A number of new farm apprenticeship programmes have been announced by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris.

The farm apprenticeships are part of a suite of 16 new apprenticeship programmes in total, which were launched alongside an additional 1,056 targeted college places on Tuesday. The programmes will be offered through the CAO for the 2022/2023 academic year.

Those apprenticeships of note to the farm sector include a Level 7 farm manager course, a Level 6 farm technician course and a Level 6 horticulture course.

All three courses are at the stage of “occupational profile approved”, according to the Department of Further and Higher Education.

Levy abolished

Minister Harris also confirmed that the traditional post-Leaving Cert course levy of €200 will be abolished in September.

Speaking on Tuesday, he said a “real effort” has been made to organise new college places and apprenticeship programmes, which are “sought after” and which will “produce graduates with the skills our country is crying out for”.

"After a stressful number of weeks for school leavers, I hope today will offer some good news about the weeks ahead,” he said.

‘Multiple pathways’

Minister Harris said the addition of new apprenticeship programmes is “essential [as] we continue to expand our third level system for everyone”.

“There must be multiple pathways that learners can take as they prepare for their chosen careers.

"There are different routes to getting where you want to go and we are working hard to ensure they are accessible to everyone,” he said.

Increased interest

The Department of Further and Higher Education reported that, in 2021, a record 8,607 new apprentices were registered in the apprenticeship system and that this was an increase of nearly 40% compared with 2019.

It says this “was partly due” to the Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme, which was introduced in July 2020.

In November last year, the CAO 2022 application system opened and for the first time it included information on apprenticeship options.

For more information on apprenticeship programmes available to you, see here.