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New Pig Farm Managers Course Commences

A new Pig Farm Managers Course, the first of its kind in Ireland for pig production, offered by the Teagasc Pig Development Department, commenced in Portlaoise today, Thursday, 27 September 2018. The new course is offered following considerable consultation with key pig industry stakeholders.

New Pig Farm Managers Course Commences

The course is aimed at pig farm staff with a good knowledge of pig husbandry and production, who have been identified by their employers as potential pig farm managers

Skilled staff who are motivated to deliver a high level of technical performance are essential in pig production.  Large, specialised units with skilled, well-trained staff were the drivers of the world class productivity in the industry in the past.  The supply of staff from the old ‘Athenry Pig course’ was the foundation on which this productivity was achieved. The availability of better paid employment outside of agriculture and especially for semi-skilled labour in construction resulted in a mass exodus of Irish workers from the pig industry in the early 2000s.  That exodus also led to a reduced number of qualified and competent pig farm managers.  

In the mid-2000s, the Teagasc Pig Development Department, in conjunction with Ballyhaise and Clonakilty Agricultural colleges, initiated a FETAC (now QQI) accredited pig husbandry course at Ballyhaise and at Moorepark/Clonakilty. Four such courses have been completed with over 160 students trained and upskilled in pig production. These courses help to ensure pig farm operatives are trained to the highest standards of animal husbandry.

There is a need to further develop such courses and following consultation with key industry stakeholders the Pig Development Department have now started a Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) accredited Level 6 Specific Purpose course for Pig Farm Managers. The course is aimed at pig farm staff with a good knowledge of pig husbandry and production, who have been identified by their employers as potential pig farm managers.

Speaking at the start of today’s course, Head of Teagasc Pigs Knowledge Transfer, Ciarán Carroll said: “I’m delighted with the response to this first course. We have 20 students enrolled for this inaugural course. The pig sector has been under pressure in recent months. No different to our colleagues in the dairy sector, there is a dearth of skilled farm staff and also quality pig farm managers. We in the Teagasc Pig Development Department hope that this course will help to somewhat fill that void and lay the foundations for subsequent courses that will ensure the future viability and success of the pig sector, the third most important agricultural sector in Ireland  after milk and beef.”

The course will be led by the Pig Development Department Specialist Pigs Advisors and delivered by a mix of Teagasc Pig Development Department staff and invited guest speakers. Exams and project assignments will form the main part of the course level 6 assessments, which will be verified by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the independent State agency responsible for promoting quality and accountability in education and training services in Ireland.