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Dairy Herdsperson Apprenticeship

Learn even more about dairy cows

Work in the industry you love. Become a trained dairy herdsperson through this unique apprenticeship program which combines on-farm and in-school training.

Gain the skills needed to be responsible for the maintenance, health, nutrition, and reproduction of dairy cows. Learn to perform herd health procedures, routine herd maintenance, and operate and maintain barn mechanical systems, as well as farm equipment.

Program Benefits

Expert training

10% of program hours are delivered in person at Ridgetown Campus by industry experts where you will learn about milking, feeding, herd health and many other topics.

Learn on the farm

90% of program hours are completed on-farm working with your employer where you will learn while being paid for your work.

Broaden your network

Meet others who are just as passionate about dairy as you are and expand your network of dairy contacts.

Program Format

In-School Training (10% of program hours)

  • 480 hours of in-school training is required, which will focus primarily on the theory you need to support the skills in the Apprenticeship Training Standard
  • The in-school training component is delivered, in-person, by the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus
  • You must attend sixteen, one-week blocks during your apprenticeship period. The four-day blocks are scheduled once per month, from August to March, over a two-year period, usually the first or second week of the month
  • Modules include:
    • Applied Farm Practices
    • Milking Practices
    • Feeding Practices
    • Herd Health Maintenance
    • Routine Herd Maintenance
    • Farm Mechanical and Electrical Systems – Basic Maintenance
    • Farm Mechanical Equipment – Basic Maintenance

On-Farm Training (90% of program hours)

  • 5,520 hours of on-farm training with your employer are required, following the Apprenticeship Training Standard which describes the skills you must become competent in to complete your training
  • Your employer must make sure that you have developed all the skills listed under their direction
  • Training will follow the “Apprenticeship Training Standard” provided by the Skilled Trades Ontario that outlines the skills you need to have to complete your apprenticeship

Estimated Program Fees

Year 1 Approximate Costs In CAD
Student Fees $400.00
Additional Certification Fees $400.00
Field Trip Fees $775.00
Year 2 Approximate Costs In CAD
Student Fees $400.00
Additional Certification Fees $550.00
Field Trip Fees $775.00

Application Requirements

To become an apprentice Dairy Herdsperson, you need to complete your Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or Ministry-approved equivalent. Credits in math, science, and communications are helpful. Some knowledge of agriculture is also beneficial.

Apprentices must be members of the Skilled Trades Ontario (more details in the How to Apply section below), and your employer must agree to provide you with apprenticeship training. If you want to learn more about apprenticeship training or get help finding a sponsor, please contact your local Employment Ontario Apprenticeship Office.

Note: Dairy Herdsperson is a voluntary certified trade and you do not require a Certificate of Apprenticeship to work in this trade. However, an apprenticeship will increase your knowledge and your opportunities.

How to Apply

There are three (3) steps in the apprenticeship registration process:

Once you are working and your employer has agreed to sponsor you as an apprentice, you/your employer will need to contact the Employment Ontario Apprenticeship Office.

They will instruct you on how to complete an Application for Apprenticeship Training.

The Apprenticeship Training Consultant from the Employment Ontario Apprenticeship Office will contact you and your employer about signing and registering a Training Agreement.

After you are a registered apprentice, the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development will send you an Offer of Classroom Training letter.

Once you have received an offer for in class training from the Ministry, reach out to to confirm registration at Ridgetown Campus.

Connect with us

If you have questions about this program or want to know more, please contact:

Dezarae Kemp

Employment Ontario Services, Ontario's employment and training network

This Employment Ontario program is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.