With summer well underway, students and young agronomists enrolled in WinField United Canada’s annual Agronomist and Intern Training Program (AITP) have been busy field scouting, learning about agronomic practices and crop protection products, engaging with customers and helping support their retail team.
Starting in 2016, the AITP program exists to provide experiential learning opportunities, a robust and successful summer intern experience and to prepare participants for success when they are ready to transition into a full-time role. The program has continued to grow each year from 16 participants in year one to 57 enrolled this year.
The monthly program activities include a mix of investigative or action challenges, self-directed online learning modules and in-the-field tasks.
“We are helping participants build the skills necessary to be effective team members and understand what is expected of them in their position,” shares Trish Kroeger, academy lead with WinField United Canada.
The opportunity to demonstrate their learnings is another growth opportunity for participants in the program.
“Seeing all the students share what they're doing on social media or at grower events, creates excitement around the program. We provide different challenges and activities for them to do that are fun and bring some sort of excitement to their day. It's great to see when they share it out on Twitter and they're proud to showcase what they're doing as part of the program.”
AITP provides in-depth agronomic and skills training while also expanding the participant’s network across Western Canada.
“I'm looking forward to our July in-person events,” says Kroeger. “The networking portion was so important to include. Getting to know people and feel like you are part of a larger community, not just your single retail located in rural Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba.
“It's really about connecting with different people who have experienced the same challenges, who understand what they are faced with on a day-to-day basis and getting to know those people so that they can expand their network.”
This year WinField United Canada offered a contest to send two AITP participants to the Advancing Women in Ag Conference in Calgary, AB. in June. The conference provided opportunities to connect with industry professionals, AITP participant Taylor McGillis with Shur-Gro Farm Services stated “I loved getting the opportunity to meet like-minded women that work in the ag industry. It really broadened my understanding of how much support there is out there in the ag world.” Fellow winner and AITP participant, Adrianna Graham with G-Macs Ag Team shared that the winding personal journeys of industry leaders encouraged her, as she is in her early career knowing that the future pathway may not always be straight, however, the turns and bumps ahead will have many useful experiences and benefits for her along the way.
“Being able to network with our team and with such a broad group of women was so valuable for a young person in the industry. I think that's what the students look for when they participate in programs like this, is getting to know different people and building that network around them for the future,” says Kroeger.
AITP participants will be coming to Saskatoon in July to take part in agronomic training hosted at WinField United Canada’s Answer Plot and participate in a spray clinic. The agronomy packed day includes training on:
- Soil texture and the importance of soil testing
- Effective nodulation
- Identifying pulse diseases
- Crop staging
- PGR application timing
- Getting the most out of your glufosinate application
- Insect scouting
- Canola disease assessment
- Weed ID
- Herbicide symptomology
“We are proud of the engagement and results of AITP. The program goes a long way in making our owners a first-choice employer when it comes to retaining and recruiting summer interns and new graduates,” Kroeger explains.
“The program provides managers with orientation and professional development resources to ensure that the agronomists and interns get the best start in their employment and remain engaged. It also allows managers to provide agronomic and professional development training to their staff with guided assistance.”
A special thank you goes out to our partners for their continued support of AITP and agronomic contributions:
- Canola Council of Canada
- Rigas Karamanos
Interested in learning more about the program or participating in 2023? Contact Trish Kroeger, academy lead at 306-361-3903 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Featuring: Trish Kroeger, academy lead – WinField United Canada