BY JOHN SEXTON
A LARGE number of Leaving Cert students from all over County Cork and parts of Limerick and Kerry attended the recent open day at Clonakilty Agricultural College in Darrara.
The purpose of the open day was to let students see what life on an agricultural farm and college is like to enable them make up their minds by next September. Addressing the gathering in the lecture theatre, the principal of the college, Keith Kennedy, outlined the various courses available there as well as those in conjunction with Cork Institute of Technology.
For the latter course, in Years 1 and 2, students typically spend two days a week in Teagasc’s Clonakilty Agricultural College and three days in CIT. In Year 3, they spend five days a week in CIT.
Students are required to complete a minimum of 15 weeks’ work placement in Year 2 in an agriculture-related business with a set of agreed objectives for the placement, as well as the assistance of a person on site and a member of the academic staff at Clonakilty Agricultural College or CIT. Students can travel on work placement to international destinations such as Australia, New Zealand and USA; it is a fantastic opportunity for students to travel and learn.
Placements can also be organised in Ireland. In Year 2 also, students focus their learning on an area of farming in more detail.
In Clonakilty, the options offered are an advanced certificate in dairy or drystock herd management. This year focuses on developing the students’ management skills in the areas of grassland soil and animal nutrition.
Two agricultural apprenticeships are being developed by Teagasc and they are going to the approved course planned to start in Autumn 2019.
The course develops farming, business and management skills to enable graduates to follow careers as successful commercial farmers or in the agri business sector.
It will provide graduates with the skills they will need to be able to participate actively in policy decisions – whether they are local, regional or international – which will influence their profession and its role in a modern economy. The potential areas of employment include farm manager, agricultural consultant, sales representative, etc.