Tony Petit, the head of education in Teagasc, has warned that new blood is needed to help sustain our now vibrant farming sector. Mr. Petit says numbers are specifically required in the dairy industry.
With recent labour shortage concerns and the current farm population ageing, Mr. Petit says never has there been “a greater need” for young educated workers in the industry.
He said "For the dairy sector, there has never been more need for people to get involved in ag college courses to get employment on a dairy farm. There are more opportunities than ever probably because dairy herds are increasing in size and there is going to be big demand for well-trained people out there.”
He also noted that the challenge facing contractors as of late is labour availability. Although while Mr Pettit said he anticipates a strong demand for Teagasc's adult green cert courses next September, he also expects the demand for full-time higher education courses may decrease.
He said "The adult courses are likely to stay strong but we would expect full-time higher education courses in agriculture to go down a bit. We have been anticipating a dip for two or three years and it hasn't happened so we would expect this year that it will and it will start impacting,".
MR. Petit also said new opportunities in the industry are opening up due to the economies recovery, and says there are now opportunities for work in landscape, design, and sports turf management.
Mr. Petit concluded by advising all those who may be interested in ag college full-time courses to submit applications in the coming weeks. Forms can be downloaded directly at www.teagasc.ie or obtained from agricultural colleges.