Last month, 32 students were awarded an agricultural qualification from the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) Donegal.

Conor Gallagher was presented with the Aurivo-sponsored prize for top student in the Level 8 programme.

On the day, 11 students also graduated with a Level 7 BSc in agriculture, with eight of them currently enrolled in the final year of the Level 8 programme.

On the day, Cara Donaghey was presented with the Inishowen Co-Op-sponsored prize for top student in the Level 7 BSc in agriculture.

Growth in the demand for agriculture courses

The number of students studying agri food-related courses is expanding in ATU Donegal, with now over 150 students studying agriculture either on the animal and crop science or environmental management pathways.

“With the first-year intake in September 2023, increased to over 50, the numbers are boosted by the increasing number of direct entry applicants looking to top up on their Level 6 certificate in agriculture from all over the country,” says lecturer Paddy Sloan.

High employment rate for students

There has also been a high employment rate for students once they graduate college which is a trend that can be seen across the board. According to Paddy, many of the students in ATU Donegal are securing employment within six months of their graduation.

“Many of the recent Level 7 and Level 8 graduates have already secured employment within the agricultural industry in a range of business areas such as farm advisers, Inishowen Co-Op, Aurivo graduate management programme, Teagasc, Symths Daleside Animal Feed, Lakeland Agri, ACRES Donegal, Education delivery and the Irish Organic Association,” says Paddy.

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