Macra na Feirme national president Alan Jagoe has said demand for agriculture education is at record levels and it is totally unacceptable that over 700 students will not be able to pursue vocational education in agricultural colleges due to resource issues and recruitment embargoes.
Agriculture, a strategic sector for smart, green, economic growth needs an adequate supply of young, trained farmers to address the current age structural issues in agriculture and achieve future growth targets, the reality is Ireland needs to get serious and train more young farmers.
Mr. Jagoe said, “There was suggestions this week to turn ‘ghost housing estates’ into training and skills development facilities for trades people which is a worthy project, then surely we can invest and commit the necessary resources to educate young farmers where there is a clear demand for skills and great potential for growth and export earnings in agri food.”
“Young educated people are the key to Food Harvest 2020 and beyond, therefore, agricultural colleges must be in a position firstly to replace staff who for example are on maternity leave, retirement or absence due to long term illness on the same basis that all other Third Level Colleges can replace staff under the above circumstances but also cater for expanding demand for education. Macra fully supports Teagasc in its efforts to secure approval for the recruitment of replacement staff and additional resources to meet extra demand.”