VIU Horticulture program helps grow connections with Belize

Belizean partners come to Nanaimo to work on curriculum together
Vancouver Island University (VIU) is helping Belizean institutions develop programs that teach students in agriculture and agroforestry programs how to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

The university is leading an $825,000 institutional partnership under the Skills to Access the Green Economy (SAGE) program, which is implemented by Colleges and Institutes Canada and funded by Global Affairs Canada. The SAGE program supports training programs in key economic sectors associated with climate change in the Caribbean. VIU, along with Canadian partners Parkland College and the Marine Institute of Memorial University, is helping the University of Belize (UB) and the Institute of Technical Vocational Education and Training (ITVET) at Stann Creek and Toledo to deliver skills training programs that meet economic and environmental needs in the region.

First announced in 2019, the partnership has already developed a new Associates Degree in Climate Smart Agriculture with the University of Belize and an Agro-processing course at ITVET Stann Creek. Norman Budna, an instructor and Horticulture Lead for ITVET Toledo, is currently in Nanaimo working with VIU's Global Engagement and Horticulture teams to develop a new preparatory program for the Belizean institution.

Budna's visit includes hands-on time at the G.R. Paine Horticultural Centre, where VIU Horticulture students receive training. Budna is watching instructors teach students how to grow poinsettias, amongst other things.

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