Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, has today confirmed 3 new apprenticeship programmes in farming will accept students from the new academic year.
Apprenticeship programmes in Farm Manager, Farm Technician, and Horticulture will be finalised by the end of the year or early new year.
Speaking at the Ploughing Championships, the Minister said:
"Until now, legislation has prohibited statutory apprenticeships in an area of agriculture, horticulture, or fishing.
"Thankfully that now changes due to the impending passage of the Higher Education Authority Bill.
"We can now roll out apprenticeships in Farm Technician (Higher Certificate Level 6) and Farm Manager (Ordinary Degree Level 7) and Horticulture (Higher Certificate Level 6). Teagasc will begin working with employers to train them in apprenticeship management from early 2023 and students will be accepted from September.
"Next month, we will roll out the Apprenticeship in Sports Turf Management which provides trainees with the skills and knowledge needed to work in sports turf based businesses such as golf courses, sporting grounds, local government, turf farms and maintenance contractors.
"Farming is a great career for people and these apprenticeship programmes will help create the next generation of farmers."
Development work on the 3 apprenticeship programmes is ongoing and programme documentation has been submitted to QQI to progress through the validation process.
Pending approval by QQI, it is aimed to have these apprenticeships launched by year end.
Further details of the programmes, including locations where training is available, will be published once the validation process is finalised.
Mary-Liz Trant, Director of the National Apprenticeship Office said:
"We are delighted that the new legislation has passed through the Seanad, opening up expansion of apprenticeship options in Ireland even further.
"We have 66 apprenticeship options at the moment. Within 1-2 years we will have up to 100 options available within all 21st century industries in Ireland. Teagasc has been leading the way on new apprenticeships in the areas of farming, horticulture and sportsturf management. We look forward to supporting Teagasc and partners on launch of the new programmes."