Work experience requirements
To study Agriculture you will need at least ten weeks work experience on a commercial farm (though up to four weeks of other relevant experience is acceptable). This is important to:
- ensure applicants have an understanding of the type of industry that they are committing to.
- help contextualise and underpin teaching in the early stages of the course.
- help to ensure that students have some basic practical skills prior to entering the placement year.
As such 10 weeks experience on a commercial farm prior to starting the course is preferable. However, the difficulty that this presents for some students from non-farm/non rural backgrounds is recognised. In order to mitigate against this, applicants to Agriculture courses who are likely to meet the academic entry requirements, but who are identified as having minimal/no practical experience, and/or who are unlikely to meet the minimum practical experience requirements due to non-farm/non-rural background and/or lack of appropriate contacts, may be made an offer incorporating the Access to Agriculture Programme to gain the minimum 10 weeks practical experience on a commercial farm by the 1st September at the end of year 1 (Year 0 for EFDP Students).
Access to Agriculture - Key facts
- Applicant encouraged to gain relevant practical experience where possible prior to joining the course, to be recorded via a Vocational Log.
- Vocational Log reviewed on entry and the additional work experience required to be completed during year 1 will be confirmed (Year 0 for EFDP Students). Where applicants are deemed to have met the 10 week practical experience requirement on entry, they will no longer be eligible for the Access to Agriculture Programme.
- Student assigned to a dedicated tutor to assist them in accessing the University Farm and employer contacts to help them satisfy the full requirements of the Programme, before the end of their first year, although the onus will still be on the student to arrange the required experience.
- Student will be provided with access to Land Based Skills Programme, either free of charge or at a reduced rate, to enable them to obtain relevant competency certificates, typically to include: Tractor Driving, Telehandler, Pesticide Application (Pa1 and Pa2) and Animal Handling*.
- Student encouraged to access Practical Skills sessions on the University Farm out with the academic timetable to gain additional practical experience.
- Student encouraged to access the University Vacancies Website to obtain vacation work.
- Student required to complete a Vocational Log to evidence ten weeks practical farm experience which may incorporate practical skills sessions on the University Farm but must include a minimum of at least six weeks practical experience on other commercial farms. All work experience obtained must be signed off by the employer and approved by the designated tutor.
- Students who have not obtained the necessary ten weeks experience by 1st September at the end of year 1 will not be permitted to proceed to year 2 (Year 0 and Year 1 for EFDP Students), and will be required to postpone studies to gain further practical experience. For FdSc students the ten weeks work experience may include placement work for placements commencing before the 1st September.
*EFDP students will be accredited (Accredited Prior Learning) with two of these skills as part of the Rural Skills module in the 2nd year of their programme. FdSc students will be required to select as many these options as allowed under the Rural Skills module choices in year 1.
Watch: Dearbhla's experience of Access to Agriculture