The provision of 20 new members of staff to Teagasc will make available 1,000 additional Green Cert places, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney.

Due to the exceptional demand for places on the Green Cert course, Teagasc announced plans in August to provide additional part-time and distance education programmes at a number of locations.

Up to 20 new staff were be required to roll out this educational initiative over two years.

The posts are based in a variety of locations – Teagasc Agricultural Colleges, Private Agricultural Colleges and Teagasc Regional Education Centres. The starting salary was €31,729.

Teagasc is the main provider of further education in agriculture, food, horticulture, forestry and equine studies.

The Teagasc Green Cert course has been developed to meet the training requirements for full-time or part-time farmers.

The course covers subjects such as the environment, farm safety and animal welfare as well as modules dealing with production agriculture, farm business management and succession.

It is offered at Teagasc Regional Education Centres and Agricultural Colleges as a distance learning option. It is Teagasc policy to accommodate all farmers that require places on the Green Cert course.

Responding to a parliamentary question from Kildare TD Martin Heydon last week, Minister Coveney said interest in the Green Cert is currently exceptionally high due to the education requirements of the Young Farmers Scheme and the National Reserve.

He said his Department, in conjunction with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, approved the appointment of 20 temporary teachers in 2014 to meet the Green Cert demand.

According to the Minster, it enabled Teagasc to substantially increase intake from a normal level of 500 annually to 1,500 enrolees, a threefold increase.

However, the Minister also said that Teagasc was recently granted approval to hire a further 20 temporary teachers bringing the overall allocation to date to 40.

He said this will enable Teagasc to provide an additional 1,000 Green cert places this autumn.

Green Cert facts
  • Some 1,000 people have applied for its online/distance learning course.
  • This course is designed for graduates who already hold a non-agricultural major award at FETAC Level 6 or higher.
  • The distance education programme incorporates a Level 5 Certificate in Agriculture and a Level 6 ‘Green Cert’ course.
  • As the course involves a substantial amount of skill and practical instruction, farm planning and discussion group activities; actual attendance is required for a significant number of contact days.
  • The course normally takes 15 to 18 months to fully complete.
  • Applications are now closed for the online course.