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Growing Opportunities in Agriculture

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In 1921, agriculture was the single most common occupation, employing  one million Canadians and accounting for one-third of all jobs. While it now accounts for less, it is quickly gaining a well-earned reputation as a highly desired industry and an untapped resource for those pursuing postsecondary education or careers. A 2017 study from the University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College of more than 120 Ontario employers found just how exciting the agriculture industry is for future and current students. Planning for Tomorrow 2.0 highlighted the demand the industry has for educated graduates:

• There are four jobs for every OAC graduate entering Ontario’s food and agriculture sectors

• 44% of food employers and 56% of agriculture employers anticipate an increase in the average number of new hires over the next five years

• 77% of food employers and 79% of agriculture employers prefer formal training in food and agriculture graduates, like that gained at post-secondary

• 50% of food and 57% of agriculture employers stated that more than half of their employees require or have postsecondary education.

  • 51% of food respondents and 67% of agriculture respondents reported difficulties in finding recruits

Careers aren’t limited to on-the-farm either — there’s a wide range of opportunities extending far beyond the farm gate, from marketing to product development, and it’s important for young people to be aware of the network of career choices the industry has to offer.

That’s where the Education & Career Centre at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show (COFS) comes in. University of Guelph and have collaborated with COFS to form the Education & Career Centre. With the main goal to educate attendees and especially young people about the career opportunities they may not be familiar with within the agriculture industry, staff and representatives from both organizations will be available to talk to interested attendees.

“A focus of the show for us is talking to parents and potential students about the educational opportunities available and the careers they lead to,” says Stephanie Craig, Communications Manager, Ontario Agricultural College. “The best thing about agriculture and food is that the sectors provide so much career opportunity. Students can pursue pretty much any interest, live anywhere in the world, and find a rewarding role in agriculture and food. ”

“For many, agriculture is stereotyped as out in the field or working with cows, etc. While production agriculture is the backbone of our industry, there are so many other diverse career opportunities that could appeal to a wide variety of career interests,” says Erika Osmundson, Director of Marketing and Communications, “The agriculture industry has something for everyone, from farming to being a CEO and research to finance. Agriculture is an exciting and rewarding industry to work in with a great community of people.”

Visit the Education & Career Centre at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show.

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