The recruitment process for six new Teagasc college teachers has begun in earnest after the green light was given by the Department of Finance to break the employment embargo.
With the closing date for applications this Friday, Teagasc expects to hold interviews during the first week of next month and new teachers will begin work in late August.
Scores of applications are expected from agricultural advisers and other qualified candidates for the six teaching contracts available.
The successful candidates will be employed as grade one agricultural development officers, with a starting salary of €31,729 a year. The current salary scale for such a position is €31,729-56,430 but the six teaching jobs are temporary positions and will be made on a contract basis for up to three years.
Applicants for the positions will require a flexible approach to work, as their job could be in any one of six colleges: Ballyhaise, Kildalton, Clonakilty, Gurteen, Mountbellew or Pallaskenry.
While the Teagasc application form asks jobseekers to rank the colleges in their order of preference, it also says that, depending on requirements, teachers could be appointed to any or all of the colleges.
Anyone interested in applying should have a Level Eight degree in agricultural science or equivalent, while a post-graduate degree qualification is desirable.
Meanwhile, Teagasc is in the process of finalising details of its plan to contract out some aspects of the college courses to third party providers.
It is understood that Teagasc will ask companies and individuals to tender for contracts to provide classroom modules and practical work. Teagasc will provide the physical resources, such as classrooms and learning tools, to the students but the course delivery will be contracted to the successful companies or individuals.
Agricultural Consultants Association president Pat Minnock said private consultants were ideally placed to provide such a service to Teagasc students.
"Our members are prepared to provide both practical and theory aspects of the curriculum," he said.
Teagasc is also advertising for a veterinary herd health specialist at Moorepark.
The successful candidate will conduct research on work on infectious diseases in Irish dairy herds, diagnostic tools, herd health programmes and the economic analysis of infectious diseases.