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Dairy Herdsperson Apprenticeship

Dairy Herdsperson Apprenticeship


What Does a Dairy Herdsperson Do?

A Dairy Herdsperson is a person who is responsible for the maintenance, health, nutrition, and breeding of dairy cows. They perform herd health procedures, routine herd maintenance, and operate and maintain barn mechanical systems and farm equipment.

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

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 communication are helpful. Some knowledge of agriculture is beneficial.

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. Apprentices must be members of the Ontario College of Trades.

Training will follow the “Apprenticeship Training Standard” provided by the Ontario College of Trades that outlines the skills you need to have to complete your apprenticeship. Contact Employment Ontario to learn more about how apprenticeship training works.

How do I Apply for the Apprenticeship?

To apply to be an apprentice, 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.

There are four steps in the apprenticeship registration process:

Step One:

Once you are actually working and your employer has agreed to sponsor you as an apprentice, you/your employer will contact the Apprenticeship Office contact person. You must complete an Application for Apprenticeship Training and submit it to an Employment Ontario apprenticeship office. You can:

  • apply online to start your registration,
  • meet in person with the Apprenticeship Training Consultant at Employment Ontario, or
  • forms can be mailed out directly to the work site

Step Two:

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

Step Three:

After you have your Training Agreement, apply for membership to the Ontario College of Trades by completing a Member Application Form (Apprentices Class).

Visit Ontario College of Trades for more information.

Step Four:

After you are a registered apprentice and a member of the College of Trades, the Ministry of Advanced Education & Skills Development will send you a letter (Offer of Classroom Training). When you receive this letter, you can register into the apprenticeship in-school training at Ridgetown Campus by maling or by phone (519) 674-1500 ext 63524 

In-School Training (10% of program hours)

480 hours of in-school training focuses primarily on the theory you need to support the skills in the Apprenticeship Training Standard. The in-school component is delivered by the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus. To complete the in-school training, you must attend 16 four-day blocks during your apprenticeship period. The four-day blocks are scheduled once per month from September to April over a two year period, usually the first or second week of the month.

  • UNIT 1 - Applied Farm Practices
  • UNIT 2 - Milking Practices
  • UNIT 3 - Feeding Practices
  • UNIT 4 - Herd Health Maintenance
  • UNIT 5 - Routine Herd Maintenance
  • UNIT 6 - Farm Mechanical and Electrical Systems – Basic Maintenance
  • UNIT 7 - Farm Mechanical Equipment – Basic Maintenance

On-Farm Training (90% of program hours)

5520 hours of on-farm training follows the Apprenticeship Training Standard which describes the skills you must become competent in to complete your training. 

Additional Information

To contact your local apprenticeship office directly, call the toll-free Employment Ontario Hotline at 1-800-387-5656, or locate an apprenticeship office near you.



Reviewed 08/11/2020