Ditch The Office Job, Say Canada’s Ag Colleges

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High-school students across Canada are the target of a new campaign that suggests careers in agriculture as a way to avoid the “typical office job.”

The Canadian Association of Diploma in Agriculture Programs (CADAP) has rolled out its national initiative, dubbed “Ditch the Office,” including a website and “social media” platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, aimed at students between ages 15 and 18.

Agricultural programs across Canada “struggle to compete for new students in a country that is becoming increasingly urbanized and as a result, much less aware of the potential a career in agriculture can offer them,” CADAP said in a release.

“They simply have no idea of the impact agriculture has on their daily lives and the exciting things that are happening within Canadian agriculture,” said Lauranne Sanderson, an associate professor with the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC) at Truro and president of CADAP.

CADAP’s member schools along with NSAC include Lakeland, Lethbridge Community and Olds colleges in Alberta; Kemptville, Alfred and Ridgetown colleges in Ontario; Kwantlen and Fraser Valley universities in B. C.; Macdonald College and l’Institut de technologie agroalimentaire in Quebec; the University of Manitoba and Assiniboine Community College in Manitoba; and the College of Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan.

Cash prizes

To boost interest among students, CADAP has pledged over $10,000 in cash and prizes toward contests to run for six weeks from March 1 to May 16.

The main contest is a video competition that allows eligible teenagers the opportunity to submit videos containing their opinions or thoughts on agriculture and how it relates to their daily lives.

Participants can also earn contest points through activities they perform on the campaign’s website, such as viewing videos, answering daily quizzes about agriculture, forwarding links and videos to their friends, posting comments to the forums, submitting photos or designing posters.

Points are then used to calculate weekly winners, who will be announced weekly from Monday, Mar. 8 onward. CADAP also pledged a $2,500 grant for the high school with the most participation points.

4-H site too

4-H Canada also announced plans for a new interactive website to promote career opportunities specific to the agriculture industry.

“Naturally, many of our partners are involved in the agriculture industry and have expressed continued frustration with employee shortages,” Ken Lancastle, the Canadian 4-H Council’s communications and marketing manager, said in a separate release.

“We’re establishing CareersOn-TheGrow.caas a means of educating our members and others about all the opportunities that exist in agriculture and its related industries. There’s a lot of great stuff going on in agriculture and it’s important youth understand it.”

CareersOnTheGrow.cais

expected to launch later this month, with updated content and job opportunities to be posted on a regular basis.

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