Friday, March 8  sees the spring education open day taking place in Clonakilty Agricultural College.

This past September has seen the revised education programme for Level 5/6 courses implemented in Clonakilty Agricultural College based in Darrara just outside the town of Clonakilty.

For students attending these courses there is a greater emphasis on farm safety, grassland management and sustainability.

People coming to see the college and what’s on offer will be brought through the different programmes that lead to qualifications from Level 5 up to Level 8.

For students starting at Level 5 next September, there are a couple of changes to the programme which should help with the learning experience. In 1styear, students will go on short 4-week placement early in the course, in October, and return to that farm again in the following spring.

During their time in the college between September and May they’ll get the foundation training in areas of livestock husbandry, grassland management, farm business and more specific training in areas such as pesticide application.

In 2nd year which starts the following September the course specialises in either Drystock (Cattle and Sheep) or the longer-established Dairy Herd Management course.

Both courses would have longer periods of on-farm training incorporating the calving/lambing periods on farms but also the breeding season on cattle and dairy farms.

Graduates of Clonakilty’s Level 6 programme have many routes of progression after the two years with us. The Level 6 in its own right is required for applying for jobs with the Department of Agriculture.

By 2020 there will be an apprenticeship route in place with a Level 7 qualification. This will be an important extension to the current programmes as there is an ever-increasing demand from farmers in the region to have enthusiastic, forward-thinking young people looking to manage the farms of the next decade. In this respect it is one area of the rural economy where it is a sellers’ market.

The higher education routes still exist and continue to expand with graduates of Darrara able to gain “advanced entry” to degree courses in agriculture in all of the Institutes of Technology in Munster; including Cork, Tralee and Waterford.

For people who have a non-agricultural qualification there is the option of gaining a Teagasc Green Cert (the Specific Purpose Certificate in Farming) through a part-time route.

The Open Day starts at 11am on the morning of March 8 and all are welcome to explore their options in agricultural education and job prospects that can arise from coming to Darrara in 2019.