds College is well positioned to continue to play a leading role in the advancement of Canada’s agricultural sector. Through cutting-edge innovation and strong connections with industry, Olds College will continue to maintain its place on the front lines of creating the farm of the future.
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