STUDENTS from Cross and Passion College and Ballycastle High School are the first students in Northern Ireland to have the opportunity to study Agriculture as part of the A level Curriculum.
At an official launch of the course, the school principals Mrs Ward and Mr Williamson welcomed Mr Bill Harpur (former principal of Ballycastle High School), Mr Maurice McHenry (former Principal of Our Lady of Lourdes Ballymoney), Martyn Blair (Deputy President Young Farmer) and Uel Kane of Hunter Kane Agricultural Machinery Suppliers, who surprised pupils when he arrived at the launch in the latest Deutz Fahr K160 model. Guests used this event to raise the pupils’ awareness of the importance of a wide education and qualifications for young people intending to seek a career in agriculture highlighting the business, scientific and environmental dimension to farming life, not to mention the need to know about and comply with European directives and government regulations.
Careers teacher Ms Duffin, informed students of the huge range of courses and careers available in the industry in CAFRE as well as the UK and Ireland.
Martyn Blair shared his experience of school and university studies, emphasising how valuable his university degree and A levels have been in the day to day running as well as the strategic planning for business development of the farm.
Bill Harpur and Maurice McHenry concurred with Martyn and shared their thoughts on future challenges in the industry, strongly encouraging them to make the most of the great opportunities available in the schools.
Eighteen students have signed up for the course.
Mr Williamson, Principal of Ballycastle High School, said the course is of interest to many young people from the north Antrim area and pointed in particular to the benefits of having the opportunity to combine an A level in agriculture with very relevant subjects such as IT, Business Studies and Science.