New mentoring program hopes to grow more leaders in cropping sector

A new program looking to foster leaders in the cropping sector in Alberta has been launched.

The Advancing Ag Future Leaders Program put together by the Alberta Wheat Commission and Alberta Barley is now looking for young professionals to apply to be a part of the initiative.

The Alberta Wheat Commission’s Kevin Bender tells Rural Roots Canada the program will pair these young agri-professionals with a mentor.

“It is open to young agri-professionals with an aspiration of being employed, anywhere in the ag field, ages 18 – 35 and it can be right out of high school or someone who is looking at a second career, and it is quite diverse,” says Bender adding,  “We’ve said it is mainly the cropping sector, but we are open to other avenues as well in the agriculture sector.”

Bender says they are excited about the program.

“I think there is always a need for that, it’s part of our long term sustainability plan and strategic goals and priorities to train future leaders for agriculture so we saw this as a great opportunity to do that.”

He says they are looking to grow the program.

“This year we are planning to choose eight for the program and in future years we will bump that up to 15.  Then, because it is a new program we are going to have to customize and make adjustments as we go, it may expand to more than that, we don’t know that, we’ll see how the uptake is and how successful it is.”

The program will also include one or two workshop-style forums for the mentees that will include break-out groups, keynote speakers and professional development opportunities.

Bender says each mentee will be custom fit with a mentor that fits their needs.

“The mentors are not selected yet, first it is the mentees that are going to be applying for this.  Once we have them selected we will look at what their goals and aspirations are and we will try to find mentors to pair up with them for the next 10 to 12 months.”

Bender says there has already been great interest from sponsors.

Applications are being accepted until March 31.  For more information and to apply click here.