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What are your interests?



Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.



Teagasc education and training for the land-based sector

By Brian Morrissey and Carmel Finlay, Teagasc Curriculum Development and Standards unit

Teagasc education and training for the land-based sector


Farm families should set aside adequate time to investigate the wide range of agricultural training programmes that are currently available for the land-based sector.

Education and training is a key consideration for all farmers given that it will improve the overall technical and financial efficiency of a farm. But it is important to select the most suitable educational programme, whether for full-time, part-time or distance education courses or continued professional development.

Teagasc is the primary provider of accredited further (vocational) education for the land-based sector, and provides progression routes to other educational programmes. Teagasc has a major input into higher education and post-graduate education delivery through its extensive partnership with the higher education sector. This means that Teagasc education and training enable progression from Level 5 through to Level 10 on the National Framework of Qualifications, a framework of 10 education levels, based on standards of knowledge, skill and competence.

Teagasc also has a substantial involvement in providing short courses and continuous professional development across the land-based and food sectors.

Further Education Courses

These courses are suitable for people who wish to develop a career in agriculture, horticulture, equine or forestry. Further education training programmes are focused on practical skills training in addition to theory-based learning. Many graduates of further education courses in agriculture return to farming either in a full-time or part-time capacity.

Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) has responsibility for validation, quality assurance and certification of all further and higher education and training programmes in Ireland. Teagasc offer the following QQI Accredited Level 5 and Level 6 courses:

QQI Level 5 Courses
  • Certificate in Agriculture
  • Certificate in Horticulture
  • Certificate in Horsemanship
  • Certificate in Forestry

QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate Courses

  • Specific Purpose Certificate in Farming (Teagasc "Green Cert")
  • Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (Dairy Herd Management)
  • Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (Drystock Management)
  • Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (Agricultural Mechanisation)
  • Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (Crops & Machinery Management)
  • Advanced Certificate in Horsemanship
  • Advanced Certificate in Equine Breeding (Stud Management)
  • Advanced Certificate in Forestry
  • Advanced Certificate in Pig Management
  • Advanced Certificate in Poultry Management
Revised Teagasc Agriculture Education Programme

The QQI Level 5 and 6 agricultural award standards were reviewed and updated in 2016, and Teagasc is developing and rolling out new programmes to meet the revised QQI awards. From September 2018, all students entering fulltime agricultural education will complete a newly revised two-year programme. This will allow students to gain both knowledge and practical skills in a wide variety of subject matter encompassing both Level 5 and Level 6 course work and practical learning periods, while also allowing them to specialise in their preferred farm enterprise. Options include Dairy Herd Management, Drystock Production, Crops & Machinery*, Agricultural Mechanisation*, Pigs*, or Poultry*. [*Note: courses may not be offered every year]

What is a "Green Cert" award?

A "Green Cert" is an educational award that qualifies the holder as a "trained farmer" for the purposes of DAFM (Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine www.dafm.ie) schemes. Being the holder of a "Green Cert" is also one of the Revenue conditions of stamp duty exemption on the transfer of land (www.revenue.ie).

Teagasc provides full-time, part-time, and distance education and training towards many land-based educational awards in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, equine and other subjects that are classified as "Green Cert" awards. Among these awards, Teagasc offers the Distance Education Green Cert for Non Agricultural Award Holders and the Part Time Green Cert courses.

QQI Level 6 Specific Purpose Certificate in Farming "Green Cert"

The QQI Level 6 Specific Purpose Certificate in Farming is commonly known as the Teagasc Green Cert. Participants first complete the QQI Level 5 Certificate in Agriculture in order to gain entry to the QQI Level 6 Specific Purpose Certificate in Farming. There are 2 modes of delivery available for completion of this Green Cert programme:

  1. Part-time: duration 2.5 to 3 years approximately in an agricultural college or local Teagasc training centre
  2. Distance Education*: duration 18 to 20 months approximately in an agricultural college or local Teagasc training centre

*Note: Only holders of major awards at Level 6 or higher on the NFQ in a non-agricultural discipline are eligible to apply for the Distance Education option.

Higher Education Courses

Higher Education courses are suitable for people who wish to gain a qualification at higher level in the land-based sector. Courses are available in universities and a number of Institutes of Technology. Graduates of higher level programmes may return to farming while others will develop careers in the agricultural services sector. Recruitment to these courses is through the CAO system. There are progression routes from further education into higher education courses.

Teagasc Professional Diploma in Dairy Farm Management

The Teagasc Professional Diploma in Dairy Farm Management is aimed at those intending to manage a commercial dairy farm as an owner, partner or employed manager. The course consists of two years professional work experience on approved commercial dairy farms, while attending block release periods at Kildalton College and Moorepark Agricultural & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre. Applicants must be holders of a Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture or equivalent. The programme is validated by UCD.

Life Long Learning and Continuing Education

While QQI Level 5 and Level 6 courses are a foundation for learning, farmers need to continually improve knowledge and skills. As with any career, it is very important to keep up-to-date with new developments or advances in technology and Teagasc facilitate a range of means of achieving this:

  • Formal Training: accredited short courses such as Best Practice in Milking Routine, Managing Ruminant Animal and Managing Crop Nutrition and Health and Safety.
  • Informal Training: non-accredited by attending discussion group meetings, open days, conferences.
Walsh Fellowship programme

The Knowledge Transfer Walsh Fellowships Programme is designed to equip participants with the skills and knowledge to be effective in building the capacity of farmers to adopt new practices and technologies. Students complete a knowledge transfer-focused research project during their Fellowship with Teagasc, while studying for a higher degree. For more information, visit www.teagasc.ie

Locations, information, open days

Teagasc Education Officers run part time and distance education courses from Teagasc offices throughout the country. For more details, visit your local Teagasc office or log on to www.teagasc.ie/education/local-education-centres/

Teagasc agricultural and horticultural colleges and Teagasc partner/private colleges hold college open days each autumn and spring for potential applicants and their families. Further information can be obtained from the college of your choice or by visiting www.teagasc.ie/education



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