BY JOHN SEXTON
LEAVING Certificate students from many schools in counties Cork, Kerry and beyond attended an open day for prospective students at Clonakilty Agricultural College, Darrara, on Friday last.
The purpose was to show them what college life was like. Addressing attendees in the lecture theatre, principal of the college, Majella Moloney, went through the various courses, from which students can choose.
The Level 5 course is the most attractive and popular, as part of it can done on the home farm. She said that they shouldn’t be expecting to take over the home farm, but should be prepared to travel abroad to broaden their horizons.
The link-up which the college has with CIT provides opportunities for professional jobs in the agricultural industry. Level 6 and Level 7 courses provide a good variety in both work and study, taking in the college, CIT, and the placement farms.
The Darrara college’s farm manager, Ger Coughlan, a native of Innishannon, in the course of a short address, stressed the importance of treating farming as a business and the bottom line for any business is to make profit. He said that the farmer needs to make out a strategic plan, which should yield him a reasonable profit.
He recalled his time as a student at the college some years ago and, from there, he moved on to the Research Centre at Moorepark. A few years ago he took up the position of farm manager here at the Clonakilty Agricultural College, where at present there are 460, head of livestock, including 180 milking cows.
The various hand-outs given to students attending the open day included a message from Tony Pettit, Head of Education at Teagasc. In it, he stated that a major Teagasc study highlighted the exceptionally high returns from investment in agricultural education that occur in an Irish context, both for the individual and in the country at large.
The core benefits of agricultural education and training are to help farmers to more efficiently assess and utilise information, to adopt new technologies, to enhance problem solving and to help farmers to better manage farm resources.
The recent Food Wise 2025 report sets out the national vision for all areas of the Irish agri food and land-based sectors. It emphasises the need for sustainability, growth and competitiveness.
Teagasc, under the auspices of quality and qualifications Ireland (QQI), has led a review of the Level 5 and 6 suite of agricultural awards This review involved other industry stakeholders and focused on the essential knowledge, skills and competencies requirements that full-time and part-time farmers will need to meet emerging industry needs.