• Niche Canada

An Educated Workforce is the Key to Success

Societal reform is no easy task. Legalizing cannabis will be a huge undertaking, with a multitude of politicians and stakeholders providing varying opinions on what must be done to get it right.

And, then there’s the issue of whether or not there will be enough legally produced cannabis to meet the growing demand.

Canada’s medical cannabis growers now supply about 170,000 patients. Government and private sources estimate that between four and six million Canadians will use cannabis recreationally next year. That’s a big jump.

The federal government recognizes the problem and has made changes to streamline processes and increase the number of staff reviewing applications. Existing licensed producers are expanding and expeditiously working to increase production capacity. And, new players are emerging on the market to add to the supply.

All this expansion is going to require a lot of new workers and expertise. Governments, businesses and organizations that get out in front of the situation and fill the knowledge gap that currently exists will be well-positioned to capitalize on the lucrative opportunities available in Canada’s new cannabis regime.

And, post-secondary institutions are coming onboard to provide the education necessary to train employees for these new positions.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Metro Vancouver was first out of the gate, recognizing early on that there was a growing demand for cannabis education and has since positioned itself as a leader in the field.

KPU’s Cannabis Professional Series began about three years ago, and provides a thorough online curriculum providing a foundational understanding of today’s legal cannabis industry. The instructors are currently employed in the Canadian cannabis industry in a variety of fields, including horticulturalists, scientists and marketing specialists.

As the industry and government regulations evolve, so does KPU’s programming. This year they will launch two new courses – ‘Retail Cannabis Consultant’ and ‘Cannabis Cultivation Technician’, both courses filling significant training gaps in today’s cannabis workforce

As Canada prepares for recreational legalization there is a need to create new skillsets, and having our established post-secondary institutions offer certificates and accredited courses will not only allow our country’s workforce to receive credible, specialized training, but also ensures that the quality of curriculum and training meets the needs and demands of the industry.