Hundreds of thousands of people, farmers and non-farmers, alike will visit the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, this week. Nestled amongst all the livestock, equipment and machinery exhibits are a number of stands worth visiting for those interested in exploring a career in the agriculture sector.

University College Dublin, School of Agriculture Food and Science, has a prominent stand at the event. UCD has long prided itself in the broad range of the courses it has to offer.

Waiting in the wings is Waterford Institute of Technology. It continues to offer a three-year Agriculture Science degree. This year they have added an honours degree option in conjunction with Kildalton College. The course also contains 15 weeks of practical work experience. This experience is highly valued by perspective employers. One farmer employing WIT Agriculture graduates quipped: “A key attribute of Waterford agri graduates is that they know how to close a gate after themselves.”

The Institute of Technology Tralee is the only third-level education facility in Ireland offering a dedicated Agricultural Engineering degree. There is high demand for this program, with over 40 students commencing this year. The Tralee Agriculture Engineering department is also gaining a reputation internationally for its research know-how. It is currently managing a €1.2 million EU funded milking machine project called ‘Rotabot’ in partnership with Dairymaster. Given the development of indigenous SME agri-engineering companies in Ireland, coupled with increasing machinery sales, this field of study is enjoying high growth and excellent job prospects at the moment.

The institute also offers degree level courses in Agricultural Science, Food Science, and a Bachelor of Business in Agribusiness.

Located in Shropshire, England, Harper Adams University is the largest land-based university in the UK. Every year, 50 to 60 students from Ireland travel to Harper Adams to enjoy studies in Agriculture, Animal Studies, Agricultural Engineering, Food Studies, Veterinary Nursing, and Land Management. The university prides itself on its entrepreneurial zeal. Every year around 1,500 people enrol in short-courses which focus on professional skills development. Hosting the National Centre for Precision Farming, and the Agricultural Engineering Innovation Centre, Harper Adams aptitude research, and delivering tailor made short-courses for industry.

Of course, for those who would just like to enjoy the raptures of the farming and rural social-scene, Macra na Feirme is actively recruiting new members at its stand. Membership is open for young men and women aged between 17 and 35.

Information, innovation and technology shall drive the future of farming. In the age of knowledge, there are many fulfilling careers to consider in the agriculture sector. In the meantime, for the most up-to-date agri-food information, please download the Agriland app. Visit our Agriland display at the Lely stand to discover how this simple step could help you win a new Honda ATV worth €6,000.