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Teagasc Green Cert Course Update

Around 1,100 people have attended the 27 Teagasc Green Cert course commencement events organised by Teagasc in December. These events were organised to facilitate 2015 Young Farmer Scheme (YFS) and National Reserve (NR) scheme applicants. The EU commission clarified this autumn that 2015 YFS/NR scheme applicants needed to enrol in an approved agricultural programme by the end of 2015, in order to fulfil 2015YFS/NR scheme conditions. This requirement only affected those scheme applicants who had not already achieved the required educational qualification, or had not already commenced a course leading to such a qualification. Teagasc, as the main provider of young farmer training, made arrangements to ensure that scheme applicants could be enrolled in a Green Cert programme in December.

Demand for the Teagasc adult Green Cert programme is now at an all-time high. Over the past year Teagasc has enrolled in excess of 3,500 learners in its adult Green Cert programme, up from the normal circumstances where 500 learners would be enrolled each year. Many factors are driving the exceptional demand levels demand for the Green Cert. These include the requirement to have Green Cert, or its equivalent, for many farm schemes, financial and capital taxation incentives for young farmers. Another key driver is the desire of many adults engaged in farming to pursue an agricultural education to improve their farming knowledge and technology if they had not had a previous opportunity to do so.

Despite having enrolled over 3,500 learners since autumn 2014, the demand for the Teagasc Green Cert still remains at exceptional levels with a further 3,800 people having express interest in being enrolled in the Green Cert.

Commenting on the situation, Professor Gerry Boyle, Teagasc Director said that Teagasc has strived to accommodate the unprecedented level of Green Cert demand in a very challenging environment. For any organisation to absorb over seven times the normal enrolment level in just over a year is an enormous hurdle. Professor Boyle acknowledged the role of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) for sanctioning additional temporary staff resources to meet the demand. The extra resources provided have being crucial in enabling Teagasc ramp up its enrolment capacity over the past year.