The Ontario Equine Education and Employment Program was a rousing success last year and is back for 2023, allowing barn owners to find educated employees for their operations, and enthusiastic grads to find meaningful and stimulating employment within the industry.

This program was created by the Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) in partnership with the Ontario government through the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development and is supported by Equine Guelph. It is absolutely free; participants learn about horse care and welfare during an interactive six-week training course given by industry experts. OHHA and VPI Working Solutions work with all participants to help them find suitable job placements at the conclusion of the program.

New for this year is additional course information which addresses previous student questions. Also implemented are virtual/live “Class Meetings” where short presentation on subjects such as Social License to Operate for the horse industry and how our behaviour impacts that, examining Equine Welfare in more depth, career paths, and so on will be offered.

Successful participants should be 15-plus years old, Ontario residents, passionate about working with horses, unemployed or underemployed, and not currently in full-time education or other training program. The next session begins May 1; deadline to sign up is April 27th. Three more cohorts will take place this year, spaced seven weeks apart. Space is limited, so register HERE today!

Another program change for 2023 is that employers are eligible for wage subsidies of 50% of the salary of the candidate, up to a maximum of $5,000. Barn owner/operators are encouraged to invest in the future of the horse industry by signing up and mentoring keen new employees. The first online employer information session will be held Thursday, April 6th at 2:00, with additional events scheduled April 18th, May 3rd, and May 18th.