Ontario Government invests over $300,000 to cultivate promising careers in the Dairy Industry

More online learning opportunities are coming to the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown campus – this time, it’s for students interested in dairy farming.

The Government of Ontario is committing more than $300,000 to support young individuals for the two-year Dairy Herdsperson Apprenticeship (DHA) program with distance education options. This initiative includes distance education alternatives designed to cater to students who cannot commit to full-time in-person studies or are currently employed on farms throughout the province.

Brett Shepherd, Director of the Ridgetown Campus at the University of Guelph, was joined by Monte McNaughton, the Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training, and Skills Development, to unveil the Government’s Skills Development Fund at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus.

The $700 million initiative aims to foster innovative programs that bridge the gap for job seekers, equipping them with the essential skills and training necessary to secure well-paying careers close to their homes.

“The DHA program is a great step forward to meet students’ needs, especially when balancing work and school. Online learning will be combined with on-site modules offering more students the opportunity to complete the dairy apprentice training. We are excited to be working with DFO on building industry expertise across the province,” said Shepherd.

Students learn about animal health, routine herd maintenance and nutrition, and operating farm equipment. The curriculum entails 480 hours of classroom training, hearing directly from industry experts about milking, feeding, animal health, reproduction, and other dairy-related skills

“My favorite part of the program is how hands-on it is. We are usually in the fields with the calves for a week, and then we learn online, which prepares us for the in-person sessions,” Mckenna Morrison, a second-year student, said. “Everything has a connection from online to the in-person experience and helps me determine a lot about the calf’s health which I now can also determine how the health of the calf is and what it needs and requires to be healthy.”

“We encourage the campus to get larger and larger, as the Municipality of Chatham is also a partner in this project because of their contributions to the economic growth of Chatham-Kent. The Ridgetown Campus stands as an important ally to Chatham-Kent,” said Mayor Darrin Canniff.