The development of the Farm Tech Apprenticeship stems from a NSFA policy which identifies the lack of skilled labour as a critical issue for Nova Scotia farms. Once the Farm Technician trade is designated, farms will be able to enroll existing employees that are interested in enhancing their skills
Apprenticeship is a form of post-secondary education for both young and mature individuals who want to be certified to work in a skilled trade. It is a combination of on‑the‑job and technical training where skilled trades’ professionals (certified journeypersons) pass on knowledge and skills to learners (apprentices).
Apprenticeships such as Farm Technician begins with an agreement between an apprentice and an employer. The apprentice, who would already be working for a farm, agrees to enter the apprenticeship program in exchange for supervised, on-the-job training and experience, and the opportunity to participate in the necessary technical training. In the workplace, apprentices are supervised by a certified journeyperson who tracks both their hours and competence in the practical skills of the trade. A farmer can apply for and receive a certificate of competence that would allow them to take on the role normally filled by a journeyperson.
Technical training is offered in class and/or online and is administered and arranged by the agency. Upon completion of the apprenticeship program (including technical training, on-the-job hours and competency in workplace practical skills), apprentices are eligible to write the certification exam.
In addition, there are supports for employers, as well as financial supports that are available to assist individuals on their journey from apprentice to certified journeyperson.