Huge range of courses open to aspiring farmers
With the Central Applications Office (CAO) deadline looming next month, the majority of Leaving Certificate students will already be planning what courses they are likely to pursue next year.
Most will make their decision with the help of parents, other family members and guidance teachers in order to ensure that they are well informed.
The first step in the decision-making process is what level of course to embark on. For students interested in a career in agriculture, there are numerous courses available that are approved by the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) and the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC), as well as through the CAO college system.
Teagasc runs FETAC-level courses that are suitable for people who want to start a career in agriculture but do not wish to complete a higher-level course. FETAC-accredited courses are designed to be suitable for future farmers and for people seeking employment on farms.
Teagasc offers FETAC courses at several levels and the Certificate in Agriculture comes in at Level 5. Offered at six agricultural colleges -- Ballyhaise, Clonakilty, Gurteen, Kildalton, Mountbellew and Pallaskenry -- the course has no minimum educational entry requirement but those who have completed the Leaving Certificate are likely to benefit most from the course.
Students must be 17 years of age on January 1 following entry to the course and applications should be made by June 1 directly to the college of choice.
The course consists of 25 weeks of coursework at a college and 12 weeks on an approved training farm.
At the end of the course, graduates can progress to an Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (or Advanced Certificate specialisms), transfer to year two of the Higher Certificate in Agriculture at an Institute of Technology (IT) or transfer to linked courses at Institutes of Technology.