The career world is your oyster in Atlantic Canada: How maritime universities offer vocational opportunities in agriculture

18 décembre 2023

Atlantic Canada’s agricultural landscape is ripe with career opportunities—across the region and throughout the food and beverage supply chain. Educational offerings, particularly post-secondary programs, are helping drive the next generation of workers and business owners into our world-renowned sector. 

Work-integrated learning, also known as on-the-job learning, is increasingly becoming a trend in post-secondary education. This allows students to learn through the application of skills in a real-world setting. More importantly, it provides an opportunity for current employers to inspire our youngest and brightest to stick with a profession in agriculture and understand how they can make a meaningful impact throughout the sector. 

Let’s take a look at the learning opportunities that exist across the region. 

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island, though synonymous with the humble potato, offers opportunities beyond the farm gate. 

The University of Prince Edward Island’s Foods and Nutrition program, for example, provides students with comprehensive training opportunities related to nutritional health, novel food product development and support for sustainable food systems. It also offers multiple work-integrated learning opportunities like dietetic internships, co-ops and applied research projects in food security, nutrition education and food product development.

Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia, a bachelor’s degree in plant science at Dalhousie University will prepare students for careers in crop farming or management and soil research, as well as water and soil conservation. Students may also choose to focus on the genetics of plants, which provides a solid foundation for opportunities in plant breeding and plant development. 

Alternatively, a bachelor’s degree in international food business offers a stepping stone for a career path in the global food industry, whether that’s as an agri-business entrepreneur or agri-food trade specialist.

And at Saint Francis Xavier University, a bachelor’s degree in climate and environment can set someone on track to a career in climate consulting for farm operations.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador is known for its billion-dollar fishing industry and post-secondary programs are well-aligned to ensure the sector stays on the map.

At Memorial University’s Fisheries and Marine Institute, an advanced diploma in food safety can develop the critical, technical skills that are key to a career in the manufacturing and processing side of the food industry. Interested in growing the sustainable food production industry? A graduate diploma in marine studies can lead to a career in aquaculture, from production to management to governance. 

Memorial University undergraduate students may be introduced to careers in the agriculture and food industry through one of its WIL micro-placements, which range from two to 10 days of on-the-job experience.

New Brunswick

At New Brunswick’s Mount Allison University, students in environmental science are offered concentrations in aquatic environments, environmental chemistry, environmental modelling and environmental monitoring and management. These science-intensive programs offer a path toward a career in agriculture that is often not recognized.  

With this in mind, CAHRC remains poised to take a central role, building relationships and making connections between the next generation of workers in post-secondary institutions and employers with work-integrated learning opportunities. Collaboration will be key to building and growing our agricultural sector into the future.