Manitoba high school students experience a day of agriculture trades training at Assiniboine Community College

Ag Bootcamp

Assiniboine Community College recently welcomed nine high school learners to experience agriculture-related trades training and career opportunities.

These students from Dauphin Regional Comprehensive Secondary School, Grandview School, Goose Lake High School (Roblin), Birtle Collegiate, and Strathclair School spent the day with current Assiniboine students and instructors discovering what a career in the mechanical trades in agriculture may look like.

“It was a very hands-on day and a fantastic way to introduce and make students aware of some of the pathways that are options for them going forward—especially in the ag industry where there’s a huge need.” said Kevin Poirier, Chairperson of Mechanical Trades at Assiniboine.

If you go the path of agricultural trades training, there’s a good chance that you’re going to get gainful employment upon graduation.

Because of the need for skilled workers in agriculture-related trades jobs and more specifically career opportunities for Agricultural Equipment Technicians (AET), Western Equipment Dealers Association (WEDA) initiated this ‘trades boot camp’ program where post-secondary institutes introduce high school students to the related career opportunities. The program was originally launched in Saskatchewan as part of a broader high school distance learning course in coordination with SunWest Distance Learning Centre. The course requires high school students to complete 50 hours of online curriculum, including access to online instructors, followed by the boot camp where students experience the College environment and work alongside instructors and AET apprentices. Students complete the course with 50 hours of hands-on experience in the service shop at their local farm equipment dealership.

“We are excited to bring the program to Manitoba and to extend our partnership with Assiniboine,” said Larry Hertz, Vice President – Canada for the Western Equipment Dealers Association. “We’ve always had a good connection to post-secondary and industry, but we’ve never had a connection to the high schools so that’s the beauty of this program. We can cast a wide net to encourage students in high school to explore a career at a farm equipment dealership as an Agricultural Equipment Technician, then students come to the college for the boot camp to experience a snapshot day of what it would be like to go into the related programs.”

Hertz says there are over 400 agriculture equipment dealers across Western Canada. Along with working to help fill employment needs for ag employers like these dealerships, the boot camp experience benefits high school students who are considering trades training.

“Being a part of this day helped me, because it gave me an idea of what college will be like,” said Domunique Lasko, a grade 11 student from Goose Lake High School.

“It would be great to see these students come through Assiniboine’s doors again in a couple years,” said Poirier. “And we’d like to help more high school students find the trades path by hopefully making this an annual event.”