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The Western Equipment Dealers Association (WEDA) received the “Friends of SCWEA” Award presented by the Saskatchewan Career Work & Education Association (SCWEA) at their annual conference on Friday. The award is presented to non-educators who assist in the development and promotion of Career and Work Education in Saskatchewan.

“We are very proud to be a partner in this initiative,” says Larry Hertz, vice-president, Canada for the Western Equipment Dealer’s Association. “We feel there is immense value in supporting this type of program that provides invaluable, hands-on work experience for high school learners across the province. Over the last number of years, there is a growing disconnect between urban and rural, so our intention with this program was to expose students to the vast opportunities at farm equipment dealerships and more specifically a career as an agricultural equipment technician. I like to refer to these as gold collar careers, as they are very stable, well-paid positions. They also have a high potential for employment as our dealers across the province have current openings for one or two technicians per location, and we have one hundred and twenty-five locations.” Hertz added that “our dealers across the province have welcomed this program with open arms, our initial projection in this first-year pilot was twenty-five students, and we are very pleased with the final enrollment of one hundred fifteen students.”

Earlier this spring, WEDA, the Canada Equipment Dealers Foundation, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, and the Sun West School Division announced their partnership to bring two new high school electives, Agricultural Equipment Technician (AET) 20L and 30L, to students across the province. This unique learning model includes online theory, practical experience at a local agricultural equipment dealership, and a boot camp at Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

“When it comes to achieving their goals beyond high school, there’s no substitute for a student’s sense of direction,” says Gordon Heidel, past president of SCWEA who presented the award. “Opportunities like AET20 connect students to the “real world” and result in them making an informed career choice down the road,” says Heidel. “We are thrilled to recognize this partnership as a model of what can be achieved when we bring industry and education together.”

For more information on AET20L, visit www.sunwestdlc.ca