Teagasc Ballyhaise Students GraduateAwards and certificates were presented to over 700 graduates of Teagasc Ballyhaise College, Co Cavan, by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather HumphreysTD and Director of Teagasc, Professor Gerry Boyle. This is the final of a number of such events across the three Teagasc Agricultural colleges to take place this autumn.
Numbers graduating from Teagasc colleges and Regional Education centres are exceptionally high, with overall certificates being issued surpassing 6,000 in 2018.
Director of Teagasc, Professor Boyle outlined that in the last four years numbers of students completing certificates with Teagasc Ballyhaise have increased year on year. He said; “Over 2,000 certificates have been received by graduates since the autumn of 2013 and this year we have a further 700 certificates being received by graduates. He added that the college has a long history of delivering education and with its partnership with Dundalk IT, students can progress to degree level. He also reminded those present about the importance of building sustainability into all aspects of our agricultural production and how important education is in ensuring this happens.
Principal of Teagasc Ballyhaise College, John Kelly pointed out that in the early years of the college, less than 40 students attended the college each year. This academic year, 348 students enrolled on first year courses with now over 1,000 learners attending the various courses on offer in the college.
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD outlined the importance that the Government’s Rural Development Programme has played in encouraging people to come back into education and stressed the importance of lifelong learning to those graduating. She said:
“Huge congratulations to the graduates on reaching this landmark. Events like this are the stand-out moments that we remember forever but the truth is that today is the culmination of many years of hard work, commitment and dedication. Graduation is not the end, however; it is only the beginning. Coming from a farming background, I know from experience that continuous professional development is crucial to keeping up-to-speed with changes at farm level. For this reason, I would encourage the graduates to never stop learning or upskilling.”
There has been continued high numbers of students completing the one year Level 5 Certificate in Agriculture as well as the second year Level 6 Specific Purpose Certificate in Farm Administration. Forestry continues to be popular, with many students receiving either a Level 5 or Level 6 Certificate in Forestry. Students receiving Certificates for part-time courses have increased significantly in the last 3 years. Half the graduates that received certificates were either, from the Part-time evening course, or the Distance Education Level 6 Specific Purpose Certificate in Farm Administration (Green Cert), a record for the college.
Overall student of the year went to Eugene McGeough from Shantonagh, Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan who also received his Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Dairy Herd Management on the night. Eugene completed his first year in Gurteen Agricultural College in Co. Tipperary before transferring to second year in Ballyhaise. His academic performance and contribution to his class, coupled with a very positive practical work placement on Tyrell’s dairy farm in Kildalkey, Co. Meath demonstrated that he was an exceptional student and worthy of the prize. Eugene is currently on work experience in Australia. Oliver Tierney, Assistant Principal of Teagasc Ballyhaise, congratulated Eugene acknowledging the great example that he has shown to all.