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RBC Becomes Inaugural Funding Partner for Dalhousie University Agricultural Internship Program
TRURO – Nov 16, 2018. Students enrolled at Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Agriculture now have access to a new program to better prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow thanks to a $250,000 donation from RBC Foundation. The RBC Agricultural Internship Program combines classroom study with 12-week work integrated learning opportunities, as well as mentoring from faculty members and industry leaders. Launched in spring 2018, 51 students participated in the foundational year of the RBC Agricultural Internship Program. The investment is part of RBC’s Future Launch Program which aims to empower Canadian youth with the job experience, networking opportunities and skills development required to succeed in the new world of work.
“We are very excited about the launch of the RBC Agricultural Internship program,” said Bruce Young, RBC Vice President, Commercial Financial Services, Cape Breton and Eastern Nova Scotia, who graduated from what was then the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Economics and Business. “In this time of unprecedented economic and technological change in the agriculture sector, Canada’s future prosperity will depend on our young people and their ability to lead us forward. Through this great partnership with the Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture, more than 300 youth will have the opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge and experiences necessary to drive agriculture innovation and productivity.”
Agricultural and agri-food careers are broad and reach beyond traditional farm work, so the program seeks to place students in diverse settings related to their specific career interests. Worksites included Agriculture & Agrifood Canada, Cavendish Farms, McCain Foods, Restaurant Brands International, Kisserup International Trade Roots Inc., Atlantic Dairy Tech, Inc., Country Ribbon, Atlantic Gold Corporations, NSDA, and many more. The hope is that as the program grows, more agri-businesses will participate. Students have been learning and working in food production, niche start-ups, horticulture and botanical gardens, agricultural equipment and supplies, dairy farming, environmental impact, soil management, finance, research and development and quality management.
“As the only agricultural education and research institution in the Atlantic Provinces, the Faculty of Agriculture’s students are the next generation of our region’s agricultural leaders. Industry, academia and students all see the value in exposing students to real-world agricultural challenges and experiences to develop their skills and leadership opportunities.” said David Gray, Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, and Principal, Dalhousie Agricultural Campus. “We’re so fortunate to have partners like RBC who share our commitment to invest in agricultural-based student learning. The successes of the first cohort of students demonstrates that a work-integrated learning experience in your field can be an important bridge between study and profession. Our students have really benefitted from this internship program, and we hope more businesses will sign on.”
Julia Roach is a fourth-year student of Dalhousie University’s International Food Business, a double degree program that includes a year of international study and two work terms: one in North America and one in Europe. She is a member of one of the first cohorts benefiting from the supports sponsored by RBC. While studying agricultural sustainability and food security in Dalhousie’s Environmental Sustainability and International Development programs, Julia became interested in conserving resources so that we maintain them for other species, our environment and future generations. Shifting her academic pursuits to The Faculty of Agriculture gave her the opportunity to study the business of food production on a global scale.
"My summer internship at the Cavendish Farm plant in New Annan, Prince Edward Island was an incredibly valuable component of my university career,” said Julia. “From my role in the quality assurance department, I was able to gain experience in my field of interest, solve real-world problems, and grow as a young professional. And I now have a clearer idea of where I want to be after graduation, and the goals I would like to achieve.”
Work-integrated learning provides students an opportunity to apply the theories they learn in the classroom to real work situations and environments. The range of focus areas—including quality control, environmental impacts and pesticide use, innovations in dairy farming, food safety, and harvesting—represents the enriching experience students can expect from Dalhousie University’s Agricultural Campus.
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