Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Fruit Production
Attracting and retaining skilled labour


June 21, 2010
By Fruit & Vegetable

Topics

June 17, 2010, Calgary,
Alb – A national forum exploring “Today’s and Tomorrow’s Farms: Employment and
Skills Development” was held recently in Calgary, organized by the Canadian
Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC).



June 17, 2010, Calgary,
Alb – A national forum exploring “Today’s and Tomorrow’s Farms: Employment and
Skills Development” was held recently in Calgary, organized by the Canadian
Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC)
.

Producers from across
the country joined members of general farm organizations, representatives from
post-secondary institutions and government to discuss employment and skills
development issues, particular to primary agriculture. The forum in Calgary was
the culmination of a series of regional meetings held across the country over
the past several months.

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The council also
announced its most recent initiative, the Leadership Assessment project.
Leadership skills are required in the industry to lead the increasingly complex
businesses within the agricultural sector in today's environment. While a range
of successful and much-needed programs is available across Canada, none offer a
focus on developing HR leadership on the farm. As a key component of this
project, CAHRC will work with stakeholders to define and assess the skills and
knowledge necessary for farmers to develop effective HR practices.

Terry Murray, chair of
CAHRC’s board of directors and member of the Wild Rose Agricultural Producers,
stressed the need for leadership within the industry’s current labour market as
well as the need to raise the bar on employment and skills development to
assist in the recruitment and retention of employees.

“Building Canada’s
agriculture workforce requires leadership that is receptive to new ideas and
diverse viewpoints,” he said. “Today’s leaders continue to think strategically
to solve problems, but they also need to be open to learning from the broader
perspectives of others.”

CAHRC’s Labour Market
Information on Recruitment and Retention Report
, published in June 2009,
revealed that primary agricultural producers across Canada will require an
additional 50,000 non-seasonal and 38,000 seasonal workers by the year 2013 and
highlights the urgent challenges faced by one of Canada’s most important
industries.

“Ongoing dialogue with
primary agriculture employers and employees is essential to the work of our
council,” said Danielle Vinette, CAHRC’s executive director. “Through surveys
and interactive sessions with farmers, we learn first-hand about the workforce
needs and recruitment practices of employers. We also gain a clearer
understanding of the skills required of workers for farms of varying sizes and
commodities and how these skills may best be acquired.”