Farm Ireland

Monday 19 March 2018

Institutes launch new agri courses to meet student demand

The country's Institutes of Technology are reporting sustained interest from students wishing to pursue agricultural studies and say only a lack of Government investment is hampering their ability to meet this demand.

Breda Brennan, the head of Dundalk IT's Department of Applied Sciences said the college's BSC honours degree in agriculture had more qualified applicants than places at the college this year.

"The level of interest is holding up despite the suggestions earlier this year that interest was dropping. We could take more students if the resources were made available to the college," she said.

Dundalk IT runs a four year agri-degree course with various modules including environmental sustainability, agri-business and food science. It caters for 32 first year students and 40 students for the remaining year which includes students wanting to upgrade their Level 6 qualifications from the Teagasc colleges to degree level.

Ms Brennan added that the intake of students at Dundalk IT has changed from a predominantly local to nationwide profile.

Carlow IT

The growing demand for agri-studies is underlined by Carlow IT's launch of a degree course in sustainable farming and agri-business.

The new course will be aimed primarily at attracting students from the Wexford area and surrounding counties where demand for third level agri-education is high.

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WIT, which has a link-up with the Teagasc college at Kildalton for the practical elements of their Level 8 courses, also runs degree courses in Ag Science and Agriculture.

Deirdre Lusby of Galway-Mayo IT said the interest in its agri courses over the past few years was "strong and continued to be strong". Four new agri- courses which will be headquartered at Mountbellew College in Galway, were approved last June.

Two Bachelor degrees in Agriculture and Environmental Management and Rural Enterprise and Agri-Business commenced last September and honours degrees in both disciplines will commence next September.

A total of 290 students are currently taking the GMIT agriculture courses run at the college at the moment.

All levels of the available GMIT courses qualify under the new Green Cert standards required by the Dept of Agriculture and the college encourages applications from mature students and students with 'sub degree' levels who want to boost their educational qualifications.

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