Teagasc will appoint the 15 new temporary staff in autumn 2017, to meet the demand for its Green Cert course.

Last week it was revealed that the Department of Agriculture sanctioned the 15 new posts, as Teagasc continues to experience strong demand for the Green Cert.

Nationally, Teagasc has enrolled over 4,500 learners to its adult Green Cert programme in the years 2014 to 2016 (each course runs for two to two-and-a-half years).

In the Teagasc Sligo /Leitrim /Donegal Advisory region, there are currently 15 adult green cert courses on-going with circa 447 adults enrolled, a spokesperson for the body said.

The Department sanctioned 70 temporary education staff and seven temporary administration on a two year contracts basis over the past three years – 20 in 2014, 20 in 2015 and 30 in early 2016.

Teagasc has confirmed that some of these contracts have already finished up.

A very high level of demand still exists and Teagasc will be addressing this demand on an on-going basis over the next three years, the spokesperson said.

“A number of the existing courses will be finishing up this spring having commenced over two years ago. This will create capacity (classrooms etc.) to commence new courses, most likely in the autumn 2017.

“Teagasc intends to appoint the 15 sanctioned posts to have them in place for that.”

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Responding to a parliamentary question last week, the Minister for Agriculture said that as he understands it Teagasc is actively considering a range of resource options to address projected demand on a phased basis from 2017 to 2019.

Minister Creed said that Teagasc did not have sufficient capacity to deal with the surge in applications for the Green Cert and that it was agreed that additional temporary resources would be provided to rapidly expand the number of Green Cert places.