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News Release: New pilot tackles AgTech skills gaps in the Prairies

Today, Palette Skills launched an exciting new pilot project aimed at meeting reskilling 50 workers into growing and high-demand careers in Saskatchewan’s burgeoning AgTech space. Funded by Protein Industries Canada, this pilot will engage high-growth companies in the province’s AgTech space to uncover their most pressing talent challenges, and then develop a reskilling program that retrains workers into high-demand jobs within these companies.

Regina, Saskatchewan, January 12, 2022 – Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sectors are a major driver of wealth and jobs – creating $100 billion in economic activity and employing more than two million Canadians each year. Despite this, the growth of these sectors continue to be threatened by the lack of skilled and well-trained talent entering high-demand jobs and careers in this space. Today, Palette Skills, a national non-profit, launched an exciting new pilot project aimed at meeting this challenge by reskilling 50 workers into growing and high-demand careers in Saskatchewan’s burgeoning AgTech space.

“Ensuring that Canada has a secure and sustainable agriculture sector with an adaptable, and highly skilled workforce is essential in driving our economic recovery post-pandemic,” said Palette Skills Executive Director, AJ Tibando. “The pandemic forced many companies in the region to change their businesses, modify their supply chains and adopt new technologies. These companies have been leaders in adopting advanced technologies and pivoting during the pandemic, and we’re excited about the opportunity to help them access the skilled talent needed to adapt and thrive in this new and challenging environment.” 

Funded by Protein Industries Canada, this pilot will engage high-growth companies in the province’s AgTech space to uncover their most pressing talent challenges, and then develop a reskilling program that retrains workers into high-demand jobs within these companies. Palette will leverage it’s successful track record and expertise in running rapid reskilling programs in growing areas of the knowledge economy, such as cybersecurity and B2B sales, to guide the development of this new pilot program.

“The University of Saskatchewan provides a pipeline of research and trained members of the workforce, empowering the agricultural industry to feed the world,” said USask Vice-President Research Baljit Singh. “This partnership is an example of how our institution is focused on innovation and creating new paths of discovery by working with government and industry partners.”

To deliver the pilot, Palette will partner with leading post-secondary, research and economic development institutions, including the University of Saskatchewan, the Enterprise & Machine Learning Initiative and Economic Development Regina.

“Agriculture and food represent a major multi-sectoral opportunity for Regina, and the province as a whole, and are key in meeting our massive potential in developing a skilled and educated workforce and providing access to research and expertise” says Tina Beaudry-Mellor, Economic Development Regina’s Chief Economic Growth Officer. “Palette’s goals align perfectly with Regina’s Ag and Food Innovation Strategy. We are proud to partner with Palette and look forward to the opportunities this pilot will provide.”

By working with these leaders in the region, the program aims to support the needs of AgTech companies that are poised to scale into new global markets yet face acute talent challenges that prevent them from doing so.

“EMILI is pleased to support this important project with Palette Skills. In order to realize the full potential Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industry will require more people with diverse skillsets and backgrounds”, said Jacqueline Keena, Managing Director of the Enterprise & Machine Learning Initiative (EMILI). “Reskilling and skills top-up programs are an important way to bring in people already in the labour force and attract people with much-needed skills including technology and data science capabilities.“

About Palette Skills: 

Palette Skills is a national nonprofit funded in part by the Government of Canada. Palette Skills helps organizations access untapped labour markets and create pathways to career growth through demand-driven, industry-led accelerated skilling programs. Job placement is our number one metric.

Media Contact:

Katherine Belisle
Katherine@paletteskills.org 
Digital Marketing Specialist
(613) 898-1919

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