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Job site to focus on entry-level ag work

Calgary project management and recruitment firm AgCall has launched a new web site aimed at attracting new talent into the agriculture-related labour force.

The goal of the new site, called IgniteAg, will initially be to “expand the pool of candidates with an initial focus on entry level positions” — a pool that’s now too small to meet industry needs, AgCall said in a release Tuesday.

“We want to help make sure graduates of agriculture programs stay in the industry,” AgCall vice-president Arron Madson said in the release. However, he said, the company wants to look deeper.

“We want to talk to students with rural backgrounds who are not in agriculture programs. We also think there’s great potential with students who do not have a rural background to apply their education and skills to the agriculture industry. And, we want to help the industry facilitate bringing new Canadians into the agriculture workforce.”

The company said IgniteAg is now working with industry, government agencies and post-secondary institutions to secure funding. A pilot program, to be launched in September, will taregt primarily students in their final years of post-secondary school, AgCall said.

However, “we also plan to talk to recent graduates, attend trade fairs and engage others who may be interested in switching gears into agriculture. Essentially we want to talk to those whose career paths may still be undecided and guide them into the agriculture industry,” Madson said.

The company said IgniteAg will also look to generate interest through “social media” (sites such as Facebook and Myspace), special events and “skill-specific” competitions. It also plans to host career forums and work on mentorships and ambassadorships, and said it will work with the ag industry to “identify needs and pool applications to bring immigrant workers to Canada.”

Lance Johnson, IgniteAg’s executive director, said in the release that agriculture has an “image problem” with young adults.

“We need to shift the perception of what agriculture is in the minds of youth,” he said. “We don’t want to push them into agriculture, we want to attract and pull them in. This group is increasingly influenced by social media and non-traditional approaches. Their peer influence is one part of what we hope will help sell agriculture to them.”

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