Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph, Canada: Limitless graduate career possibilities
Promoted by Ontario Agricultural College

Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph, Canada: Limitless graduate career possibilities

The agriculture and food sector in Canada has been growing exponentially. As the industry continues to prosper, its labour workforce continues to urgently seek out skilled workers to fill these positions. The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) estimates an agri-food workforce shortfall of 123,000 by 2029 in Canada.

With more roles available than there are graduates, one university located just a short drive from Toronto in the small city of Guelph is making it its mission to boost the agriculture industry with its talents. With a hands-on approach and countless professional development and leadership opportunities, the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) of the University of Guelph has all the ingredients that ensure promising careers for its postgraduate students.

“There are tremendous employment opportunities for our master’s graduates in all employment sectors,” says Dr. Rebecca Hallett, associate dean of research and graduate studies. “OAC offers a large range of professionally-oriented and research-based master’s programmes that allow students to pursue their interests and secure a range of exciting career opportunities.”

More profoundly, OAC programmes set graduates up to make a difference. “OAC is home to an amazing range of programmes and research initiatives — from pollinators to planning, craft beer to crop science, broadband to bovines, and everything in between, you will find someone exploring important questions within OAC,” says Ashleigh Weeden, a PhD candidate in Rural Studies.

Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) is ranked first in Canada and 12th in the world for agricultural sciences. Source: Ontario Agricultural College

Founded in 1874, OAC is the country’s oldest and largest Agriculture and Food faculty.

Today, it offers numerous master’s and PhD programmes, ranging from Plant Agriculture Food Science, Animal Biosciences, Environmental Science, Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, Landscape Architecture, Rural Planning and Capacity Development and Extension.

OAC ranked first in Canada and 12th in the world for agricultural sciences. It boasts global renown for its research, teaching and knowledge extension in the broad areas of food, agriculture, communities and the environment.

Such accolades translate to great student outcomes. Recently, OAC undertook a project collecting and highlighting career data of its Master’s and PhD graduates “Graduate Destinations Project.”

“We know there is demand for highly qualified graduates from our programmes, but we wanted to verify the career outcomes and opportunities,” says Leigh West, manager of graduate recruitment and programmes. “It is important for prospective and current graduate students to know that there are many traditional and alternative career opportunities for OAC alumni.”

PhD graduates aren’t the only ones to find rewarding careers where their knowledge and skills allow them to excel. The project found that OAC master’s graduates are employed in all sectors, including private (46.6%), government (20.6%), post secondary (17.6%), not for profit (6.6%), other public (4.3%) and individual (4.3%). These numbers prove that earning a postgraduate degree from OAC grants graduates access to many work opportunities in a variety of sectors.

Some of the top employment categories include Management and Administration, Agriculture, Research and Development, Health Services and Rural and Urban Planning. Zooming into job titles, most postgraduate alumni are holding managerial and director positions, project managers as well as consultants and specialists.

Natalie Asaro, who holds an MSc degree from Animal Biosciences specializing in Companion Animal Nutrition, is one of OAC’s multi-faceted graduates. “Not only is graduate school an awesome experience, but completing a graduate degree is an excellent way to differentiate yourself and make you more desirable for potential employers,” says the Nutrition Manager at Petcurean Pet Nutrition. “The soft skills you develop during graduate school such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, and critical thinking, are skills that are not necessarily developed during your undergraduate degree.”

Ontario Agricultural College

OAC graduates like Natalie Asaro evolve into critical thinkers who are capable of solving local, national and global issues. Source: Ontario Agricultural College

The breadth and depth of their various careers show how OAC graduates have the skills to excel in academia, corporations, organisations, government and entrepreneurship. West adds that OAC graduates are well-equipped to tackle industry-related issues on a local, national and global level through the use of their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. “It illustrates that our master’s degrees are an investment in the student’s future and are highly desired by employers,” she says.

OAC has seen a steady increase in international enrolment from 9% in 2010 to 17% in 2021. Not only does this increase highlight OAC’s illustrious reputation, it also demonstrates the global value and applicability of skill sets gained from an OAC postgraduate degree. At home, the opportunities are just as robust. As many as 74% of graduates chose to remain in Ontario after graduation.

Ontario Agricultural College

Karthik Nadelle. Source: Ontario Agricultural College

“I would highly recommend pursuing a graduate degree from the OAC since it builds a solid foundation for you to explore many different career paths,” says Karthik Nadelle, an MSc in Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (FARE) graduate who is now Head Of Analytics at Kijiji Canada. “I have had the opportunity to work in both public and private sectors because of my research in the OAC.

If you’re looking for a postgraduate programme that promises you an attractive and rewarding career with impact in the food, agriculture, planning and development or environmental sectors and beyond, then the Ontario Agricultural College is for you. Find out more about their programmes here.

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