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An update on horticulture apprenticeships in Ireland

The National Botanic Gardens is home to the Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture, located at Glasnevin, Dublin 9. Photo: Peter Stears.

An apprenticeships is defined as a program of structured education and training which formally combines and alternates learning in the workplace with learning in an education or training centre.



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31 July 2018

John Mulhern of Teagasc provided the attendees of GLAS 2018 with an update on the horticulture apprenticeships in Ireland, available to prospective students.

Horticulture apprenticeships in Ireland

  • In 2017,  there were 4,700 apprentices in 36 apprentice programmes around the country.
  • In 2017 4,900 employers trained 12,000 apprentices completing their training.
  • Some of the main sectors for apprenticeships were electrical, finance, hospitality, and the ICT industry.
  • As of December 2017 a further 26 programmes were announced for development including: Horticulture, Equine, and Agriculture.
  • By 2020 there will be 78 apprenticeships on offer across wide range of sectors from Certificate to PhD.
  • By 2020 a target of 9,000 apprentices registering annually for training with more than 7,000 employers availing of this pipeline.
  • Source

New  Land Sector Apprenticeships Proposals

There were 26 apprenticeship proposals green-lighted in December 2017 which included five land sector proposals:

  • Sports turf Technician.
  • Horticultural Technician.
  • Farm Manager.
  • Farm Technician.
  • Stud Farm Manager.

Active industry involvement is critical for the success of these apprenticeships.

Apprenticeship in Horticulture

  • Industry-led (consortium) programme.
  • Duration of 2 years at level 6.
  • Learning alternates between on-the-job (80%) and off-the-job (20%).
  • The apprentice is employed and paid under a contract of apprenticeship between employee and employer.
  • The apprentice is paid a salary for the duration of the apprenticeship, both on- and off-the-job.
  • The horticulturist at the end should be able to work autonomously and competently.
  • Planned starting date: Sept 2019.

Critical Path to Developing an Apprenticeship

  • Step 1 Proposal – Research and Skills Need
  • Step 2 Assessments and Approval for Development
  • Step 3 Project Plan Approval
  • Step 4/5 Programme development /Occupational Profile Development and Approval
  • Step 6/7 QA approved and Programme Validation
  • Industrial Training Order
  • Step 8 Implementation Plan and Budget
  • Step 9 Approval of Employers and Register Apprentices
  • Step 10 Apprenticeships Underway

In March Growtrade attended a Teagasc Open Day at their College of Amenity Horticulture to discuss the importance the college’s Open Days and to the apprentice but also to the trade.

We also sat down with one of Teagasc’s students, Mario O’Kelly, who was in the middle of his Level 6 Advanced Horticulture course at Teagasc. He told us what it was like to be a student of horticulture in 2018, and what the college has done for him.

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