OAC’s Kemptville campus funded for skills training

The Ontario government has put up $2 million to extend skills training programs at the Ontario Agricultural College’s (OAC) soon-to-be-shuttered Kemptville campus for the coming academic year.

The province announced the funding Tuesday for the campus to continue to host skills training programs that “support the agricultural sector in eastern Ontario,” including the agricultural equipment technician, heavy-duty equipment technician, truck and coach technician, welder, horticultural technician and dairy herdsperson training programs.

On top of its regular apprenticeship training, the province said, the Kemptville campus will continue to offer pre-apprenticeship programming, plus its co-op diploma apprenticeship program, which allows participants to earn diplomas while completing in-class apprenticeship training.

Students already enrolled in the Kemptville campus’ associate diploma programs in agriculture, equine care and food science will be able to complete their programs at Kemptville for 2014-15.

“We are committed to working with our partners in the agri-food and education sectors to ensure the work the University of Guelph has been doing in Kemptville continues to benefit the region and our province as a whole,” Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a release.

The University of Guelph, which operates OAC, last month announced it would wind down operations at the Kemptville and Alfred satellite campuses, and suspended academic program intake at the two campuses for the fall 2014 semester. [Related story]

Students already registered at both campuses are to complete their programs there, but delivery of academic programs at the two campuses is to halt by the end of 2015, the university said last month.

College Boreal, La Cite collegiale and the Ontario government have since announced plans to ensure students can continue to study at the Alfred campus in 2014-15. [Related story]

The province has also set up an implementation committee to help find a “long-term solution to ensure that programs are offered by francophones, for francophones” at Alfred.

The university’s decision has drawn criticism for leaving eastern Ontario with no post-secondary ag education options east of Guelph.

Kemptville, one of Ontario’s oldest agricultural colleges, about 40 km south of Ottawa, was set up in 1917 to “support and strengthen” farming practices in eastern Ontario. It operates research stations at Winchester, New Liskeard, Verner and Emo. — AGCanada.com Network


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