Teagasc doubles teaching staff over Green Cert demand
Teagasc has nearly doubled its teaching staff to cope with the unprecedented demand for its Green Cert agri-education programme which will cater for 1,500 students this year.
The actual demand for the Green Cert has soared to 5,000.
The high numbers are due to the new requirements within the current EU Rural Development Programme and farm payment changes under the Young Farmer and National reserve entitlement scheme.
Professor Gerry Boyle, head of Teagasc, told the Farming Independent that he expected the state body to process all Green Cert applicants speedily but added it will take a few years to deal with all applications.
Teagasc has increased its teaching staff by 70 - all of whom are on two year contracts - to cope with the current level of interest after the Government gave the organisation a partial exemption from the public service employment embargo to deal with this new demand.
The scale of the demand facing Teagasc can be seen from the application statistics and the current educational capacity of the state body.
In a normal year Teagasc would expect to see about 1,500 students - a mixture of approximately 500 school leavers continuing their studies, mature students and students pursuing further studies online.
But the new CAP rules, which run until 2020, have led to the spke in applications.