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March 17, 2011
For immediate release

First Farm Technician Apprenticeship class graduates

Innovation and Advanced Learning

The first class of farm workers training to gain experience and certification through the Farm Technician Apprenticeship Program has graduated, says Innovation and Advanced Learning Minister Allan Campbell.

On February 25, five students were presented with certificates from Nova Scotia Agriculture College.

“This is a great program that is helping the Island’s farm workers gain new skills and get certified for their existing skills,” said Minister Campbell. “Government is committed to building a strong Island workforce, and this program is ensuring that farm workers can take advantage of the most up-to-date technology and innovations in the farm industry.”

The Farm Technician Apprenticeship Program was developed by the Nova Scotia Agricultural College through consultation with the Trade Advisory Committee, made up of PEI farmers and farm workers. Participants receive a provincial Certificate of Qualification after three years of employment with a farm mentor and 8 weeks of in-class training each year that is delivered by the Nova Scotia Agricultural College on PEI.

“With the many new advances in farm operations, there is a growing need for highly skilled and trained workers for the agriculture industry,” said Agriculture Minister George Webster. “The new apprenticeship program, the first of its kind in Canada, is helping to meet the challenges of recruiting and retaining a qualified workforce.”

The program is funded by the Government of Prince Edward Island, the PEI Agriculture Sector Council and the Prince Edward Island ADAPT Council. It is offered free of charge to apprentices who are eligible to receive Skills Development funding.

“I like that we are covering a wide range of topics, we are not stuck on one topic for weeks. Everything moves fast,” said Bill Shaw, a first-year student in the program. “I know other people that could use a course like this,” said Ben Visser, another student in the program. “The safety stuff keeps your eyes open a bit more. It makes you more aware.”

For more information on the Farm Technician Apprenticeship Program, visit or contact (902) 368-4460.


In a 2004 study, 88 percent of farmers and workers surveyed supported the idea of developing a Farm Technician apprenticeship program on PEI.

The three-year program combines classroom learning with on-farm experience. Apprentices work throughout the year gaining skills on a farm with a farm mentor and participate in 8 weeks of in-class training delivered by the Nova Scotia Agricultural College on PEI.

Selected topics covered during the in-class sessions include:

• Farm Health and Safety

• Fork Lift and Skid Steer

• Tractor Safety

• Shop Skills

• Preventative Maintenance

• Field and Cropping Operations

• Pest Management

• Food Safety

• Farm Implements

• Introductory Welding

• Farm Property and Facilities Maintenance

• Chainsaw Operation and Maintenance

• Computer Data and Farm Records

• Communications

• Class 3A Driver Training

Apprentices also choose elective courses for either livestock or cropping operations.

Media Contact: Ron Ryder
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