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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘There are no CAO points’ – assistant principal on Level 5 Cert in Ag course

There is an age requirement as opposed to a specific CAO requirement for entry to Teagasc’s full-time Level 5 Certificate in Agriculture (5M20454), which is delivered across a network of agricultural colleges nationwide.

Applicants to the full-time QQI-accredited Level 5 Certificate in Agriculture must meet be 17 years or over on January 1st, following entry to the programme.

Unlike undergraduate courses in Irish Higher Education institutions, prospective students apply direct to agricultural colleges, through Teagasc’s website, by completing an application form.

The level 5 is an “introductory course for young people who wish to make their career as farmers and is suitable for people seeking employment on farms,” according to a spokesperson for Teagasc.

Students, who have obtained their level 5 award, can progress to the Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture or progression routes are available through the Higher Education Links Scheme.

No CAO points required

During Teagasc’s live education webinar on Tuesday, February 21st, 2023, which was streamed live to over 3,000 students from second-level schools nationwide, Karen O’Connell, assistant principal at Clonakilty Agricultural College, Co Cork, explained:

“The only requirement we have [for the Level 5 Certificate in Agriculture] is that you must be 17 on January 1st after you start. To apply to an agricultural college for entry this September 2023, firstly, you just have to be 17 on January 1st in 2024.”

“There are no CAO points, and you apply online via Teagasc’s website, where applications are currently open,” she told host, Ellen Doherty.

Application process 

O’Connell explained that prospective students will be guided through the application process online, and they will be required to submit supporting documentation.

If you experience any issues when applying or progressing your application online, contact the college directly.

Before you apply, you will require a copy of your birth cert, evidence/proof of your PPS, a copy of your driver’s licence, a medical card (if applicable) and a signed learner consent form if you are under 18 years of age, which your parent/guardian must complete.

She continued: “We are not going to look at Leaving Certificate points or Applied Leaving Cert marks or the Junior Cert.”

“We get students that come in, and maybe they have completed, for example, a milking course with FRS or with some other company, or they may have done something with a boom sprayer and have a component certificate for that.”

“We look at them individually because everyone’s situation is individual, and sometimes, they can substitute that for another module in some instances.”

“Also, we get queries from parents of prospective students where the student, maybe, unhappy in secondary school.”

“We would encourage people to finish out their second level education, but the requirement to apply is that you must be 17 on January 1st after you start.”

Following completion of the Level 5 Cert in Agriculture, students can progress to its range of Level 6 advanced Cert programmes, which include, but are not limited to, drystock management, dairy herd management or agriculture mechanisation, following which could lead to further educational opportunities at a higher level.

Part-time courses

Teagasc also offers the Level 5 Certificate in Agriculture and Level 6 Specific Purpose Certificate in Farming course on a part-time basis, which requires students to be over the age of 23 at the time of starting the programme.

Also, it delivers a Teagasc Education Green Cert (for non-agricultural award holders), which requires in the region of 190 hours of direct contact across circa 15-18 months.

You can read more about studying the Green Cert on a part-time basis in this news article.

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