Alberta Green Certificate Program

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Program Information


Processing Industry and Workforce Development Section
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

For Further Information Contact:

Tel: 780-968-3551
Youth (15 years +) and adults

Program Details
  Training levels | Specializations | Green certificate people | Training process | For more information

The Green Certificate Program (www.agriculture.alberta/greencertificate) is an industry-driven training program available to students. It provides trainees with opportunities to enter a variety of agriculture-related, structured learning pathways as a part of their senior high school program and to earn a credential leading to a career in agribusiness. It is an approved complementary program of studies available to all Alberta high schools.

Its apprenticeship style of delivery ensures that participants learn through actively performing the skills required. This means going out into the barn or field or corrals and getting dirty. It means having a trainer who is knowledgeable and vested in the trainee’s success.

The Green Certificate Program provides trainees with opportunities to enter a variety of agriculture-related, structured learning pathways as a part of their senior high school program and to earn a credential leading to a career in agribusiness.

Trainees learn on the job, under the direction of experienced farm personnel and under the supervision and administration of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) and Alberta Education. Trainees completing all three courses in a specialization, to the standards specified would earn the technician level Green Certificate for that specialization, which is issued by AF.

Training Levels

The program provides:

  • training tools such as curriculum and resources
  • complete course materials
  • provides Worker's Compensation for trainees in the program
  • certification testing programs to ensure maintenance of competency standards
Trainees and trainers together:
  • plan and carry out the training program to gain the knowledge and apply the skills identified in the curriculum
  • test for competence in skill performance
  • prepare for regularly scheduled certification testing sessions
Being a Green Certificate participant tells your future employers that you are:
  • proactive in your training and education
  • competent in required job skills
  • willing to learn
  • committed to a positive attitude towards safety and safe work site practices
  • aware and excited about future career opportunities in the agriculture industry, and
  • The right person for the job! !
Level I Green Certificate

Farm production technicians generally perform daily care, feeding, health maintenance and other animal husbandry responsibilities. Considerable manual or technical dexterity is needed to operate machines and work with production inputs. The Green Certificate Program for the farm production technician is designed to produce graduates who are prepared to:
  • Operate machinery to carry out the daily routine of crop production and animal husbandry
  • Work independently in daily routine jobs
  • Work under a supervisor who directs the work schedule and judges performance results

The Green Certificate Program currently consists of eight specializations.
Green Certificate People

We have one type of Green Certificate trainees: Credit (student) trainees. The administration of the program is similar for each, and the competencies for each are similar as well. They are the actual "learners" within the program. As of January 2012 we had 964 trainees across the province.

Primary trainers - Green Certificate trainers are most often the trainee’s parents, relatives or employers that operate a farming operation within the trainee’s area of specialization. They act as the trainee’s mentor working through the training process with the trainee, providing instruction, guidance and an operating facility in which to perform the working skills required for competence and daily skill assessment.

Secondary trainers - This type of mentor is used from time to time, when the primary trainer does not have the expertise in a specific skill area to the level of competence required by the training manual. (i.e. - Cow calf trainees are required to have a full understanding and to be able to recognize numerous cattle health disorders. They must be able to interpret drug labels, administer the appropriate drug or implement the required plan of action for each disorder. Therefore a great resource to learn these details would be the local veterinarian). Trainees are encouraged to seek out these experts within their communities.

Green Certificate testers are an integral part of the Green Certificate training program. Throughout the province Green Certificate holds regional certification testing events. As the trainees progresses and completes their three distinct training periods, they are assessed by a certified tester to determine their level of competence in all skills of a training period. Green Certificate testers are highly skilled, experienced members of the agriculture industry. They are selected by their local regional coordinators and attend certification training development workshops.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
AF is the overseeing body of the Green Certificate Program. It started within the department in 1975, and has developed and responded to the industry needs within agriculture. The Green Certificate Program is managed by Raelene Mercer, with administrative support coming from additional members of the Processing Industry and Workforce Development Section within the Rural Development Branch. This team operates, administers, coordinates and develops the program in response to client and ministerial objectives.

Regional Coordinators
The Green Certificate Program is divided into five regions throughout Alberta, working in conjunction with Alberta’s agriculture colleges (Lakeland College, Grande Prairie Regional College- Fairview Campus, Olds College, Lethbridge College). This team of dedicate staff is responsible for facilitating the delivery of the Green Certificate program to our clientele. Roles of the Green Certificate regional coordinators include interaction with the schools and training facilities within their regions. Working together with the agriculture colleges allows both parties a chance to promote the agriculture industry to youth and further rural development.

School Representative
For all student trainees participating in the program, their school authority provides the students with a Green Certificate school representative. This position is generally the responsibility of the person in charge of career counseling and development or another teacher. Being as this program is taken off-campus, it is administered similarly to other work experience programs. Our school representatives are the Green Certificate link into Alberta Education. AF provides a type of contract curriculum and delivery to the schools. Supervision by the school representative over the trainee, with assistance from trainers and testers, provides the basis to assigning a graded mark to a competency-based system. The school representative then submits the grade to Alberta Education for the student’s diploma credits.

Training Process

The Green Certificate training process is a flowing working relationship that joins the agriculture industry the youth of this province. The unique relationship between Alberta Agriculture and Food, and Alberta Education allows for the Green Certificate Program to successfully provide farm training.
1.Trainees express interest in the program and contact is made to their regional coordinator (through their school representative)
2.An induction meeting is held where participants register and receive their training materials
3.Trainer and trainee review all key points in current skill level assessment and notes are made of further training required to achieve competency
4.Apprenticeship training begins with the selection of the training period (i.e. X, Y or Z)
5.Trainee masters all key points in a task, all tasks in a skill and all skills in training period
6.Trainer signs off skills in the training manual as competency is achieved
7.Trainer tests trainee while on the farm and checks off competent skills on the skill profile sheet for the training period
8.Trainee attends regional certification testing
9.Regional tester selects five random skills within training period to test trainee’s level of competence
10.If the tester evaluates the trainee’s skill competence as below industry standards at one or more skills, then the tester will take note and suggest that further training is needed. The trainer and the trainee return to the apprenticeship training (Note: no academic penalty is given to the student-trainee). The trainee can return to a certification testing for a re-test.
11.If the tester evaluates the trainee as competent at all five skills, then it is noted on their test report and a copy given to the trainee, the regional coordinator, the teacher (who submits this information to Alberta Education for academic credits), and headquarters. The tester validates the test by initialing on the trainee’s skill profile sheet
12.The trainee returns to their apprenticeship training process to complete the remaining training periods
Note: If during the apprenticeship process, the trainer is not at a high enough comfort level to be training the trainee in a particular skill, or they don’t use that type of process on their farming operation, the trainee is still expected to master all of the key points and tasks within that skill. This is when a secondary trainer can assist the trainee. That person can be an agronomist; a feed rep., a veterinarian, a neighbour, another producer or another qualified resource.
13.When the trainee has completed all three training periods successfully, the regional coordinator will detach the trainee’s skill profile sheet and submit it to headquarters to verify their certification.
14.Headquarters then prepares the Green Certificate for the trainee, and returns it, with the skill profile sheet in the Green Certificate training portfolio to the graduate.

For More Information

Interested students can contact their school's representative for the program (usually the person in charge of career counselling).

Green Certificate Homepage:

Other interested people can contact the nearest Green Certificate regional coordinator:

Region 1 - South - Lethbridge Community College
Becky Domolewski
3000 College Drive South, Lethbridge, AB T1K 1L6
Phone: 403-329-7212
Fax: 1-888-435-4827

Region 2 - Central - Olds College
Pamala Church
4500 50th Street , Olds, AB T4H 1R6
Phone: 403-507-7912
Cell: 403-507-0434
Fax: 403-556-4711

Region 3 - North East - Lakeland College
Deanna Krys
5707 - 47 Ave. West , Vermilion, AB T9X 1K5
Phone: 780-853-8613
Fax: 780-853-8715

Region 4 - North Central/West - Lakeland College
Janet Carlyon
RR# 1, Dapp, AB T0G 0S0
Phone: 780-954-2677
Fax: 780-954-2698

Region 5 - Peace River - Grande Prairie Regional College (Fairview Campus)
Amber Havens
Box 3000, Fairview, AB T0H 1L0
Phone: 780-835-6799
Fax: 780-835-6698
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Last Reviewed/Revised on June 23, 2017.