An apprenticeship-style, workforce development training program serving the agriculture industry.

The Green Certificate Agricultural training Program was developed by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AAF) as a means of developing human resources for Alberta’s agriculture sector.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AAF) works in partnership with the agriculture industry and Alberta Education (via the off-campus education policy) to offer the Green Certificate program to all young Albertans in Grade 10, 11 and 12. Trainees select a specialization and under the guidance of their trainer work towards mastering all of the skills within their training program.

Eligibility

Trainees are eligible if they are:

  • at least 15 years of age
  • enrolled in Grade 10, 11 or 12

Please note: An adult Green Certificate trainee program is no longer offered.

Cost

Effective Sept. 1, 2017, new students enrolling in the Green Certificate program will have their fee paid directly by Alberta Education.

Duration

In general, it takes about one year to achieve completion. In one year, the trainee will experience all of the seasons on a farming operation. Trainees are allowed up to three years to complete their training, if needed.


Specializations

You’ll learn specialized skills in one of eleven areas of study:

Greenhouse

  • employability and safety skills
  • complete seasonal maintenance
  • understand basic botany
  • establish and maintain proper growing conditions
  • prepare to grow plants
  • seed, root and transplant propagation material
  • identify plant problems
  • maintain production quality
  • market and sell product

Cow-calf, feedlot, sheep, swine or dairy

  • employability and safety skills
  • processing and handling systems
  • feeding systems and rations
  • waste management and sanitation
  • health and treatment of livestock
  • reproduction
  • management systems

Equine

  • employability and safety skills
  • production cycles
  • handling, behavior and anatomy
  • facilities and environment
  • maintain equine health
  • administer nutritional programs
  • business management practices

Beekeeping

  • employability and safety skills
  • handling bees
  • maintaining bee health
  • operating bee equipment
  • beekeeping business planning

Field crop or irrigated crops

  • employability and safety skills
  • fertilizing and seeding
  • harvesting, handling and storing grain and forage crops
  • land preparation, field and crop care
  • operating and servicing equipment and facilities
  • management systems

Poultry

  • employability and safety skills
  • industry structure
  • bird biology and animal welfare
  • handle birds and biosecurity
  • barn/facility systems
  • receive chicks and poults
  • raise broilers or turkeys
  • produce broiler hatching eggs or table eggs
  • prepare for ship out
  • clean and maintain facility

 

There are two levels of study: Technician (Level I) and Supervisor (Level II). (Level II is being re-written and is expected to be available in the near future.) 

Can I study more than one area (i.e. cow/calf technician and field crop technician) at once?

We strongly discourage a trainee from doing more than one area at a time. Each area has a large amount of material to cover and should be concentrated on.


Roles

Trainee (student)

  • attend an induction
  • develop a training plan with your trainer
  • train on all the skills in the book
  • search out additional resources with your trainer to complete all skills (workshops, other producers, agri-businesses)
  • perform an on-farm test of skill competencies
  • communicate regularly with your school representative on your progress
  • attend regional training days when offered by your regional coordinator
  • attend the certification test at a regional test centre when scheduled
  • turn in the test report forms to your school representative to receive your credits
  • if incomplete, develop a further training plan with your trainer

Trainers/Parents

  • attend an induction
  • provide a worksite with conditions that support the trainee’s learning
  • develop a training plan with your trainee
  • mentor trainee on all skills
  • use the workbook as a training guide to develop best management practices
  • encourage and support finding additional resources
  • administer an on-farm test with the trainee, signing off on the skill profile sheet where competency has been achieved
  • support the trainee’s attendance at a regional certification test
  • communicate with the school representative on the trainee’s progress

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s in it for me as a high school student?

  • earn up to 16 Grade 12 diploma credits per specialization completed
  • have fun learning more about agriculture in a practical, hands-on environment
  • increase your knowledge and skill level and gain valuable work experience
  • reach further educational goals; many post-secondary agricultural institutions and scholarship programs look favourably upon Green Certificate involvement
  • explore career options in the agriculture industry
  • earn recognition for what you can already do on the farm
  • learn more about crops or animals, agriculture, machinery and farming operations
  • include the experience and training on your resume and add the certificate of completion to your portfolio

Do I really get a “Green Certificate”? 

Yes. You’ll receive a certificate in a folio, along with your completed skill profile sheet. Put the certificate on the wall, show it to future employers or keep in your portfolio. 

How do I find a trainer?

A parent or your employer can act as a trainer. If you don’t live or work on a farm, you can contact your high school coordinator for assistance with finding a trainer and training site.

What experience does a trainer have to have to be eligible to train a student?

A trainer must be an experienced producer that is comfortable and capable of passing on the knowledge outlined in a curriculum book to the student. A trainer must also know his/her limitations and be able to ask another farmer for assistance if need be. The training site must be a safe and viable farming operation. We have resources available for new trainers.

Can I have more than one trainer?

Yes. You can use as many trainers as necessary to complete the program. Each trainer must print their name and sign their initials on the skill profile page.

How am I tested?

Testing occurs three times each year. Each subject area requires a trainee to successfully complete three tests to receive their certificate.

It’s important to bring your book and all of the necessary skills signed off when you come for testing. You will be sent home if you don’t have all the necessary items. No exceptions.

When is testing done?

Testing is generally done in the second half of November, the end of February or the beginning of March, and the end of May or beginning of June in each year.

Where is testing done?

The majority of testing is done on the college campus that hosts the Green Certificate program in your region. For southern Alberta, that’s Lethbridge College.

In some areas, testing is done at a local farm site (i.e. La Crete in the Peace Region and Oyen in the Central Region) to assist students that would otherwise have to travel great distances. Timing of satellite tests may be different than regular testing.

Who is eligible to be a tester?

Testers are experienced farmers and, in some cases, former Green Certificate trainers. Testers are hired for their experience and ability to work with students. We have training available for new testers; contact your regional coordinator for more information.

What format do the tests take?

The tests are oral and practical hands-on tests. Trainees will have to be able to describe and talk about the information in the curriculum book, as well as show a tester using machinery, animals or props provided at the test site.

Does I have to take a test each round?

No. A trainee and trainer determine together if the student is ready. You only take a test if you are ready.

Can I do more than one test each time?

Yes. You can do up to two tests if you and your trainer feel you’re ready. The trainee must let the regional coordinator know ahead of time so that they can be scheduled for two tests.

What happens if don’t complete a test?

You’ll receive feedback from the tester as to where you need more work and where to get more information. You can return at the next round of testing and redo the test without academic or financial penalty.

Does a trainee have to do the book in alphabetic order?

No. A trainee can start with any letter that they wish. A trainee and trainer should look at what is required in the curriculum book and work it into the annual cycle of their farm.

Does a trainee get paid while they are participating in the Green Certificate program?

A trainee can be paid or unpaid for their work while on the Green Certificate program. It is up to the trainer and trainee to determine if they are getting paid.

Is the trainee covered by WCB while they are on the Green Certificate Program?

Yes. A trainee is covered by WCB. If a trainee is hurt, they should first seek medical attention. A student trainee should then contact their school’s coordinator and inform them of the injury. The school will give them the appropriate forms.

Is the trainer covered by WCB while training the student?

No. The trainer is not covered by WCB – only the trainee is covered.