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Contract position extended at Agri-Food Venture Centre

By Valerie MacDonald, Northumberland Today


A contract position with Northumberland County’s Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) in Colborne has been extended for another six months as the centre continues to grow.

One of those ways is through an innovative program with Loyalist College of Belleville.

County councillors agreed with the recommendation made to continue the contract by its economic development director Dan Borowec at council’s most recent meeting.

When asked for details, county spokesperson Kate Campbell stated in an e-mail that “the contract extension is for the Innovation Immigration Coordinator position out at the OAFVC ...currently staffed by Chef Emilio Ojeda.

“Northumberland was previously successful in acquiring funds which supported the creation of a one-year, part-time contract position to enhance the economic integration of newcomers through the Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre. There are now a variety of new opportunities that have presented themselves for supporting this position, in particular collaboration with Loyalist College on the ‘Elevate’ program, and a settlement and integration project focused on food-preparation and training classes.”

The college connection is described in a county report councillors received.

“Loyalist is pleased to announce the College will work with local manufacturers to facilitate delivery of an adult retraining program that combines literacy and essential skills with job-specific training for the food processing industry. Elevate is a joint partnership with Essential Skills Ontario and the Food Processing HR Council, designed to support vulnerable individuals who are unemployed or receive income support. The program is delivered at no cost to students through Loyalist Training and Knowledge Centre (LTKC). Elevate is part of a pan-Canadian research project evaluating whether the direct involvement of employers in the design and delivery of workforce training for low-skilled adults can help sustain longer-term employment.

“Participants will attend six weeks of training, including 17 days of practical in-class studies and 13 days of on-the-job placement with one of the partnering manufacturers. The Elevate program is open to applicants with a high school diploma as well as those who have not completed high school and candidates who may have credentials from another country.

“The food and beverage processing industry is currently facing a skills gap, with at least 30,000 new positions to be filled over the next several years, according to Essential Skills Ontario.”

With the business immigration co-ordinator position vacant since November, 2016 due to illness, these duties have been handled by this oversight contract position, it also states.