Intake for three new farm apprenticeships will begin from September 2023, with Teagasc currently developing the roles with the Department of Further and Higher Education, the minister with responsibility for the department Simon Harris has said.
The apprenticeships include a Level 7 farm manager course, a Level 6 farm technician course and a Level 6 horticulture course.
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal on Thursday at Ploughing 2022, he said that the apprenticeships are a “very significant moment” in the development of farming apprenticeships.
“The specific number of apprenticeships will be determined by employer interest, so for every apprentice you take on, you need an employer.
“So what Teagasc will be doing, working with my own department, will be linking with employers in the coming weeks and months to try and generate as much interest as possible,” he said.
He added that there is also a €2,000 incentive payment for anyone that takes on an apprentice and he is expecting a lot of interest in them.
The minister said there has been real progress in terms of developing apprenticeships for the farm sector.
“Believe it or not, we actually had a reality in this country that there was a law that meant you couldn’t actually create statutory apprenticeships in farming or fishing or horticulture.
“[On Wednesday] in the Seanad, I passed the higher education authority bill and that will now allow to develop farming apprenticeships.
"By the end of the year, we will have an apprenticeship as a farm manager, a level seven degree, we will have a farm technician apprenticeship and we will have an apprenticeship in horticulture,” he said.
Minister Harris believes that the conversation in Ireland “has been narrowed” when it comes to people’s options after school.
“By changing the CAO website and putting apprenticeships prominently there alongside further education and training, alongside university opportunities, I’m really hoping and expecting that more school leavers will decide that ‘yes, that apprenticeship route is for me’.”