Teagasc has received special dispensation to recruit 20 new staff to meet the demand from young people looking to qualify for the requirements for the new Young Farmer Scheme.

Under this scheme, farmers of up to 40 years of age may be eligible for significant financial supports subject to meeting the scheme requirements and depending on the amount of land farmed. Only those who apply for, and are accepted for, the Young Farmer Scheme in 2015 can be certain of payment for the full five years of the scheme.

According to Teagasc, 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.

Due to the exceptional demand Teagasc plans to to provide additional part-time and distance education programmes at a number of locations. Up to 20 new staff will be required to roll out this educational initiative over two years. The posts will be based in a variety of locations – Teagasc Agricultural Colleges, Private Agricultural Colleges and Teagasc Regional Education Centres. The starting salary is €31,729 and full details can be found here.