Monday, 19 December 2016 08:00

Sustainable Agric. Education Partnership about offering new opportunities for those interested

Written by  Stephanie Labbe
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The Sustainable Agriculture Education Partnership (SAEP) program was created earlier this year between the Town of Magrath and Westwind School Division along with representatives from leading agriculture corporations, the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College.

Wade Alston, secretary treasurer for the Town of Magrath, says this partnership was created for two reasons. The first was to encourage young people to consider careers in the rapidly-changing and technology-driven agriculture sector. The second reason was to promote education and economic diversification in this sector in southern Alberta and through the rest of western Canada.
“It is conceived by its municipal, school division and corporate participants in response to a United Nations-sponsored study entitled
‘Solutions for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems – Technical Report for the Post 2015 Development Agenda,” says Alston.
Magrath, Cardston County and Westwind School Division are the target areas. Officials hope to give people the opportunity for work experience and economic development programs in the regions.
“The benefits and goals of the partnership are to develop a grassroots, educational, work experience and economic-development programs on a pilot basis that will progressively benefit the agricultural economy of its initially targeted region,” adds Alston.
He explains once the value and metrics of this primary and secondary school as well as adult education-oriented model and its deliverables are confirmed, it will then be extended into other rural regions as both demand and resources permit.
“The initial focus of the partnership is the development of curricula and work experience programs that will excite young people about careers in this rapidly-changing segment of our economy,” says Alston.
Currently, the Magrath High School is undergoing modernization and the Standard Career and Technology Studies facility under construction near the school, will be the home of the partnership for both during and after completion of the modernization.
The science and business of agriculture in rural Canada have been seeing some major issues and this partnership is hoped to create opportunities to address those issues.
“This Sustainable Agriculture Education Partnership provides a unique opportunity to harness municipal, corporate and educational interests to address the major issues that are impacting the science and business of agriculture in rural Canada and throughout the world,” adds Alston.
Currently, this is a pilot project.
It’s expected to eventually serve as a prototype for the rest of western Canada and beyond for other initiatives.

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