Teagasc has received an unprecedented level of interest in its education courses in recent months, which may take two to three years to work through.

Teagasc Director Gerry Boyle told Agriland that it has received approximately 5,000 expressions of interest from people looking to undertake Teagasc education courses.

He said that the current unprecedented number of students has been driven by schemes such as the Young Farmer Scheme and the National Reserve and it will take two to three years for the current ‘blip’ to pass through the Teagasc education system.

The Teagasc education programme, he said, is the most important element for Teagasc in the long term.

“We hope we can continue to meet the demand on education from students.”

With the ban on recruitment lifted in recent weeks, he said that Teagasc will now be recruiting 75 new staff members, including seven new college teachers/education officers which will help meet the current spike in demand for education courses.

While 5,000 potential students have expressed interest in Teagasc courses, he said 2,500 have confirmed to Teagasc that they want to undertake a course.

“We have written to all 5,000 on two occasions and half have come back to say they are definitely interested.”

Normally, he said, Teagasc would cater for 1,500 students on an annual basis and another 500 part time, totalling approximately 2,000 students through Teagasc doors every year.