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Teagasc Pathways to a ‘Green Cert’

Frequently Asked Questions

Read also: Why study with Teagasc?  

Q. What are my options to getting a ‘Green Cert’ with Teagasc?

A. Teagasc provides the following routes to a Green Cert:

  • Full-time agricultural courses
  • Part-time and Distance agricultural courses
  • Full-time horticultural, forestry and equine Green Cert courses.

Q. Where can I attend full-time Teagasc agricultural courses that lead to a Green Cert?

A. Teagasc offers fulltime programmes in agriculture through a network of six colleges:

Full-time courses are open to all applicants be they school leavers or those returning to agricultural education at a later stage.  Full-time applicants must be 17 years of age by the 1st January following their enrolment.  Full-time learners participate on a daily basis, typically from September through to May /early June (depending on individual course schedules) over a two year cycle.

In the second year (Level 6) learners opt for a specialised advanced programme option. These options are:

Q. Can you tell me more about Teagasc Part-time and Distance education courses?

A. Teagasc part-time and distance education programmes are designed for older learners rather school leavers.

  • The Teagasc Part-time Green Cert programme is intended for applicants who are 23 years of age or older.  Learners attend on a part-time basis.
  • Teagasc Distance Education Green Cert programme is an accelerated route for those who have already attained a non-agricultural major award qualification at or equivalent to Level 6 on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications. This programme requires a greater level of self-directed learning by the learner.

Part-time and Distance Green Cert courses commence on a rolling basis at colleges and across Teagasc advisory regions.  Contact details for colleges can be accessed through the web links above. 

Q. Can I get a Green Cert if I study a Teagasc horticultural, forestry or equine course?

A. Yes. If you complete both a Level 5 and Level 6 Teagasc programme in Horticulture or Forestry or Equine you will have achieved a Green Cert.  Learners who successfully complete the Teagasc Level 5 and 6 horticultural, equine and forestry options meet the education qualifications required for schemes and incentives intended for young  trained farmers.

Horticulture:  Teagasc offers both full-time and short duration Level 5 and 6 courses in Horticulture. Teagasc horticultural programmes are provided at the following two colleges:

Forestry: Teagasc Ballyhaise College provides full-time Level 5 and 6 programmes in Forestry.

Equine: Teagasc Kildalton College also offers full-time Level 5 and Level 6 programmes in Horsemanship and Stud Management.

Q. What are the educational benefits of a Teagasc course to me or my son/daughter?

A. Knowledge and skills are required to run a farm; be it a big or small, full-time or part-time farm.  Farming requires many capabilities as a manager and operator including technical production, farm business and finance administration, work planning, farm software , sustainability and environmental compliance, farm assurance, farm safety and risk management, husbandry and livestock welfare.   A research study conducted across 1,100 farms (Economic returns to formal Agricultural Education, Teagasc 2014) highlighted the strong rates of return of a Teagasc education at individual farm level.  Teagasc courses combine theory, practical instruction and on-farm   placement with an emphasis on ‘learning by doing’.  Learners get an initial grounding to wear the many hats modern farming requires.   A Teagasc education also benefits those seeking to work in the wider land sector or wishing to progress to higher education from their Teagasc education. 

Q. Do Teagasc courses meet the requirements for young trained farmer schemes and incentives?

A. Yes.  National and EU policy prioritises ‘young trained farmers’ for certain schemes and incentives. Depending on the terms and conditions of individual scheme or measures, the upper age to be recognised as a young trained farmer is typically either 35 years of age or 40 years.  Graduates of the two year full-time cycle at agricultural colleges and graduates of Teagasc adult Green Cert programmes meet the education requirements for young trained farmer schemes and incentives.  Measures and schemes where a recognised young trained farmer qualification is either mandatory or advantageous to have include:

  • Young Farmers Scheme
  • National Reserve Scheme – Young Farmer Category
  • Young Farmer Capital investment Scheme under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS)
  • Registered Farm Partnerships/Collaborative Farming Grant Scheme
  • Stamp Duty Exemption on Transfer of Land to Young Trained Farmers
  • Capital Acquisition Tax Relief
  • Stock Relief on Income Tax for Certain Young Trained Farmers.

Q. Where can I get more information on Teagasc courses?

A. Additional information on Teagasc courses can be obtained by:

  • contacting colleges or Teagasc advisory education centres

Teagasc Course Prospectus (PDF)   

Why study with Teagasc?  

The vast majority of those seeking Level 5 and 6 agricultural courses enrol in Teagasc programmes.   There are good reasons for this.  The Teagasc education network is unrivalled in the depth of knowledge and expertise it can draw on to support your education.  Teagasc is at the cutting edge of research and knowledge transfer for the land and agri-food sectors.  You won’t regret enrolling in an Teagasc programme and here are some of the reasons why:

Highly specialised agricultural education facilities 

The Teagasc education network has substantial land and physical resources at their disposal for practical instruction and demonstration of commercial farming.  The total combined area farmed at colleges amounts to just over 1,000 hectares and includes over 1,200 dairy cows, almost 300 suckler (beef) cows, and 1,000 ewes and close to 100 hectares of tillage.  Our colleges also have an extensive range of farm machinery, equipment, and modern workshops for practical teaching purposes.

Teagasc also partners with over 50 private commercial farms known as ‘Education Benchmark Farms’ which are utilised for learner benchmarking exercises and learner discussion group visits.

Hands on’ education and training

For our full-time courses, teaching and learning is split about 50:50 between classroom and outdoor practical instruction. Our practical instruction classes allow mutual interaction to develop between tutors and students in a ‘hands on’ learning environment.  We encourage the development of problem solving, decision making and planning capabilities, utilising discussion groups, visits to external farms and other facilities and external speakers in our delivery approach

Real life experience

As a full-time student you will also spend time away from the college on a host farm or unit.  This is called a Practical Learning Period (PLP) and is part of our Level 5 and Level 6 programmes.  Our students particularly value the real life experience gained from their PLP.  Our PLP programmes are delivered through a network of over 1,000 registered host farms and units.  For Level 6 programmes we encourage and facilitate students to complete their PLP overseas, but it is not a requirement that you go overseas.  New Zealand is the favourite overseas destination.

Access to Teagasc Research and Knowledge Transfer Network

Teagasc Research and Knowledge Transfer services provide in-service training and knowledge exchange to Teagasc educators.  Teagasc course content is aligned to research findings.  Up to date Research farms have been developed at a number of colleges.  There are also specialised resources and facilities at Teagasc’s two horticultural colleges to enable hands-on learning for horticultural learners and likewise for the equine and forestry programmes at the relevant college.

After you graduate

Teagasc offers more than an education.  After graduation, we encourage you to avail of our advisory and research services, discussion group network and continuous professional development programmes for farmers and growers.  If you take up a career in the wider agri-food sector we encourage you to avail of the Teagasc ConnectEd programme.

Teagasc graduates make good use of their Teagasc education

Teagasc conducts a ‘look back’ survey among its Level 6 graduates five years after they graduate. The aggregated findings from those responding show:

  • A very high level of graduates working in the industry post-graduation (90 %+).
  • Substantial involvement at farm management level.
  • Increased levels of farm activity and investment by graduates.
  • A positive view of how their Teagasc education prepared them for their career.
  • A very high level of endorsement of their Teagasc course to others.