A partnership to provide agricultural education to Saskatchewan students will continue for another 5 years.
The Saskatchewan Distance Learning Centre (Sask DLC) and the North American Equipment Dealers Association (NAEDA) agreed to a new deal.
Chief Executive Officer of Sask DLC Darren Gasper says the agreement will continue to provide work placements for high school students.
“We’re excited for another five years of some great opportunities for students across Saskatchewan whether they’re interested in becoming an ag equipment technician or a parts technician,” Gasper said. “A new program we’re going to be launching is called precision ag technician.”
Eligible courses include Agricultural Equipment Technician 20, Agricultural Equipment Technician 30, Parts Technician 30L, and a the new Precision Agriculture 30L program, which is under development according to Sask DLC in a news release.
Students enrolled in these classes will complete 50 hours of online theory, 50 hours of work placement at a local equipment dealership, and an optional boot camp at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Saskatoon, Sask DLC adds. The optional boot camp is an opportunity for students to shadow apprentices, experience the industry and determine whether they want to pursue their respective career path.
The previous 5-year agreement was between NAEDA and the Sunwest DLC, according to Gasper.
“We had an opportunity to run on average about 100 to 120 students through the program each year through the ag equipment tech or the parts tech program,” he said, adding one of the positives about Sask DLC is that programming is now available to students across the province.
The North American Equipment Dealers Association will provide $40-thousand annually to support students enrolled in ag-focussed programs offered online through Sask DLC.
“Labour shortages are one of the most pressing risks facing Canadian agriculture and are a major constraint on both agricultural growth and global competitiveness,” NAEDA Vice President Larry Hertz said in the news release. “NAEDA is pleased to support Saskatchewan and the economy by investing in educational experiences that will enable students to pursue a wide variety of roles in the agriculture industry.”
Gasper says he’s also heard of labour shortages across all of the trades.
“That opportunity to keep kids in their local communities and really keep those rural communities strong is a really critical piece, so not only the labour market need and what the ag industry itself needs but just keeping kids home in those local communities is really rewarding to see.” he continued.
Registration is now open for Sask DLC courses. Parents or students who have questions or need help registering can call 306-252-1000 or email [email protected].
Hear the full interview with Sask DLC CEO Darren Gasper below.