Additional resources in terms of new teaching staff will be assigned to regions where there have been Green Cert “demand hotspots”, Teagasc has confirmed.

In a statement, the agricultural authority said it welcomes the recent announcement giving approval for the recruitment of 20 fixed-term education staff to meet “exceptional demand for Teagasc Green Cert courses”.

Commenting on the announcement, Teagasc director Prof. Gerry Boyle said: “The provision of 20 additional staff will allow Teagasc to recruit and plan ahead with a view to significantly boosting Teagasc Green Cert intakes over the coming year.

We will assign a substantial number of the new staff to the northwest and northeast regions where there have been challenging Green Cert demand hotspots.

Some of the additional staff will also be allocated to the Southeast and Southwest regions, he added.

The news comes in advance of the Teagasc virtual college open days which commence next Tuesday, March 2.

Teagasc will host a series of virtual open days for prospective students, to showcase its full-time Level 5 agriculture, horticulture, equine and forestry courses.

The first in the series of seven virtual open days takes place on Tuesday at Teagasc Ballyhaise Agricultural College, Co. Cavan.

The final event takes place at the Salesian Agricultural College, Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick, on Thursday, 15th April. The virtual events will be transmitted via Zoom.

Head of Teagasc education Tony Pettit said: “School leavers and parents interested in Teagasc full-time Level 5 courses can register for the virtual events, join the Q and A session with staff, and get an in-depth visual insight to available courses and college facilities.

“This can be done from the comfort of their own homes. Our colleges and farms provide a unique opportunity for practical hands-on training.

Course content is backed by the most up-to-date Teagasc research and knowledge transfer. Teagasc is currently taking applications for the 2021/2022 academic year.

Teagasc courses have continued, despite the Covid-19 challenges, through a blended delivery model of digital and onsite practical learning. They are on track to finish on schedule, the authority says.