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Discovery Talks

Training Unconventional Graduate Students Unconventionally for Careers in the Agriculture and Food Sector by Dr. Ben Bradshaw, Assistant Vice-President, Graduate Studies, University of Guelph

For years, the University of Guelph has trained (conventional) graduate students within (conventional) research-based programs in the agricultural sciences with the expectation that they will find careers in the agriculture and food sector. We know, however, that their numbers are not sufficient to meet the sector’s growing talent demand. This presentation will outline some of the ways that the University of Guelph is seeking to recruit unconventional graduate students and train them in both conventional and unconventional ways for careers in a sector that is growing and evolving.

PDF – Ben Bradshaw – AIC 2018 Presentation




Attract and Retain the Future Workers of the Ag and Agri-Food Industry by George Klosler, Senior District Director, Farm Credit Canada

Millennials are embracing diversity, sustainability, globalization, disruptive technology and new business models. How will we attract and retain them in our dynamic and innovative agriculture industry? They have great technical skills, but will it be enough for them to succeed in the market? What about sales and social skills, which are essential for ag lenders and communicators? This presentation will discuss how to attract and retrain tomorrow’s workers, during the emerging workforce shortage that is predicted everywhere.

PDF – George Klosler – AIC 2018 Presentation




Internationally Educated Agrologists – Enhancing the Pool of Qualified Agricultural Professionals by Dr. Merv Pritchard, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Manitoba (retired)

As the demand for highly qualified professionals in agriculture increases, anticipated enrollment in university programs will be insufficient to meet future industry needs. Immigrants with formal training in agriculture in their home countries could help fill this need. The Internationally Educated Agrologists Program (IEAP) offered at the University of Manitoba from 2007- 2015 provided gap training to enhance the qualifications and skill sets of recent immigrants. The IEAP met Canadian labour mobility requirements and helped graduates find employment in agriculture. The structure, successes, and lessons learned from this 8-month academic/4-month work experience program will be discussed.


Forum Presentations

Feeding the Future by Dr. David Gray, Dean, Dalhousie Agriculture Campus, Dalhousie University

“Over a century ago, Canada’s Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier said that the 20th century belongs to Canada. Well, I firmly believe that the 21st century will belong to agriculture”. — The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

It is both a challenging and exciting time for agriculture. Globally we are facing significant challenges in being able to feed our ever growing population; our ever increasing demands on a diminishing fresh water resource and global warming & climate change. The solutions to these global challenges will be found within our agriculture & agri-food sector. Never have we needed fresh, bright minds more in agriculture than we do now… but where will they come from and how will we attract them to study and work in our area?



How to Meet the Talent Needs of the Growing Food and Agriculture Sector by Dr. Rene Van Acker, P.Ag., Dean, Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph

The agriculture and food sector in Canada is growing and has been identified as a priority sector for growth. The sector’s greatest need in this regard is talent. Recognizing this need is one step in meeting the need, but attracting young people to programs which lead to careers in the sector is very challenging and it requires new perspectives and new approaches.

PDF – Rene Van Acker- AIC 2018 Presentation




Recruiting for Diploma Programs by Josie Van Lent, Dean, Ag Sciences, Lakeland College

Many post-secondary institutions, including Lakeland College, have seen significant increases in enrollments in agriculture programs over the last several years, and the industry demand for agriculture graduates remains strong. Drawing on experiences within the School of Agriculture at Lakeland College, Josie will share some of the challenges, successes and solutions in recruiting and retaining both traditional and non-traditional students into agriculture programs. She will present feedback and solutions gleaned from Faculty, Recruitment/Enrollment Specialists and Student Success Coordinators.

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