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Saturday 21 October 2017

New Green Cert course to be launched within months

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

An updated Green Cert course is set to be rolled out by Teagasc in the autumn, following a commitment to the programme from Government.

Teagasc led the recent review of the Level 5 and Level 6 agricultural awards, which form the basis of the Green Cert.

The review was carried out under the auspices of Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) in consultation with a wide body of stakeholders to ensure that both awards are fit-for-purpose and to future-proof them in terms of emerging industry needs.

A Teagasc spokesperson said the revised awards will strengthen and improve the courses in key areas including sustainable farming/environment, livestock breeding, grassland management, farm safety and compliance.

Teagasc will, over the coming months, submit revised programmes to QQI for validation under the revised awards. Subject to validation, Teagasc will begin the process of introducing the revised programmes from late 2017 through 2018.

Earlier this year, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed confirmed that Teagasc would offer 1,000 Green Cert places this year.

There is an unprecedented backlog for the course, with waiting lists swelling to 3,600 over the past 12 months.

Enrolments trebled from 2014 to 2016 - from 500 in a typical year to over 1,500 - partly because the Young Farmers Scheme and National Reserve require successful applicants to hold a Green Cert or equivalent to qualify for payment.

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Last year it was agreed that Teagasc could appoint 70 temporary education officers to rapidly expand the number of available places.

Seven temporary administrators were also approved. The staffing arrangements implemented to date helped Teagasc enrol 4,500 Green Cert learners since 2014, according to the Minister.

Recently the Minister confirmed Teagasc's request for 15 new temporary teaching posts.

"I understand that Teagasc intend to deploy a substantial number of these posts to alleviate acute demand pressure points in the north-west and north-east," he said.


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