Macra na Feirme and Teagasc develop student leadership course

MACRA na Feirme and Teagasc have come together to develop a new leadership training module which will be included in all of the latter’s college courses in September.

It is a more practical and applied programme that will involve students actively participating in their own learning.

Students will be involved in setting up Macra clubs within the colleges and learning through participation in a variety of activities such as public speaking, stockjudging, organising events and debating.

Last year, Macra and Teagasc developed and delivered a pilot programme in Gurteen Agricultural College.

As a result, a Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) Level 6 module will now be on the curriculum for all full-time certificate in agriculture students. It will also be part of horticulture and equine studies.

Macra president Catherine Buckley said the organisation has for many years advocated better educational opportunities for its members and sees this collaboration with Teagasc as a very progressive step for both bodies.

Teagasc director Professor Gerry Boyle said the initiative will improve the educational experience of students by involving them in the running of clubs, and by participating in committees.

“It will improve their own personal leadership skills and prepare them for future leadership roles in their communities and rural areas and in the agriculture sector,” said Prof Boyle.

Macra’s training and development officers will support Teagasc teachers in the colleges with the delivery of this innovative course. This joint initiative brings together its leadership training in the context of a Macra club with Teagasc’s expertise in educating young farmers for their future careers in agriculture.

The students will gain practical experience of participating in and running their own committees.

Macra said this skill will stand to them in the future as many will be members of discussion groups, co-op advisory committees and buying groups as well as their own clubs.

“It is a very enjoyable course as it combines a variety of competitions and gives the students the opportunity to compete with colleagues and with students from other colleges,” it said.

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