Teagasc looking at ‘external service providers’ to cope with Green Cert demand

Teagasc is to recruit in the region of 30 new staff next year, across the board, but it doesn’t have the staff to deal with the demand for its Green Cert courses, Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle has said.

Speaking to Agriland today following the launch of Teagasc’s Annual Report and Financial Statements 2015, the Teagasc Director said that Teagasc has coped with the demand up to now.

“We have 3,500 [applicants] now on a waiting list for Green Cert courses. The difficulty is that we don’t have the staff to deal with that, so we’re trying to find out ways of coping with it.

“We think, for example, our private colleges, Pallaskenry, Mountbellew and Gurteen have a little bit more flexibility than we have so we’re trying to work with them to clear some of the demand.

We’re also looking at using external service providers to deliver courses under our supervision, so that’s another possibility, but that won’t cope, even with the best winds behind our backs, to clear the 3,500.

“We think that there’s a number of those 3,500 that have [increased] the demand because of all the publicity that was around the Green Cert a couple of years ago.

“So we’ll be talking to them and seeing whether they can postpone their enrolment for a couple of years.

“I do want everyone on the waiting list to know exactly what’s in store for them over the next couple of years, I think that’s only fair,” he said.

Teagasc to recruit 30 staff ‘right across the board’ next year

The Teagasc Director also said that recruitment next year will be in the region of 30 new staff and that these positions will be right across board, covering everything from advisory through to research.

“This year was the first year that the embargo [on hiring] was relaxed, so we were able to negotiate the recruitment of 75 staff.

“The advisory situation in recent years has been affected simply by the fact that we had an older demographic on the advisory side of the house, so we had more retirements there, but that is slowing down now.”

Senior staff

Teagasc has had a number of critical resignations in the senior staff area and Director Boyle said has said that one of those positions has been filled already.

“We’ve had two senior staff that have left from the Economics Division and we will be advertising for one of those in the next few days and the second post in the not too distant future.

“We try and move as quickly as we can when we get vacancies to fill the important positions.”

Teagasc’s 2015 Staffing Plan saw them retain 1,025 permanent staff with another 200 contracted. Some 43,000 farmers availed of Teagasc’s services in 2015.