Specialized High Skills Major Programs (SHSM)

 An SHSM is a ministry-approved specialized program that allows students to focus their learning on a specific economic sector while meeting the requirements to graduate from secondary school. It also assists in their transition after graduation to apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace. SHSM programs that link directly and indirectly to the agriculture industry include:

  •           Agriculture
  •           Business
  •           Energy
  •           Environment
  •           Health and Wellness
  •           Horticulture and Landscaping
  •          Hospitality and Tourism
  •          Information and Communications
  •          Technology
  •          Manufacturing
  •          Non-profit
  •          Transportation
  • Ask your teachers about opportunities available at your school!


The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program allows you the opportunity to explore and work in apprenticeship while you are still in high school.  In the program, you work towards on Ontario Secondary Diploma while obtaining training required for a skilled trade.  There are various pathways to apprenticeships that you can find out more about on www.oyap.com. Here are a few of the agriculture related apprenticeships available:

  • Agriculture Dairy Herdsperson
  • Farm Equipment Technician
  • Agriculture Fruit Grower
  • Agriculture Swine Herdsperson
  • Baker
  • Chef
  • Horse Groom
  • Horse Harness Maker
  • Horticultural Technician
  • Blacksmith
  • Welder
  • Heavy Equipment Operator
  • Agricultural Equipment Technician
  • Turf Equipment Technician

Diploma Programs

There are many opportunities to obtain a diploma related to agriculture and food processing.  Visit http://www.cadap-apdac.ca/ or www.ontariocolleges.ca to view more programs offered across Canada.  Here is a sample of programs offered in Ontario:

  • Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning www.conestogac.on.ca
    • Food Processing Technician
  • Durham College of Applied Arts and Technology www.durhamcollege.ca
    • Food and Farming
  • Niagara College Canada www.niagaracollege.ca
    • Horticulture and Agribusiness studies
    • Winery, Viticulture and Brewery Studies
  • Ridgetown Campus (University of Guelph) www.ridgetownc.uoguelph.ca
    • Agriculture
    • Horticulture
    • Environment Management
    • Veterinary Technology 
  • Sheridan College Institue of Technology and Advanced Learning www.sheridanc.on.ca
    • Animal Care
    • Veterinary Technician
  • University of Guelph - Ontario Agricultural College www.uoguelph.ca/oac
    • Turfgrass Management 


agritalent-smallCheck out Agritalent.ca to learn more about opportunities in agriculture and search for a career that will suit you! 

Next Steps

 If you ask people in the industry what suggestions they have for students interested in a career in agriculture they say:

  • Find a job or volunteer in the area that interests you
  • get "on farm" experience to help understand the industry
  • Find a mentor currently in the career that interests you and ask questions.  Perhaps introduce yourself at an agricultural event.  See www.ontag.farms.com/events for events near you. 
  • Join 4-H - an organization which will help you build skills and relationships that will help you pursue a career in agriculture.  See http://www.4-hontario.ca/ for more information

Also, check out scholarship opportunities such as the one provided by the Canadian Agri-Business Education Foundation: http://www.cabef.org/

To view agri-food job postings to see what opportunities exists check out these sites:


The training facility at the Craig Richardson Institute of Food Processing Technology at Conestoga College.

Craig Richardson Institute2

Farms at Work

Farms at Work

Farms at Work offers on-farm extended field courses for new and diversifying farm businesses as well as farm business planning.


Degree Programs

Many jobs within the agricultural sector require a Bachelor's or Master's degree.  You might choose to take a degree in business, marketing, science, etc and pursue a career in agriculture.  Many universities also offer agriculture and Agri-food specific programs that will help you gain the competitive edge and specific knowledge that will help you be successful in your career in agriculture.  Here are some of the schools which offer Agri-food specific programs:

  • University of Guelph - Ontario Agricultural Collegewww.uoguelph.ca/oac/oac
    • Animal Biology
    • Animal Science
    • Crop, Horticulture and Turfgrass Science
    • Ecology
    • Envioronmental Economics and Policy
    • Environmental Management
    • Environmental Sciences
    • Equine Management
    • Food and Agricultural Business
    • Food Science
    • Landscape Architecture
    • Organic Agriculture
    • Plant Science 
  • University of Alberta - Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science www.afns.ualberta.ca
    • Agricultural and Resource Economics
    • Range and Pasture Management
    • Food Safety and Quality
    • Nutrition and Food 
  • University of Saskatchewan - College of Agriculture and Bioresources www.agbio.usask.ca
    • Animal Bioscience
    • Renewable Resource Management
    • Soil Science
    • Plant Ecology 
  • Dalhousie University – Faculty of Agriculture www.dal.ca/faculty/agriculture.html
    • Aquaculture
    • Integrated Environmental Management
    • International Food Business
    • Pre-Veterinary Medicine 
  • McGill University – Agricultural and Environmental Sciences www.mcgill.ca/macdonald
    • Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
    • Food Science
    • Nutritional Sciences
    • Bioresource Engineering

...And More! Visit Canadian Universities and Colleges to find a variety of schools offering programs related to agriculture. 

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Univeristy of Guelph Professor Alfons Weersink teaches a class of Bachelor of Commerce students majoring in Food and Agricultural Business