Each year our farm hosts international trainees – young people looking to further their agricultural education through an apprenticeship training. Trainees look to Canada because they can learn (or practice) English, while working on large equipment and seeing an awesome country. We love hosting trainees because they teach us about different aspects of agriculture and help us to reflect on, and explain, our practices. So, the question we often get is “How do you meet?”.
We learn about trainees in two ways: direct contact from a potential trainee or through International Rural Exchange (IRE). Working with IRE involves a process that is a bit like online dating. IRE collects initial information from hosts and trainees and uses this information to identify potential matches. For instance, we are only introduced to trainees who want to live in a family home and work on a grain farm. Then IRE provides us with an opportunity to review a trainee profile and the trainee reviews our profile to see if we each think it will be a good match. Once the match is made, the paperwork process begins.
Regardless of how we connect, International Rural Exchange helps us to navigate all of the paperwork to ensure that our trainees have the correct documentation, insurance and visas. Our trainees are subject to the same regulations as other temporary foreign workers or seasonal workers coming to Canada. Working with IRE gives us the peace of mind in knowing that they are current with the latest requirements and regulations.
Working with IRE also gives us, and our trainees, connections throughout the season. IRE facilitates trainee orientation and helps trainees connect online and in person. Trainees get the opportunity to network with each other and can get together for a touch of home even when they are in Canada.
If you want to learn more about the International Rural Exchange experience check out their site.
IRE also helps Canadian young people find agricultural placements abroad, so if you know someone who might be looking for a gap year, to experience a different type of agriculture, or a way to travel and earn money let them know about IRE.