Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has announced the launch of two new farming apprenticeships.
The Farm Manager apprenticeship creates a pathway to a managerial career in the agricultural sector, equipping the apprentice with the latest research and best practice management knowledge to successfully run a commercial farm business.
The Farm Technician apprenticeship trains apprentices to operate successfully within Irish farming systems, gaining skills in daily operations, compliance with industry standards and regulatory measures. Apprentices will be employed by commercial farm enterprises such as arable, dairy, cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep, suckler farm enterprises.
Speaking about the apprenticeships, Minister Harris said, “this is a really exciting development for both the education and the farming sector. These apprenticeship programmes will welcome their first apprentices in September. Embedding these programmes will be essential to securing the future of farming. This investment will ensure the next generation of farmers can access the education they want and need, while still working on the farm.”
The Farm Manager apprenticeship will lead to a Level 7 degree and will initially be available through the Teagasc Kildalton College, Piltown, Kilkenny, while the Farm Technician Level 6 will be available in Teagasc Clonakilty College, Cork and Teagasc Ballyhaise College Cavan.
An apprenticeship in Horticulture will also be available through the Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture in the Botanic Gardens in Dublin. The horticultural industry spans nursery stock production, parks and garden maintenance, fruit production, vegetable production, landscape construction and garden centre operations. The Horticulture apprenticeship will equip apprentices with the knowledge, skills and competence to work in their chosen field of horticulture.
Each apprenticeship is two years in length and lead to a major award on the National Framework of Qualifications.
Director of the National Apprenticeship Office Dr Mary Liz Trant said, “with these new programmes launched today Ireland now has over 70 national apprenticeship programmes available. Our skills and education landscape is being transformed, with the number of options now available and the diversity of choice in occupations and careers, from farming and horticulture to international financial services and engineering.”
IFA’s Farm Family and Social Affairs National Chair Alice Doyle said, “IFA welcomes the new agricultural apprenticeships which will provide a real and substantive career pathway for school leavers, those already working on farms and looking to upskill, or change their careers and get back to employment in new and growing areas. These apprenticeships will help to develop knowledge and skills within the agricultural sector and will help with labour shortages within the sector.”
Anne Marie Butler, Head of Education in Teagasc, said, “the introduction of apprenticeships in agriculture and horticulture adds significantly to the Teagasc’s education and training offering to students. The apprenticeship route will open job and career opportunities for young people and we look forward to taking in trainee apprentices this autumn.”