Mountbellew Agricultural College has been approved to offer the Level 8 Agriculture and Environment Management course, allowing students and graduates to become GLAS advisors.

The Co. Galway college had previously been told its qualifications did not meet the required standard.

Seamus Lennon, Head of Department of Science at GMIT said that the college was approved for the course in June.

Lennon said that the college has modified the course so that students starting this year will be eligible in four years time, should they wish to become a GLAS advisor.

He also said that there has been interest from students from other agricultural colleges about the additional modules.

So if you are a present or past student of Mountbellew college here’s what the approval of the Level 8 course means for you:

I am a first year in this course – can I become a GLAS advisor?

Yes, now that the course has been approved you can become a GLAS advisor after you graduate.

I’m currently enrolled in the course – will I qualify for the Level 8 accreditation?

Yes, you can. Mountbellew college is offering students who are currently enrolled in the course to do additional modules in order for you to become accredited.

I’ve already graduated from this course – can I still become accredited?

Yes, you can. If you are someone who have graduated from the course already, you have the opportunity to do the additional modules.

In order to be approved as a GLAS advisor, an advisor must also be approved as an advisor under the Farm Advisory System (FAS) operated by the Department of Agriculture.

The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, said that advisors must be qualified to interpret soil tests, understand the requirements of all schemes and understand constraints of land management imposed by various land designations.

Furthermore, the Minister stated that advisors must be in a position to translate this knowledge into detailed management plans and also advice for farmers not only on the schemes requirements but also on their farm operations.