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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
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Two new farming apprenticeships aim to 'help labour shortages in the agri sector'

The first apprentices will begin their two-year programme in September.

TWO NEW FARMING apprenticeships that begin in September are aimed at helping to address labour shortages in the agricultural sector.

The farm manager apprenticeship trains people to work as managers in the agri sector using the latest research and best-practice knowledge on how to run a commercial farm business.

The farm technician apprenticeship trains people in skills in daily operations, compliance with industry standards and regulatory measures.

The farm manager apprenticeship will lead to a Level 7 degree and will initially be available through the Teagasc Kildalton College in Co Kilkenny, while the Farm Technician Level 6 will be available in Teagasc Clonakilty College in Co Cork and Teagasc Ballyhaise College Cavan.

The first apprentices will begin their two-year programme in September.

Apprentices will be employed in enterprises across arable, dairy, cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep and suckler farms.

A horticulture apprenticeship will also be available through the Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture in the Botanic Gardens in Dublin.

The apprenticeship aims to equip people with skills to work in the horticultural industry, including parks and garden maintenance, fruit production, vegetable production, landscape construction and garden centre operations.

The Irish Farmers’ Association’s farm family and social affairs chairwoman Alice Doyle said it welcomes the new agri apprenticeships, stating they will provide “a real and substantive career pathway for school leavers, those already working on farms and looking to upskill, or change their careers and get back to employment in new and growing areas”.

“These apprenticeships will help to develop knowledge and skills within the agricultural sector and will help with labour shortages within the sector,” she said.

A 2022 report by the Irish Farm Accounts Co-operative indicated that two in three business owners in the agri-food sector find it difficult to hire suitable employees.

Dr Anne Marie Butler, head of education at Teagasc, said: “The apprenticeship route will open job and career opportunities for young people and we look forward to taking in trainee apprentices this autumn.”

Launching the apprenticeships, minister for higher and further education Simon Harris said the programmes “will be essential to securing the future of farming”.

“This is a really exciting development for both the education and the farming sector.

“This investment will ensure the next generation of farmers can access the education they want and need, while still working on the farm.”

The director of the National Apprenticeship Office, Dr Mary Liz Trant, said that Ireland now has more than 70 national apprenticeships.

“Our skills and education landscape is being transformed, with the number of options now available and the diversity of choice in occupations and careers, from farming and horticulture to international financial services and engineering.”

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