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Organic Farming Internship Programme in Horticulture
When: 2021 Applications Closed
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Category: Internship Programme 2021
About the programme
This work placement will involve a minimum of 30 hours a week work over a six month period on a well-established organic, horticultural farm in Ireland. The participants will be employed by the individual farms directly, and will be supported by a formal training programme which is being funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine. This high quality training programme will bring together in a formal framework, what the apprentices are learning practically on a day to day basis on the farm. The apprentices are employed directly by the farms and the OGI oversee the recruitment and delivery of the training and certification
Central Aim of the Organic Farming Internship Programme – Horticulture
Provide a high standard of practical skills and knowledge transfer with the aim of leading to employment within organic horticulture
- Develop an understanding of sustainable organic systems of farming based upon biological and environmental concepts
- Develop an understanding of the economics of running a successful horticultural enterprise
- Set the groundwork and knowledge base for running an on-going Organic Farming Internship Programme
The programme aims to stimulate the personal development and confidence of trainees, in their own ability to think for themselves and embrace new technologies. The programme will help bridge the gap between students who have completed horticultural courses, or have some practical work experience, and give them the confidence to start up their own horticultural enterprise, or take on the management of an existing horticultural enterprise.
Applicants for the Programme will either have completed a Level 5 FETAC qualification in horticulture, or have a minimum of one year work experience on a farm.
A Certificate of Completion for the Internship Programme will be issued from the Organic Growers of Ireland on successfully completing the work placement on their host farm, attending all workshops and farm walks, completing the 25 hour block course on Organic principles, Standards & Certification as well as completing their written project on a chosen crop.
Formal Training within the Organic Farming Internship programme – Horticulture
The Programme will incorporate a formal training programme of six workshops over the period of the Internship. The workshops will be given by outside experts on core set subjects and each workshop will be of one day’s duration. The workshops will be based on a structured syllabus, covering the technical knowledge and economic management required for good crop production, as well as sales and marketing options and strategies.
- A series of six farm walks on each of the host farms, looking in depth at one crop which work well for that host farm
- A 25 hour block course on will focus on Organic principles, Standards & Certification and the apprentices should produce a conversion plan for an organic enterprise.
Role of the OGI in the Organic Farming Internship Programme – Horticulture
The OGI have formed a steering committee to oversee the management of the Programme.
Role of the Host Farm in the Organic Farming Internship Programme – Horticulture
Provide paid employment according to the national minimum wage standards for employees on a structured training programme.
- Ensure the farm is a safe place to work, and that good health and safety procedures are adhered to
- Provide a minimum of 30 hours’ work per week for a minimum of six months
- Provide the opportunity to work in as many different areas of production as possible, as well as explaining the business planning, budgeting, marketing and longer term planning of the business
- Provide regular one to one mentoring
- Allow flexibility for trainees to attend formal training days associated with the Internship Programme
- Host one farm walk on their own farm for all apprentices
I completed the internship in organic horticulture in 2015. The host farm was Beechlawn Organic Farm in Ballinasloe, owned and operated by Padraig Fahy and Una Ni Bhroin. I found the internship was the ideal way for me to learn the practical skills needed to start my own horticultural enterprise. There was a good mix of classroom learning along with farm walks and the invaluable practical learning gained while working on an organic vegetable farm. It gave me a great insight into the realities and challenges involved in growing organic vegetables and also the confidence to set up my own market garden.
I currently operate a 1 acre market garden that supplies 1 local shop and 2 local farmers markets. I would highly recommend the ogi apprenticeship. The knowledge, skills, confidence, contacts and friends I gained through completing the internship have equipped me very well to set up and run my own horticultural enterprise.