A new farm safety course, established by Teagasc, is to initially be offered to women working in the agri-sector.

The training will provide a comprehensive overview of possible hazards and accidents common to farms and agri-businesses.

The course will include methods to control, avoid and reduce accidents, with a particular emphasis on the safe operation of tractors, trailers, loaders and attaching a mounted power take-off (PTO)-driven machine.

There will also be a focus on animal health and welfare, along with food assurance and traceability.

MEP Maria Walsh with Teagasc head of education, Dr. AnneMarie Butler; Mountbellew Agricultural College Principal, Dr. Enda Curley; Frank Murphy, manager Curriculum Development and Standards Unit; and course participants

Mountbellew Agricultural College in Co. Galway will be the first college to offer the QQI Level 5 Farm Safety and Assurance module. The first round will be delivered specifically to women.

There will be a capacity of 15 students/group for the course which is due to start next month (July).

Teagasc is planning to rollout the training module nationwide, at a later date.

The new course was recently launched at the Galway college by Irish MEP Maria Walsh.

“This is an incredibly important time for our farming sector and it is fundamentally important to upskill and reskill,” she said.

“The power of knowledge in operating and handling machinery, as well as growing awareness around safety is vital.

“This course has come at a crucial time and adds to the call for more recognition, funding and support for our female farmers. I welcome this module as it’s a further step in supporting equality in our farm sector,” the MEP added.

“I desperately need this course to grow my lack of confidence in driving and handling machinery,” Walsh admitted.

Dr. Anne Marie Butler, head of education at Teagasc said that they were delighted to work with Mountbellew College to develop the practical course for learners.

“We are delighted to work with female participants on this intake and we look forward to offering this component across our education network.

“Our course offerings are continuously evolving with much greater emphasis on preparing the next generation of farmers to meet multiple production objectives, while most importantly staying safe,” Dr. Butler said.