A number of new agricultural apprenticeships were announced today (Tuesday, June 28), as part of a wider package of measures aiming to expand third level education in Ireland.

A level seven in Farm Management, a level six Farm Technician course and a level six in Horticulture are three of 16 apprenticeship programmes that were launched by the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris.

All three programmes, which will be available through the CAO, are halfway through a ten-step development process, at the ‘Occupational Profile Approved’ stage.

Implementation plans, budgets and approval of employers for these programmes have yet to be completed.

The minister also announced that the €200 post-leaving-certificate levy is set to be abolished in September of this year.

Speaking about the announcement, Minister Harris said: “There must be multiple pathways that learners can take as they prepare for their chosen careers.

“That’s why we are working hard to introduce new apprenticeship programmes and we have also improved the financial incentives on offer to employers to take on apprentices.”

The minister confirmed that as well as the apprenticeships announced today, 16 more are due to commence development this year, including programmes in roofing, robotics and cybersecurity.

The Minister also announced an extra 1,056 college places, which will be offered through the CAO in the 2022/2023 academic year, which will be spread proportionately over general and specific entry such as the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE).

The places are set to be spread across courses “that will produce graduates with the skills our country is crying out for”, according to Minister Harris. He said:

“After a stressful number of weeks for school-leavers, I hope today will offer some good news about the weeks ahead.

“There are different routes to getting where you want to go, and we are working hard to ensure they are accessible to everyone,” he concluded.