One thousand and five hundred students have enrolled in further-level courses in agriculture and horticulture in Teagasc colleges this autumn, a 144 per cent increase since 2006.

In addition some 2,094 students have taken up Teagasc full and part-time courses in its education centres. This brings the total number of students studying in Teagasc to 3,600, the highest enrolment on record.

“We are living in very challenging times but at times like these the importance of agriculture to the Irish economy is more appreciated. Young people with the appropriate skills and education are well positioned to avail of careers which will be rewarding and challenging,” noted Teagasc’s head of education Tony Pettit in its Prospectus for 2014.

“Teagasc education programmes are student centred; are based on a platform of innovation and excellence; and respond to the competitive needs of the agri-food sector as identified in Food Harvest 2020,” he added.

Teagasc has a network of colleges, Clonakilty College, Kildalton College, Ballyhaise College, College of Amenity Horticulture, Botanic Gardens, Gurteen College, Mountbellew Agricultural College and Pallaskenry Agricultural College.

It also has 12 regional education and training centres across the country that offer full-time and part-time courses.

Pettit continued: “Our courses incorporate land-based management practices and technologies, supervised project work and discussion groups. Teagasc is the main provider of further education for school leavers in agriculture, horticulture, forestry and equine studies. In collaboration with various higher education-level institutions we are providing an opportunity for students to advance from certificate level courses to degree level.”

Its 2014 prospectus is available here.