A LIMERICK Leader front page headline exactly three years ago declared, “Agri-college is safe for next two years”.
The story was in response to months of worry about the college closing. Principal, John McCarthy, said at the time the news gave them some breathing space.
Three years later there is very little breathing space in the college because it is so full!
Since last September they have been getting applications on an almost daily basis for September 2013.
“It is extraordinary the way life changes. It has gone full circle,” said Mr McCarthy.
And they have just had their biggest ever open day with around 450 in attendance.
“The amount of people that came in individual cars was a way more than ever before. In the past we’ve been getting a number of schools coming with buses of 40 or 50.
“There were only three schools, by and large it was mums and dads with their sons or daughters. The majority of then are children of farmers, you get around five per cent that are not from a farming background,” said Mr McCarthy.
The full-time courses Pallaskenry offer are the Advanced Certificate in Agriculture; Advanced Certificate in Agricultural Mechanisation (both FETAC) and Higher Certificate in Technology in Agricultural Mechanisation (HETAC) run in partnership with LIT.
There are a total of 180 students in these three courses.
A new course also started this year - Advanced Certificate in Dairy Management due to demand.
“They start off with the Advanced Certificate in Agriculture. At the end of year one they have to make decisions regarding what stream of agriculture they do in year two,” said Mr McCarthy.
And he fielded plenty of queries like this on the day.
“From the time that it started in the morning there were people coming up to me consequently with questions,” said Mr McCarthy.
And as well as asking questions they were also putting their names down.
“We have a lot of names at this stage. Even this morning there were two or three, they are coming in since September,” said Mr McCarthy.
He advises students who are interested in attending Pallaskenry Agricultural College to send in an application form. They are available from the Teagasc website or contact the college for information on 061-393100.
Pallaskenry Agricultural College has been involved in agricultural education since 1922, when it was founded by the Salesian Fathers.
Without a doubt it will be there to celebrate its centenary in 10 years time.