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Networking event to help solve tech talent crunch in agriculture

Get ready for a chance to meet great new talent in the world of precision agriculture!

Networking event to showcase agriculture technology talent in Saskatchewan

There’s never been a better time to build great talent in digital agriculture. That’s the message from Palette Skills, a national nonprofit and a leader when it comes to upskilling Canada’s labour force for the new economy. For Palette Skills, and for its ecosystem of partners in the digital agriculture sphere, upskilling must prioritize smart farming jobs and build talent ready to implement innovative solutions for food and agriculture, both in Saskatchewan, and across the country. The good news is that this critical talent is here, and it’s ready to go. 

Beginning in February, Palette Skills will be hosting two virtual networking events designed to connect agritech talent with innovative companies ready to hire. The networking event features participants in Palette Skills’ Automation and Digital Agriculture Specialist program. With one cohort of dazzling talent already graduated from the program, and another in the pipeline, Palette Skills’ virtual networking event will bring an exciting group of talented graduates and hiring partners together in one space.

The Digital Agriculture Specialist program launched last spring in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan, Protein Industries Canada, and EMILI, the Enterprise Machine Intelligence and Learning Initiative.

Program participants who complete the intensive learning experience will be ready to take on a number of roles, including:

● Sustainability Manager (agri-food sector)
● Precision Agronomist
● Ag Data Scientist
● Digital Ag Advisor
● Communications Production Specialist
● Sales Agrologist
● Production Manager
● Automation Operations Supervisor for Grains

The program—and the networking event—will be welcome news for leaders and innovators in Saskatchewan’s agrifood sector, who already know that the province and Canada face a critical labour shortage when it comes to farming and food. Indeed, some analysts predict that by 2029, the province will struggle to fill as many as 12,000 jobs. It’s a perfect storm of factors that include changing demographics and workforce retirement. Throw in limited access to foreign workers, add an already tight labour market, and the picture for tech talent in digital agriculture looks a lot more serious.  

Why digital agriculture is the future 

So what’s the deal with digital and precision agriculture, and why is building capacity in the field so important? To begin with, we know that creating a sustainable and globally competitive agricultural system requires embracing technology like never before. With challenges such as climate change, supply chain disruption, and changing consumer demand, bringing technology and agriculture closer together will help farmers respond to climate change, reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint, and help ensure a resilient and inclusive economy. With so much at stake, solving the agriculture tech talent crunch has to be at the top of everyone’s agenda.

Enter Palette Skills and its flagship Automation and Digital Agriculture Specialist program. It’s the result of a close collaboration between the national nonprofit, leading agtech enterprises, and the University of Saskatchewan. The 8-week intensive learning experience quickly brings talented people to the forefront of automation and digitization technologies in agricultural production and processing. For employers, the two networking events will be a great chance to meet the next generation of agtech leaders in a dynamic and interactive virtual space. For candidates looking to build careers in the growing agtech sector, it will be an opportunity to communicate their passion, and make connections with employers from across the province.

Sourcing diverse talent

Ednali Zehavi manages the innovative program for Palette Skills, and emphasizes that the tech talent in the program is not only on the ground right now in Saskatchewan, but that it’s diverse. 

Zehavi says: “Our program is created by industry for industry. We work closely with our employer partners to ensure this program delivers needed talent to the industry through engagement opportunities. Employers are excited to network with our participants through the program, and share expertise that helps grow Saskatchewan’s talent base in digital agriculture.”

Ruhid Mirzayev, one of the program’s recent graduates, says he’s been inspired by the experience of learning from leading agtech enterprises who’ve chosen to participate in the program.

“I really want to dive into the ag industry and learn from professionals,” says Ruhid. “I’d like to grow my expertise in the field and take more responsibility in my role. Ultimately I am excited to see more farmers work with data-driven solutions.”

Berokh Hagdan, another recent graduate from the upskilling program, is excited to be a role model for others hoping to get into the world of smart farming. She wants to inspire other talented immigrants to the province, and be an influencer in Saskatchewan’s agriculture scene.

Sign up and meet great talent

Palette Skills invites you to meet the next generation of Digital Agriculture specialists by attending one of two upcoming virtual networking events. The events take place on Remo, an easy-to-use virtual networking platform, and there is no fee to participate. 

The first networking event will be held on Friday, February 10, 2023 (9am-12pm CST or 1pm-4pm CST), and the second takes place on Friday, March 3, 2023 (9am-12pm CST or 1pm-4pm CST). Some of the companies already signed up to attend are OneCup AI, Adaptive Agriculture Solutions Inc.Bayer, Nutrien, Ukko Agro, Ground Truth Ag, Global Ag Risk Solutions, Viterra, NRGene Canada, Federated Cooperatives Ltd., Ag-Quest, Pattison Agriculture, and Seed Source Inc.

Palette Skills is a leader when it comes to designing industry-led upskilling programs that connect talent to businesses ready to hire. And to make sure that the Digital Agriculture Specialist program continues to build great tech talent, Palette Skills wants to hear from industry players. If you have something to say about the future of digital agriculture, Palette Skills wants to know. Getting involved—either by attending networking events, or speaking to participants in Palette Skills programs is a great way to share passion and your enthusiasm for innovation in agriculture. Along with its partners, Palette Skills believes that sharing industry knowledge is an easy way to help emerging talent, and build capacity across the province.  

Interested? Sign up for one of two networking events, or get in touch with our employer partner coordinator Colby Crawford (colby@paletteskills.org) and learn how to get involved!

 

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Eligibility for SalesCamp

To be admitted and accepted into the program, you must be:
  • Be actively searching for work and ready to take on employment opportunities tech sales.
  • Be able to legally work in Canada. 
  • Not be a full-time student.
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  • Have least 3 years of formal work experience in Canada or abroad.
  • Have an English language rating of CLB Level 8, or IELTS of 6.5 overall.
  • Be available for Zoom sessions, many of which will be full-time.
  • Be able and committed to attending networking day events as part of regular programming.
  • Be comfortable using technology and learning online.
  • Live or intend to live in the province where the program is being offered.
  • Have a reliable internet connection, device, and a quiet environment for virtual learning.
  • Be committed and able to join the Canadian workforce full-time immediately following the program.
You may not be eligible if:
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  • You are not actively searching or able to start a job in business-to-business tech sales.
  • You are not able to legally work in Canada.
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