University-Industry Engagement Week

New partnership to increase skills and talent in Canada’s agrifood sector


By David Schwartz
Published: January 18th, 2022

The University of Saskatchewan (USask) is partnering with several other organizations to develop a new, $1 million specialized training program designed to preparing workers jobs in the agrifood sector and build a talent pipeline for employers.

Working with the national non-profit organization Palette Skills, Winnipeg-based non-profit Enterprise and Machine Learning Initiative (EMILI), and Economic Development Regina, USask will develop a program focused on increasing employment opportunities among under-represented populations such as the Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) community, and new Canadians as well, to help solve the labor shortage the agri-food sector faces.

Protein Industries Canada, one of Canada’s five non-profit innovation superclusters, is investing just over $1 million in the effort, with the partner organizations investing much smaller amounts. The funding will pay for the design and launch of a pilot program in Saskatchewan to train 50 workers, who will then be placed in highly-in-demand jobs with agrifood companies.

The pilot’s goal will be to connect companies within the sector to the diverse, well-trained, and skilled talent needed to scale up their businesses and accelerate Canada’s economic recovery. If the pilot proves successful, the program could be expanded across the Prairies.

The program will leverage a successful “skilling” model already in use by Palette Skills, which will consult with industry partners to determine the most pressing skills needed and developing solutions to meet those needs.

The USask College of Agriculture and Bioresources will support the program’s design and industry engagement, leveraging its strong relationships with agrifood companies to help grow the project’s employer consortium and contribute its knowledge and experience toward the program’s curriculum.

Economic Development Regina and EMILI will support the partners’ industry engagement and integration of digital agriculture skills.

Source: The University of Saskatchewan

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week