Five ways CAHRC’s Growing Opportunities initiative is improving outcomes for students

March 13, 2024

CAHRC’s Growing Opportunities project was launched with students as much as employers in mind. Young people's aspirations offer a window into the future workforce. This is why, as a national non-profit that exists to address labour and HR-related challenges, the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council understands our resources must encourage more people to choose careers in agriculture.

Growing Opportunities is grounded in the experience and outcomes offered by work-integrated learning, where students are presented with the chance to immerse themselves in employment related to their studies. There are several positive impacts associated with Growing Opportunities.  

Let’s break it down.

1 - Applying learned knowledge in the real world

There is no better environment than the workplace to learn, develop and apply skills relevant to career success. Research from CAHRC analyzing the impacts of work-integrated learning, like experiences through the Growing Opportunities program, shows that participants are more likely to land a job related to their field after graduating from post-secondary education than those who did not have work placements.

2 - Increased levels of income

Employers of the program pay students at market value, above minimum wage. For those taking their placement during their school year, it provides the chance to make more money. More than that, studies have shown that because work-integrated learning opportunities better equip students with a skill set fit for the current workforce, they have higher incomes upon graduation.

3 - Enhanced understanding of agriculture and its value

In this age of urbanization, more and more young people live farther away from the places where their food is produced. Participants of the Growing Opportunities program have said placements with employers have transformed their perception of the agriculture industry, its vital role in the world and how they can use their education from other disciplines, like science and tech, to channel positive impacts for agriculture.

4 - Clearer direction on career trajectory

A critical impact of work-integrated learning is that it can help students connect with specific jobs and provide insights into their overall career pathways. It is a crucial tool for supporting young people in learning what they want to do in their careers while providing them with valuable experiences that can help clarify their career choices.

5 - Filling the opportunity void  

Research has shown that despite the significant benefits associated with work-integrated learning, there is a consensus that more opportunities are needed for students. In particular, the chance to learn in agricultural spaces is in even shorter supply. The Growing Opportunities program partly fills this void so that more students can take advantage of the benefits of work-integrated learning and enter the agriculture workforce with solid knowledge and skills to keep the industry a top performer.  

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