Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Rachel Berry from Health Service Executive to give some advice for people considering this job:

Rachel Berry

Pharmacist

Health Service Executive

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Rachel Berry
Consider your options carefully. It is likely that you are expecting top grades in your Leaving Certificate if you are considering pharmacy as a career so there will be plenty of doors open to you. Make sure you do plenty of work experience in different areas of pharmacy and if it is healthcare you are interested in then consider getting some work experience in medicine etc. I know quite a few people who have completed a pharmacy degree only to realise they actually want to do medicine!
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Organisation Profile - Teagasc

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Teagasc 

Teagasc


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Farm Manager - Dry Stock
Kieran Magee

Kieran Magee
Farmer - Dairy
Denis Reidy

Denis Reidy
Careers in Dairy Farming
Teagasc

Teagasc
Farmer - Dairy
Bryan Daniels

Bryan Daniels
Event Rider
Luke Drea

Luke Drea
Horticulturist
Paul Dowling

Paul Dowling
Contact Details


 

Teagasc - the agriculture and food development authority in Ireland

Teagasc - the agriculture and food development authority in Ireland

Career Opportunities... header image
What are the main occupations in this sector?


A career in agriculture, horticulture or forestry can be very rewarding and fulfilling. You will have an opportunity to develop a lifestyle which competes very favourably with other professions, particularly with regard to quality of life and job satisfaction.

There is a very broad range of occupations in this sector. Below is a just sample of some of the popular occupations and those currently in demand:

See Occupations Database and search by sector for a comprehensive list.

 

What types of employment contracts are there?


Employment contacts in the sector vary with opportunities to work

  • Full time
  • Part time
  • Contract work/peak seasonal work

 

What are the typical earnings of these occupations?


In primary agriculture, this is dependent on whether you are full time or part time, the commodity produced and the size of the farm.

In the private sector, earnings are dependent on the labour market.

Generally the following applies:

  • Operatives: Minimum Wage
  • Professional (Level 7/8 Training) 30-70k
  • Teagasc Graduates (Level 6 and above) 25-40k

For more information see Teagasc National Farm Survey

 

How do you get a job in this sector?


Civil service jobs in the agrifood sector are advertised through the Public Appointments Service, in the national newspapers and through publicjobs.ie.

For Teagasc opportunities, click here.

The wider public and private sector advertise widely in national newspapers and through employment agencies.

 


Education and Training... header image
What qualifications are required?


 

You can now complete your training in one of the eight Teagasc colleges, at a local training centre or on line through our new Teagasc eCollege facility. This flexibility allows some students to pursue an off-farm job or an apprenticeship while completing their training programme.

Teagasc has increased the focus on practical learning with the introduction of management practice on the home farm. This work experience includes supervised project work, participation in a discussion group and will provide you with an opportunity to relate theory to practice.

Teagasc has a close working relationship with the Institutes of Technology and you can progress from Certificate up to Honours Degree level. You can also be referred to other training organisations to acquire skills which will improve your prospects of getting off-farm employment.

Our further education and higher education certificate courses are accredited by QQI  which means that our graduates have a qualification which is recognised at home and abroad.

 

 

What are the typical routes into this sector?


There is no typical route into this sector. Employees enter the Agriculture Sector by many different routes, and often through family tradition.

 


Advice... header image
What advice do you have for school leavers?


Contact your local Teagasc centre if this is the sector you wish to work in. You can also check out college courses and open days on our website here

 


Meet our People...
"You are your own boss with nobody to please only yourself"
Careers in Dairy Farming
Teagasc
"The day starts at 6am when I get up - the first job is going for the cows and doing the morning milking"
Farmer - Dairy
Bryan Daniels
"In a modern 'cyber' world I feel really lucky to be able to spend time outdoors and lead a healthier lifestyle"
Event Rider
Luke Drea
"I guess its down to making important decisions with confidence and having courage and not to follow everybody else"
Farm Manager - Dry Stock
Kieran Magee
"You get to do projects from the start, and bring them to completion, you get to see something for the work you've done"
Horticulturist
Paul Dowling

Employer Insights... header image
Getting the job...
Main challenges...
Typical day...
Further training...
Advice if considering this job...
The lifestyle...
Whats cool...
Not so cool...

Global Opportunities... header image
Are there overseas opportunities available?

All Teagasc/FET courses are recognised worldwide. Opportunities exist for qualified candidates to work abroad.

 

Are there opportunities in this sector for non-Irish nationals?

There are many opportunities in this sector for non-Irish nationals.  Non-Irish nationals would be employed in the following areas among others:

  • Farm Labouring
  • Forestry Work

 


About this Sector... header image
Please give an overview of your sector?


The Agri-Food Industry remains one of Ireland's most important indigenous industries. Ireland is known all over the world as the "The Food Island" Around 116,000 people are employed in Ireland's agricultural, forestry and fishing sectors.

See Food Harvest Report 2025 click here.

The Agri-Food Sector can be sub divided into the following areas:

  • Milk and Dairy Products
  • Cattle and Beef
  • Sheepmeat
  • Pigmeat
  • Poultry and Eggs
  • Potatoes
  • Horticulture
  • The Organic Sector
  • Cereals
  • Beverages
  • Prepared Foods
  • Chilled and Frozen Foods
  • Confectionery
  • Food Preparations
  • Irish Horse Industry
  • Forestry
  • Sea Fisheries and Aquaculture

Farming skills used to be passed on from one generation to the next, however, due to the scientific and technical methods now involved, relevant training is also a requirement, particularly when applying for grant aid.

Teagasc offers a wide range of courses in its centres nationwide.

 

What is the size and scope of the sector?


The agrifood sector in Ireland is thriving. Figures released by Bord Bia show that the value of Irish food and drink exports increased by 12%, or €1 billion,  to reach an all-time high of €8.85 billion.

The strongest performing categories were dairy (€2.6 billion), meat (€2.59 billion), prepared foods (€1.5 billion) and seafood (€420 million). As a result, the sector accounted for 25% of the rise in total export revenue. Overall, the industry is estimated to be worth €24 billion. Almost 50,000 people are directly employed in the food and drink sector with a further 60,000 employed indirectly in all regions of the country.The manufacture of food and drink products is Ireland's most important indigenous industry with Ireland competing

Almost 50,000 people are directly employed in the food and drink sector with a further 60,000 employed indirectly in all regions of the country.The manufacture of food and drink products is Ireland's most important indigenous industry with Ireland competing successfully in over 170 markets.

 

What are the current issues affecting this sector?


Government Labour Reports forecast a continued decline in the number of people employed in traditional agriculture careers such as farming, but the wider sector offers many new opportunities in the areas such as:

  • Food Science
  • Horse Breeding
  • Environmental Officer/Management
  • Horse Racing (Jockey)
  • Agricultural Research
  • Forestry

 

What changes are anticipated over the next 5 years


There are a number of interconnected issues of significance which will affect the agrifood sector- i.e.

  • climate change and its effect on food production
  • global  population growth and rising income levels and their effect on global food security
  • increases in international commodity and food prices   
  • the importance of biotechnology in increasing food production  

As a significant food exporter, these changes offer particular advantages which the Irish food sector can capitalise on and in the medium to long term should improve the image of the sector as a producer of quality food and as an employer. 

There are now also interactions between the food sector and high-tech sectors that would not have been thought possible five years ago, providing new opportunities for growth.

See Future Skills Needs of the Food and Drinks Sector 2017.

 

Do you have any statistics relevant to the sector?


  • The industry is estimated to be worth €24 billion.
  • Almost 50,000 people are directly employed in the food and drink sector
  • A further 60,000 are employed indirectly in all regions of the country.
  • The manufacture of food and drink products is Ireland's most important indigenous industry with Ireland competing successfully in over 170 markets.

 

Are there any areas in your sector currently experiencing skills shortages?


There are labour shortages reported in the traditionally labour intensive jobs of fruit picking, planting and harvesting. A large number of farms recruit workers for seasonal work.

There are also opportunities in the areas of food processing, marketing and fertiliser sales.

 


About Us... header image

Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority, is the national body providing integrated research, advisory and education services to the agriculture and food industry and rural communities. Its mission is to support science-based innovation in the agri-food sector and the broader bio-economy that will underpin profitability, competitiveness and sustainability.

It was established in September 1988 under the Agriculture (Research, Training and Advice) Act, 1988. The 11 member Board of Teagasc is appointed by the Minister for Agriculture and food and has representatives from the farming organisations, the food industry, the Universities, the Department of Agriculture and Food and Teagasc staff.

Video: Introduction to Teagasc - The Agriculture and Food Development Authority of Ireland

The organisation is funded by State Grant-in-Aid; the National Development Plan; fees for research, advisory and education services; income from national and EU competitive research programmes; and revenue from farming activities and commodity levies.

Teagasc employs over 1300 staff in 70 locations throughout Ireland. It has an annual operating budget in excess of €170 million.

Teagasc operates in partnership with all sectors of the agriculture and food industry and with rural development agencies.

View: Food Harvest Report 2020

Advisory Services

Teagasc is a unique organisation incorporating research, knowledge transfer and education in a single organisation. Knowledge transfer supports innovation by farmers on how they manage their businesses and provides access to the technologies they can apply to improve their competitiveness.

The Teagasc 2030 foresight report identified a significant need to enhance the transfer of research knowledge to farmers to assist them to innovate and develop sustainable rural businesses.

The knowledge transfer advisory programme is delivered by advisers in the Teagasc Advisory Area Units. These advisers are in contact with some 80,000 farmers and rural dwellers each year, of which approximately 45,000 avails of our intensive farm consultancy service. The advisory service is supported by specialist enterprise advisers based in the Teagasc development centres.

The best technologies and the latest research available is transferred to farmers using a variety of methods, including, discussion groups, individual consultations, Farm Management Newsletters and the Teagasc BETTER Farm programme and through the education and training programme

Education

Teagasc is the main provider of further education in agriculture, food, horticulture, forestry and equine studies. Many of our courses incorporate management practices and technologies on the home farm, supervised project work and discussion groups.

In collaboration with Institutes of Technology, we are providing an opportunity for students to advance from certificate level courses to honours degree level and beyond. Our further education and higher level courses are accredited by QQI which means that all our graduates have a qualification which is recognised at home and abroad.

Over the years Teagasc has developed and delivered training programmes, workshops and seminars for the food & related sectors. These programmes are in the areas of innovation, food safety, quality and legislation

Video: Kildaton Agricultural College

Research

Teagasc is the leading organisation in the fields of agriculture and food research in Ireland, undertaking innovative research in:

  • Food
  • Animal Production and Grassland
  • Crops, Environment and Land Use
  • Rural Economy and Innovation

Our annual research portfolio comprises some 300 research projects, carried out by 500 scientific and technical staff in our research centres throughout Ireland.

National Research Collaboration

We collaborate extensively with our colleagues in Irish universities. Our post-graduate fellowship programme, which supports more than 100 MSc and PhD students annually in our research centres, enhances this collaboration.

International Research Collaboration

We participate extensively in EU Framework Programmes and we have developed bilateral agreements with research organisations in Europe, the USA and New Zealand.

The Irish economy in general, agricultural producers and consumers specifically, have benefited substantially from the technological development and new information emanating from research undertaken by Irish scientists.

Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority, is the national body providing integrated research, advisory and education services to the agriculture and food industry and rural communities. Its mission is to support science-based innovation in the agri-food sector and the broader bio-economy that will underpin profitability, competitiveness and sustainability.

Education

Teagasc is the main provider of further education in agriculture, food, horticulture, forestry and equine studies. Many of our courses incorporate management practices and technologies on the home farm, supervised project work and discussion groups.

In collaboration with Institutes of Technology we are providing an opportunity for students to advance from certificate level courses to honours degree level and beyond. Our further education and higer education courses are accredited by QQI, which means that our graduates have a qualification which is recognised at home and abroad.

Over the years Teagasc has developed and delivered training programmes, workshops and seminars for the food & related sectors. These programmes are in the areas of innovation, food safety, quality and legislation.

Teagasc Agricultural/Horticultural Colleges:

  • Clonakilty Agricultural College
  • Kildalton Agricultural and Horticultural College
  • Ballyhaise Agricultural College
  • College of Amenity Horticulture
  • Teagasc eCollege

Institutes of Technology:

  • Cork Institute of Technology
  • Waterford Institute of Technology
  • Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology
  • Athlone Institute of Technology
  • Dundalk Institute of Technology

Private Agricultural Colleges

  • Gurteen Agricultural College
  • Mountbellew Agricultural College
  • Pallaskenry Agricultural College

Universities

  • Dublin City University