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Teagasc - Four Apprenticeship Programmes

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Teagasc - Four Apprenticeship Programmes

Paddy Smith Teagasc pictured on the left with a group of the new horticulture apprentices at a machinery workshop class in the machinery shed, Ashtown

The programmes offer hands-on training in land-based professions


Cormac Strain has a degree in retail and service management decided to start a horticulture apprenticeship in 2023

Cormac Strain has a degree in retail and service management decided to start a horticulture apprenticeship in 2023

Teagasc has introduced four apprenticeship programmes in 2023, covering areas such as sportsturf, horticulture, farm technician, and farm management. These programmes, ranging from certificate level 6 to degree level 7, providing hands-on training with SOLAS Approved Employers over two years. Apprenticeships offer a pathway to develop skills and careers while providing employers access to knowledgeable and motivated staff.

One apprentice has shared insights from the applied horticulture course based at the Teagasc College in Dublin. Cormac Strain chose to start a horticulture apprenticeship in 2023. 

Strain said: “It turned out that we have a wide range of ages on the course. Another misconception I had was that apprentices must survive on a modest ‘stipend’. We all receive a proper wage and one of the group drives an electric vehicle!” 

Strain and his wife moved to Sligo where he sought work and eventually was offered a six-month work placement at Hazelwood House near the city, as an assistant to Mick Horkan the head gardener. 

“After the initial six month period I was glad to be offered a job. Though they were new to me I enjoyed the variety of tasks be it weeding, cutting grass, pest and disease control and other gardening jobs. I was learning a huge amount from Mick who is a charismatic individual and a highly skilled gardener. 

Strain continued: “I was delighted when he suggested I should consider the Horticulture (Higher Certificate Level 6) apprenticeship. I was concerned that I might be too old to be an apprentice but discovered there was a wide age range among the ten apprentices on the course: One is aged 17 and another apprentice has a 17 year-old daughter!”

“The course goes into greater depth than I anticipated and is very enjoyable. There is a lot of very practical skills learning and the lectures are extremely well put together. The lecturers are clearly passionate about what they do. For me the huge benefit is that I am getting paid while doing the course. I couldn’t do it otherwise and I am convinced that the knowledge and skills I am accumulating as well as the networking will generate new opportunities for me in the future” Strain concluded.


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