University-Industry Engagement Week

U Saskatchewan partners with agri-food industry on new upskilling program

By David Schwartz
Published: May 10th, 2022

Working with the non-profit organization Palette Skills and Winnipeg-based non-profit Enterprise Machine Intelligence and Learning Initiative (EMILI), the University of Saskatchewan (USask) is launching of the Automation and Digital Agriculture Specialist Program. Supported by a co-investment from Protein Industries Canada, the rapid upskilling program is designed to help employers in the agri-food sector find skilled talent to fuel the growth of their businesses.

The program targets workers looking to transition and advance into many in-demand jobs in the agri-food sector, including technology and business, farm robotics, agriculture automation, precision agriculture and production management.

The accelerated eight-week program – built in consultation with employers and industry groups — focuses on automation and digitization technologies in agricultural production and processing facilities. It offers project-based learning in emerging agri-food technologies such as Geographic Information Systems, Internet of Things smart farming technology, unmanned aerial vehicles, artificial intelligence, robotics, sensors, and big data.

“We know employers need talented individuals with the right foundational skills, and who possess a strong drive and desire to build careers in the agri-food industry. These are high-potential, resilient professionals who can help build relationships to drive business and streamline processes using new technologies,” said AJ Tibando, executive director of Palette Skills.

“Being responsive to the needs of industry stakeholders and employers is a traditional hallmark of the academic programming within the College of Agriculture and Bioresources,” said Dr. Trever Crowe (PhD), associate dean of research and graduate studies in USask’s College of Agriculture and Bioresources. “This upskilling programming led by Palette Skills will help learners from diverse disciplines become aware of and proficient in agricultural automation and digital agriculture, talents agri-food companies need to scale into new global markets.”

“As Canada’s agri-food sector evolves, so does the talent and skills needed to support it,” added Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel. “Today’s employees often need to understand how data and digital tools are being incorporated into everything from on-farm agriculture to food manufacturing. By having increased access to the right skills and talent, trailblazing companies across the country can increase their workforce, expanding their production and, as a result, growing Canada’s plant-based food and ingredient ecosystem.”

Source: University of Saskatchewan News

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week