Cultivating Tomorrow's Agricultural Leaders: The Growing Opportunities Initiative

March 27, 2024

The Growing Opportunities initiative, spearheaded by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC), stands as a beacon of hope amidst the labor challenges plaguing Canada's agriculture sector. 

Designed to address the pressing need for a skilled workforce, this program bridges the gap between students seeking meaningful employment and employers in the agricultural industry. By fostering partnerships between educational institutions, businesses, and aspiring young professionals, Growing Opportunities not only offers valuable experiential learning opportunities but also provides a platform for students to explore the diverse and rewarding careers available in agriculture. 

As testimonials from both students and employers attest, this initiative not only helps cultivate a sustainable labor force but also nurtures enthusiasm and commitment among Canada's youth, ensuring a vibrant and resilient future for the agricultural sector.

"As a not-for-profit, the wage subsidy allowed our organization to hire a much-needed employee that we would otherwise not have been able to afford to. It also provided an opportunity for a young person to gain experience related to their education and develop the skills needed to work in their area of choice." – Heather McBey, Manitoba Forage Seed Association 

"We received support for two student positions to work with us in the aquaculture industry. This opportunity resulted in Grieg hiring both students for full-time permanent positions!" – Kevin Smith, Grieg Seafood Newfoundland

Food production is such a vital industry. To make a connection with it firsthand was amazing. It made me realize that there are just so many opportunities for young people who are interested in the environment and sustainable agriculture practices to have an influence. – Isabelle Weigel-Mohamed, psychology student (University of Waterloo) on her experiences at Korotu Technology

My experience this summer was incredible. Working at the farm I was able to expand my knowledge on organic urban agriculture, connect with community members and grow as a leader. The job was very dynamic, and I loved that every day was a little different. – Katie Craven, environmental studies student (University of Victoria) on her experiences with Topsoil Innovative Urban Agriculture

“The wage subsidy covers a good portion of student wages. It also gave me a chance to help develop young people – and mentor potential employees we can hire when they’re done school.” – Janel Delage, Vice President, Delage Farms 

“When I started working at Delage Farms, I knew nothing about lentils, canola or wheat, but by the end of it, I was operating a combine all by myself! This year, I can actually relate what I learned at the farm to what I’m learning in class.” – Kendall Trytten, second year agriculture student, University of Saskatchewan

“It made me realize that there are so many options for young people who are interested in the environment and sustainable agriculture practices to have an influence on the future of food production.” – Isabelle Weigel-Mohammed, psychology student, University of Waterloo

For many of the students we hire it’s a surprise to be able to take their technical skills and apply them in a real world setting to an area like agriculture. The Student Wage Subsidy Program makes it financially more feasible to hire students who really want to make a difference.” – Sean Rudd, Founder and CEO, Korotu Technology

For more information

For more information on the Growing Opportunities Work Placement Program, see the CAHRC website or contact Megan Lockhart, AgriTalent Project Coordinator at