CNA breaks ground with new Agriculture Technician (Co-op) program

11/21/2018 11:27:14 AM

College of the North Atlantic (CNA) and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador have unveiled a new two-year Agriculture Technician (Co-op) program to address gaps in available training initiatives and human resources skills demands that currently exist in the province’s agriculture sector. Taking part in the official announcement were; left to right, Merv Wiseman, President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture; Bruce Hollett, CNA President and CEO; Brent Howell, CNA Dean of Engineering and Natural Resources; and Minister Gerry Byrne, Department of Fisheries and Land Resources.

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College of the North Atlantic (CNA) and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador have unveiled a new two-year Agriculture Technician (Co-op) program to address gaps in available training initiatives and human resources skills demands that currently exist in the province’s agriculture sector. 
Attending the program launch at the Corner Brook Civic Centre on Wednesday, Nov. 21 were Fisheries and Land Resources (FLR) Minister Gerry Byrne, CNA President & CEO Bruce Hollett, Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture President Merv Wiseman, as well as industry representatives and invited guests.
Also announced was funding support for the program, which will see a $1.4-million investment over two years through the federal Labour Market Development Agreement as administered by the provincial government and the Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour (AESL).
The provincial government highlighted agriculture in The Way Forward and identified several strategies aimed at enhancing the sector. The Agriculture Work Plan, available at, includes a goal to double the province’s food self-sufficiency to at least 20 per cent by 2022. To help achieve this objective, CNA has entered a partnership with FLR to introduce this training initiative. The college will have access to the department’s resources at both the Pynn’s Brook and Centre for Forestry and Agriculture Development Wooddale sites, which will maximize efficiencies, as well as provide a high-quality, industry-responsive program.
CNA has worked closely with FLR to identify the necessary resources to deliver the program. Graduates of this program will be able to assist in overcoming challenges identified in the sector, including agriculture production; agriculture business development and risk management; human resources and labour; research, innovation and diversification; market access and development; and, processing and value-added agriculture.
“The agriculture industry in Newfoundland and Labrador is evolving,” said Min. Byrne. “On the one hand, we have new entrants and young farmers with innovative ideas, technological skills and all eyes on the future. On the other hand, we have those who grew up farming – they are the visionaries with the homegrown wisdom to take the agriculture industry further. This new Agriculture Technician (Co-op) program brings together industry, researchers and innovators from the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources, College of the North Atlantic and Grenfell Campus who will be essential to the success of the program and to the future agricultural industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. This is how we will address the gaps in training and human resources skills that exist in the agriculture sector. This is another method to move the industry forward.”
As part of CNA’s regular review of its operations and program delivery, the college also worked closely with AESL to explore the added value of offering this program in conjunction with the province’s aim to expand and diversify skills and employment opportunities, as well as labour market demands.
“Through The Way Forward, our government is creating the conditions necessary for new private sector job creation and economic growth,” said Minister Davis. “Building a sustainable economy is our top priority and one of the key requirements to achieve this goal is maintaining a highly skilled workforce, one that can maximize every opportunity. College of the North Atlantic’s Agriculture Technician (Co-op) program will enable graduates to take advantage of exciting opportunities in the growing agriculture industry here at home. I look forward to continuing to work closely with College of the North Atlantic and industry to support growth in priority sectors such agriculture, technology, forestry, mining, and aquaculture.”
Intake for 16 students annually at CNA’s Corner Brook campus will begin in September 2019. The program curriculum is diverse, exposing students to the study of plants and animals, including the biological effects of soil, climate and chemical management activities through course outlines in soil fundamentals, agricultural safety, livestock genetics, and nutrient management. The program will also include a business component, which will be outlined in the course areas of agricultural sales and marketing, land use in Canada, and the business of agriculture, among others.
The offering of this program falls in line with CNA’s desire to be responsive to industry requirements, and ensure programs are relevant and essential for the workforce.
“College of the North Atlantic is excited to be part of this opportunity to expand our School of Engineering Technology and Natural Resources to include the Agriculture Technician (Co-op) diploma program,” said President Hollett. “We continue to approach our college program offerings with a view of ensuring that our graduates are employment-ready and possess the skills and training necessary to make meaningful contributions to the provincial, national and international economy. This significant collaboration serves to solidify our environmental and ecological footprint for generations to come.”
Media Contacts:
Michelle Jesso
Communications Specialist
College of the North Atlantic
Connie Boland
Media Relations Manager
Fisheries and Land Resources
Ryan Crocker
Advanced Education, Skills and Labour
709-729-1795, 725-9595