Attracting the next generation of workers

Attracting the next generation of workers
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Workers new to a job are three times more likely to be injured during the first month on the job compared to experienced workers.

The statistic, across all sectors of the economy, is staggering and points to the need for adequate training.

The Ontario agri-food sector, with a diverse range of career opportunities, struggles to find enough qualified workers.

Providing opportunities for training and awareness of the industry improves understanding and prepares new workers for the realities of working on a farm or in a food processing facility.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the Canadian and Ontario governments have invested more than $750,000 in projects to support labour and training needs for new workers in the farming sector.

Through Canadian Agricultural Partnership funding, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) was able to partner with economic development and agricultural commodity organizations to develop short training videos to support the sector.

Biosecurity, integrated pest management, animal welfare, and agricultural equipment are some of the topics covered in the Focus on Food and Focus on Livestock video series. These videos provide the foundation for new workers, but also provide a window into the industry to enhance public trust.

New farm hires starting in the spring may also benefit from the new Ontario Agriculture Worker Safety and Awareness Certificate offered through the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus Business Development Centre in collaboration with OFA.

Topics such as an introduction to farm equipment, crop and livestock operations, hazards on the farm and general health and safety practices are covered to assist farm businesses with training and to provide job seekers with an advantage in a competitive job market.

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