This post is sponsored by the Canadian Agriculture Human Resources Council
There's a saying in agriculture: Free Help Ain't Cheap. Cue hilariously terrifying memories of friends and family "helping" at branding or during a herd move, or heaven forbid, in a sorting pen. Enough said.
The ag sector is struggling when it comes to finding labour- whether its beef processing plants, ag professionals, full-time farm labourers or seasonal ranch hands. Its hard to afford them with increasing inflation in an industry where we are price-takers, not price-askers, and its even more difficult to find them. Living rurally can pose a lot of logistical problems- where do we house workers if we can attract them? Usually it means bucking up and paying for residences and/or transportation on top of wages. In an industry with such tight margins, its often just too big of an obstacle to face when there are tasks piling up behind you. Have you said to yourself...
"By the time I train a new employee to do, I could have done it myself. I'll just work harder."
Put your hand up if this sounds familiar? GUILTY.
From two ranchers that each have full-time ranching jobs on top of full-time day jobs in agriculture, we are very familiar with this concept. In fact in the past we have hired permanent and part time staff to help with our businesses. We've also utilized some the past AB Agriculture seasonal staff grants. And while we don't have any staff right now (at least on the payroll, your own children don't count, do they?), we sure should (she says as she drinks her 3rd pot of coffee for the day). Taking the time to train new staff members, paired with the cost of all that training, on top of the risk that they hop fences to a higher paying position elsewhere is enough to put any potential postings at bay.
Enter the AgriWorkplace Skills Training Program
$5,000 per trained employee wage sudsidy
This new pilot program from the Canadian Agriculture Human Resource Council is offering practical, targeted training for primary ag employees. Not only will they give you e-learning and on-the-job training through workshops, webinars and videos, they will PAY you and your employers to do it!
Through their AgriAcheive Training Tracking Platform, employers can schedule industry-specific training and track their employees progress online. After the training period and sessions completed in the 10 major task areas, the employer can apply for a $5,000 wage subsidy for each employee who completes the training, or $7,500 subsidy if your employee is part of an underrepresented group. They also offer wrap-around supports like childcare and transportation costs, bonuses for completing the training and continued professional development opportunities.
You all know I love a good grant/funding opportunity. Plus, compared to some of the ag grants out there (ahem, OFCAF), the paperwork is pretty minimal! So here's my advice. APPLY NOW! Its still just a pilot program, meaning there are a limited number of spots available and its all first come, first serve. Now I know, filling out paperwork isn't most farmers and ranchers favorite thing to do, BUT, if I have learned anything from my career in ranching its this:
"Long gone are the days in agriculture where you can just put your head down, bust your butt and make a profit. Farming and ranching are businesses. Far more of your profit will be influenced by your work in the office, rather than in the saddle, corrals or tractor."
And if that doesn't convince you, take a peep and what my dear friend Jill Burkhardt had to say about the program, then head to Canadian Ag HR Council website to apply asap!
A Blog About Our Life, Love & Lessons Learned on the Ranch
in the media