Groups partner with school board for ThinkAG Career Competition

ELORA – Grade 8 and 9 students from across the Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) explored a variety of career pathways in Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food sector at an event here last week.

About 200 students attended the day-long “ThinkAG Career Competition” on Nov. 23 at the Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) building in Elora beside the GrandWay Events Centre.

The event was organized by AgScape, GRAS and the UGDSB.

“This is actually the first year that we have partnered with [GRAS] to do it here,” AgScape finance and operations manager Sharon Bowes told the Advertiser.

“We’ve had an excellent response.” 

Bowes added AgScape has had a waitlist of people and schools interested in the career competition.

Students rotated between 12 stations, meeting industry representatives from:

– Grain farmers of Ontario;

– TLC Alpaca;

– Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs;

– 4-H;

– Ontario Broiler Chicken Hatching Egg Producers Association;

– Beef farmers of Ontario;

– County Line Equipment;

– Halwell Mutual;

– Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians;

– Dairy Farmers of Ontario;

– Ontario Pork; and 

– Conestoga Meats.

Students had about 10 minutes at each station for an introduction and to ask questions to representatives. 

“At each station you will be awarded points out of 100 based on you interacting in unity, asking questions, collaborating, communicating [and] taking initiative,” AgScape program manager Mercedes Unwin told the crowd of students.

To ensure all students attending the AgScape event had time to ask questions, the first group, consisting of about six bus loads of students, participated between  9:30 and 11:30am.

The second group came from noon until 2pm with about the same number, if not more, students.

Interactive event

Students were engaged the entire time with a prize being a big motivator as well as milk and cookies.

They also had the opportunity to pet alpacas, see a dairy cow and a sow with 11 piglets who were only seven days old.

The idea of organizing an event in this form is to be more engaging, interactive and to have students provide points on their ability to demonstrate key learning skills, officials say.

To learn more about AgScape, visit

The Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians showed students what they do and had a cow as an example of the type of animals under their care.

This alpaca came to visit with Fred Glauser from TLC Alpaca. Students learned about a career in alpaca farming and creating warm items with wool.

Fred Glauser from TLC Alpaca brought two wooly friends.