Participants in Alberta Green Certificate agricultural programs will have course fees covered by the provincial government as of this fall.
The green certificate program was established in 1975 through the agriculture department to address labour market needs for the sector.
Students can enroll in 10 programs:
• beekeeper production technician
• cow-calf beef production technician
• dairy production technician
• equine technician
• feedlot beef production technician
• field crop production technician
• greenhouse technician
• irrigated field crop production technician
• sheep production technician
• swine production technician
In an announcement today, Alberta Education Minister David Eggen said the government has earmarked up to $400,000 annually to cover course enrolment fees for students.
About 750 Alberta students participate in the program each year, which qualifies them for the first level of various apprenticeships.
The government said it hopes eliminating course fees will remove a barrier to working in the agriculture sector.
As it stands, some schools cover course fees and some do not, so now the government will cover them consistently, said Eggen.
The education department will partner with the agriculture department in providing the funds.
Alberta Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier said at today’s news event that the funds are expected to help school boards continue to provide agricultural related education and potentially expand the program.
“Our agriculture industry is known for a high quality agriculture product and Alberta farmers are among the most innovative and well educated in the world,” said Carlier.
“I want to ensure that we continue to support this knowledge transfer process to help provide our next generation of agri-business people with the skills they need to be successful. We need to continue to encourage new entrants into the agriculture industry to help ensure its continued success.”
The green certificate program offers students hands-on learning and uses community experts and volunteers to deliver training.
“The green certificate program is designed to connect students with our agricultural industry, and I am pleased to provide funding that ensures students no longer have to pay fees to access this outstanding program,” said Eggen.