Green Certificate Program offers farm apprenticeship-style opportunities for teens
By Tim Kalinowski
The Green Certificate agricultural training program presents a unique opportunity for farm teens in southern Alberta to earn Grade 12 credits while doing what they love anyway, says the program’s regional co-ordinator Marina Grant.
“Kids who are on the farm are jumping at the chance to sign up on this program,” she confirms. “It is something they are already doing— so why not get credits for something they already do, and they enjoy doing it?”
Grant recently took part in the Career Transitions Epic Day career fair at Exhibition Park in Lethbridge. She says she fielded a lot of questions about the program’s numerous speciality courses, which run the gamut of apprenticeship opportunities in greenhouse operations, cow-calf operations, irrigated cropland management, and even in beekeeping.
“There’s not much we’re missing,” says Grant. “It would be an awesome program if the kids are working on the farm already, or working at the neighbour’s farm. They get a trainer and they work through a manual.
“As they work through the manual, they are earning 16 credits. It’s essentially three, core courses for Grade 12.”
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for these kids to validate what they already do on the farm, she states enthusiastically. “If they are working on a farm, they have great knowledge of the agriculture industry, about handling animals, equipment maintenance and all the things that go into agriculture.”
Grant says the apprenticeshipcourses also give students a leg up on their post-secondary education and career aspirations.
“It looks great if they are applying to colleges and universities,” she says. “The program is not a pre-requisite, but it is recognized if they are applying post-secondary. And if one day they are going off the farm to look for jobs elsewhere, they can prove they already have training; especially in an already competitive job market.
“They are moving forward saying, ‘I am trainable, I have skills, and I am ready to work.’”
“It helps keep kids in agriculture,” she adds, “and it also exposes them to opportunities.”
For more information on the credit courses offered through the Green Certificate Program check out the website at www.agriculture.alberta/greencertificate.