The first-ever land-based apprenticeship began last week at the Teagasc Horticulture College in the National Botanic Gardens.

Ten horticulturists from different parts of Ireland wrapped up their first week of block training for the land-based horticulture apprenticeship.

These apprentices are all working for horticulture employers approved by the programme. They will be learning 80% of their trade while on the job, with the remaining 20% being covered through Teagasc's block learning sessions over the next two years.

Once students successfully finish the programme, they will walk away with a QQI higher level 6 certificate in horticulture.

The land-based apprenticeships are providing alternative pathways to further education in the land-based sector.

Offering alternative pathways

This is a significant educational milestone, according to Teagasc head of education Dr Anne-Marie Butler, who welcomed the apprentices.

“The new apprenticeships led by Teagasc offer a new and powerful learning opportunity for learners. We are delighted to work with SOLAS and the National Apprenticeship Office to deliver new land-based apprenticeships.

"We look forward to the launch of the sports turf and agriculture apprenticeships and wish all apprentices and their employers well,” she said.

Teagasc is looking forward to welcoming the first sports turf apprentices this month with the programme based in Teagasc Kilodalton Horticulture College. The demand for this course has been very high and the course is fully subscribed.

Other apprenticeships

Both the level 7 farm manager apprenticeship and the level 6 farm technician apprenticeship remain open for applications with a low uptake in recipients seen so far.

The farm manager apprenticeship programme will welcome its first group of apprentices on 4 December.

Apprentices will carry out on-the-job training with a SOLAS approved employer during the two-year apprenticeship programme.

Off-the-job training will take place at Kildalton College and Teagasc Moorepark in three- to five-day blocks, all of which will be supported by online learning.


To be eligible for the farm manager apprenticeship programme, an applicant must reach the following criteria:

  • Be directly employed by a SOLAS approved employer.
  • Have a minimum qualification of a level 6 advanced certificate in agriculture (or equivalent or higher award), or anyone working in the agriculture sector for two years full-time with the relevant experience and an NFQ Level 6 or higher qualification.
  • Complete the apprentice registration form with SOLAS.
  • Upon completion of the farm management apprenticeship programme, the apprentice will hold a QQI level 7 bachelor of science in professional sustainable farm management.

    The farm technician apprenticeship, based in Teagasc Clonakilty College, will welcome apprentices on 13 December.

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