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Maria Keane - Green Cert experience

Maria Keane - Green Cert experience

“The Green Cert gives you a great foundation in agriculture,” says Maria about the Teagasc distance Level 6 Specific Purpose Certificate in Farming course, which she completed at Gurteen College. Maria talks about her distance "Green Cert" course which she found flexible and accommodating

  • Student: Maria Keane, Kilcormac, Offaly.
  • Course: L6 Specific Purpose Certificate in Farming (distance).

Distance Certificate in Farming Course

Maria says that despite coming from a dairy farm in Limerick, agriculture was never really on her radar. “I studied psychology and music at the University of Limerick and then gained a post graduate qualification in accountancy.” Now married to husband Padraig, the couple are also in a business partnership and run their dairy herd in Co Offaly. “The Green Cert gives you a great foundation in agriculture,” says Maria. “I did the course by distance learning at Gurteen College and I found the course was flexible and accommodating.

A lot of other students on the course had full-time jobs while they were doing the course. “We would go in every month for skills training etc, which meant there was a good chance to chat and, of course due to Covid, there was a lot of teaching on Zoom.”

Maria's farming system

Maria developed a great interest in the breeding side of the business. “I love working with figures and spread sheets,” she says. “I like studying the traits of the various bulls and how they complement our herd.” In collaboration with Padraig, Maria chooses Norwegian red bulls and others to use on their herd. Their breeding company supplies straws for bulls that may be less well known in Ireland.“I thought the course was brilliant,” concludes Maria. “As well as technical teaching, we did a lot on the business side and we try and balance our activities so that we can reduce stress for all our stakeholders and achieve a good work/life balance.”

Course co-ordinator: Melissa White...

“Students must already have a Level 6 Major Award to apply for the course.

Learning is a blended mix of online and typically one day per month onsite, with a focus on practical skills. There is less contact time on this version of the Green Cert. The student is expected to carry out self-directed learning in their own time. “Students come from a wide variety of backgrounds, which adds to the learner experience. There is a good support network and as with all education, active engagement is key to success on the course. We aspire to build students’ confidence and encourage each student to reach their full potential.”

This article was first published in Today's Farm - July/August 2022 where you can read more articles like this one. | Read about Teagasc /FBD Student of the Year Awards 2021

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