College isn’t for everyone. If you don’t want to go to college there are other ways you can progress your education. If you are a practical, hands-on learner, there are many further education pathways that you might like to explore. Further education includes any study after secondary education that’s not part of higher education. An apprenticeship might be a great option for you as the majority provide 50% on-the-job learning.

Over the last number of years, we have seen an increase in funding and support for apprenticeships in Ireland. The Action Plan for Apprenticeships 2021 to 2025 includes a target to reach 10,000 new registrations every year by 2025 and provide new financial support for employers. Figures show the apprenticeship population has increased to 24,212, with a record 8,607 new registrations in 2021.

Apprenticeship incentives

It was announced in the 2023 budget that certain employers who provide apprenticeships can get a grant of €2,000 per year for each registered apprentice. This incentive is to encourage more companies and employers to provide apprenticeships in Ireland.

Employers can also avail of the gender-based bursary announced in April 2022. This payment is available to employers who employ apprentices (of the underrepresented gender) on any national apprenticeship programme with greater than 80% representation of a single gender.

Under Budget 2023, €300,000 in funding is also being provided to further expand the national Access to Apprenticeship Programme.

There are currently 62 national apprenticeship programmes available, in many different industries. To become an apprentice, you need to be hired by an employer for the duration of your apprenticeship. All apprenticeship employers are formally approved to employ apprentices. All national apprenticeships lead to a qualification on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Apprenticeships lead to awards at Levels 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 on the NFQ with each level between two and four years in duration, depending on the programme.

Teagasc apprenticeships

Teagasc has progressed the development of five land-based apprenticeship programmes in collaboration with Consortium Groups (representatives of industry, stakeholders, Teagasc staff and graduates from Teagasc courses).

These apprenticeships are in their later stages of development with the aim to make them available for applications from July to September 2023. These programmes have been submitted for QQI Validation and are awaiting final approval.


Horticulturists have scientific knowledge of how to cultivate and propagate plants and use this knowledge to provide technical information to fruit, vegetable, and flower growers, as well as farmers. Horticulturists also conduct pest and disease investigations and experiment with improved varieties of plants with greater resistance to disease. This proposed apprenticeship is a Higher NFQ Level 6 and the proposed duration is two years.

Farm technician

Agricultural technicians repair and maintain machinery, equipment and buildings for the agricultural, horticultural, forestry and landscape industries. This farm technician apprenticeship is being developed as an NFQ level 6 programme, delivered across two years.

Farm manager

Farm managers are employed to manage and carry out duties associated with the day-to-day and long-term management of large commercial farms. It is their responsibility to ensure the farm runs efficiently and profitably. Their day-to-day activities will depend on the type of farm being managed:

  • Livestock (animals).
  • Arable (crops).
  • Mixed (animals and crops).
  • This Level 7 proposed apprenticeship is submitted as an ordinary Bachelor’s degree with the aim of it being delivered across two years.

    Stud farm assistant manager

    If you have a passion for equine science, working outdoors and learning on-site, an assistant stud manager apprenticeship might be for you. Currently, still under development it is not yet known what this apprenticeship programme will contain but it is a proposed NFQ Level 7, delivered across three years.

    Sports turf technician

    A sports turf technician formulates and implements proper turf grass maintenance schedules and management practices, including recognising, identifying, and treating turf grass insects and diseases that could damage the quality of athletic turf. It is not yet known what this apprenticeship programme will include but it is an NFQ Level 6 programme aimed at being delivered across two years.


    Subject to QQI validation of the apprenticeship programmes and upon successful completion, each apprenticeship will be recognised by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for access to schemes, services and grants provided by the Government.

    Guidance on apprenticeship options

    Your guidance counsellor will be able to help advise you on apprenticeship options. Ask today! There is also a Freephone number available for advice and support: 1800 794 487. For a full list of the 62 national apprenticeships along with the apprenticeships currently being developed visit

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