Teagasc Colleges have access to QQI awards at Levels 5 and 6 and the chance to progress to Level 7/8, thanks to their partnership with Technological universities in Ireland which co-deliver degree programmes.

All full-time programmes are divided 50-50 between classroom lessons and outdoor practical instruction providing a “hands-on” learning experience.


The college has 50ha of diverse woodlands, which are used for the practical training of students who participate in the Level 5 and 6 forestry courses.

The only full-time course of the three, this programme is recommended for anyone interested in working in the forestry industry. Irish Country Living spoke with John Kelly, principal of Ballyhaise College, about the opportunities available upon completion of the programme.

“The forestry courses here are aimed at people who are going to work in hands-on roles for forestry companies,” he explains.

“They have a huge demand for people. Graduates here get employment pretty much straightaway – even after finishing their level 5, they can go on to get employment, and then maybe half the class stay on and do their level 6.”

The programme is offered at both Level 5 Certificate in Forestry and Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Forestry levels, which are both one-year programmes. Progression is also available through the higher education links scheme and advanced entry to the BSc in Forestry at South East Technical University in Waterford.

The programme is a well-established course, which has provided the industry with plenty of forest supervisors and self–employed contractors.

“That course has been here since the early 1980s, it’s been around quite a while. Lots of people who work in the forestry sector would have done their education here over the last 25 years, so it is quite a well-known programme and well established within the industry,” John says.

Pig and Poultry

The pig and poultry courses at Ballyhaise are typically delivered on a part-time basis over two-and-a-half years. They are both offered at levels 5 and 6, which upon completion lead to a level 5 Certificate in Agriculture Award and a level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture. The training equips graduates with the knowledge, skill and capabilities to carry out key pig and poultry husbandry activities and manage a pig and/or poultry enterprise.

“We have two pig advisers based in the college and their background and technical expertise are in pig production,” John says. “They deliver part-time pig education to people who are working in the industry and again it is very practical.”

“There is no one else delivering a poultry course except Ballyhaise and again we have a poultry adviser based in the college,” he continues. “Again, that person’s experience, background and training are in poultry. They deliver a specific component in poultry production and after that, you can progress into a Level 6. That is delivered here in the college part-time in the evening.”

Students who complete these courses and who are over the age of 23 also have the option to get their Green Cert through Ballyhaise.


The number of learners attending the college has consistently topped 1,000 since 2015. The full-time courses offered at the college are steady, with around 400 students attending each year. To accommodate this demand, funding of €3million to build new accommodation at the Teagasc Ballyhaise Agricultural College in Co Cavan was recently announced by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD.

“Our demand for courses is steady, it’s been exceptionally high [in past years] and it has remained high,” John explains.

There is a separate application process for each programme. Applicants to the Level 5 certificate courses must be over 17 years on 1 January. Students who have successfully completed their Level 5 Certificate in any of the programmes can progress to the Level 6 Advanced Certificate of that programme. Mature students are welcome.

Courses will start in late August and while the application deadline has passed, there are still spaces available. Anyone interested in applying may do so by visiting Teagesc.ie and following the relevant links or by contacting Ballyhaise College directly on 049 433 8108.

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