Brendan Ryan, Oola, Co. Limerick
I did the the Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (Dairy Herd Management) course in Salesian Agricultural College because I have had a great interest in dairy farming since I was very young. Growing up on a dairy farm, I knew there was only one thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life so this course was ideal for me.
I really enjoyed the practical side of the course, being out on the farm, getting hands on experience working with stock and machinery. The two placements were a real highlight for me, working with some of the best farmers in the sector and knowing they are people I can call on for advice or support down the line.
Some of the key things I learned during my time in Pallaskenry were good animal husbandry skills, good communication skills and working as part of a team.
After Pallaskenry, I went on to do the Professional Diploma in Dairy Farm Management in Moorepark, through which I met some great people and got to complete work placement in New Zealand.
I am now the farm manager here in the Salesian Agricultural College, whilst also farming alongside my family at home.
Advice I would have for possible students in the future would be to get stuck in, make the most of your time here and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
David Doyle, Wexford Town, Co. Wexford
I completed the Higher Certificate in Engineering in Agricultural Mechanisation (Level 6). I found the balance of theory in the morning and practical in the evening excellent. Being able to combine this with getting my green cert was really the selling point for me.
I am currently completing the Bachelor Degree of Engineering in Agricultural Engineering (Level 7). This is an add-on to Level 6 course.
I really enjoyed the trips we went on, to the likes of McHale and LAMMA. I also thoroughly enjoyed doing the practical project. I made a flat 8 bale grab for small square hay bales. I loved the accomplishment of actually being able to use something that I made.
Some of the big skills I learned during my time here were definitely learning to weld as I had never welded before. I also loved the operating of different machines such as the combines and harvesters and learning to strip down machinery.
I plan to continue my education to Level 8 by going on to IT Tralee doing the International Agri Engineering course or the Process Engineering course in LIT. In the long term I would hope to be working with a manufacturing company.
My advice to future students would be to get involved with the sports teams, and get involved on the farm.
Tomas Lacey, Tipperary
I decided to do the Higher Certificate in Engineering in Agricultural Mechanisation (Level 6) course as I had a keen interest in agricultural machinery. I joined this course after successfully completing the Level 5 Certificate in Agriculture course.
This course gave me a solid practical base in general Agricultural Mechanics and Fabrication in which I previously had no experience prior to starting this course.
For my project I fabricated a power box which was a big achievement for me as I never had done any fabrication work previously. I was delighted to get the opportunity to use skills I learned in class practical’s and put them to use in this project. The skills I learned have really helped me in my career to date.
The advice I would give anyone thinking of doing this course would be that the Salesian Agricultural College, Pallaskenry gave me a great experience and sound practical knowledge.
I am now furthering my education and doing a Level 8 Degree in Agricultural Engineering with Tralee IT and without going to Pallaskenry I don’t think I could have progressed. I am currently doing work placement with Case New Holland Basildon in the UK, and I am working as part of their demonstration team which involves promoting there agricultural machinery at trade shows and grassland events. I am really enjoying this experience.
Shane Ward, Birdhill, Co Tipperary
I did the course Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (Agricultural Mechanisation) because of my great interest in machinery and I also wanted to get a qualification in agriculture for farming purposes. We run a machinery business at home so I was naturally drawn to learning more about their operation and maintenance.
The course has a good balance of theory and practical, for example you could spend the morning welding and the evening learning about the forage harvester. The group sizes were small so when it came to the practicals there was always loads to do and plenty of time to practice new skills.
For my project I bought a Ford 7840 which needed an engine recondition and a lot of work to the front axle. I found this mechanic work very beneficial and I now use the skills I learned doing up this tractor every day. The college staff were very helpful and knowledgeable, also my fellow classmates gave me a great hand. Doing a project like this is a great way of learning
I did my Practical Learning Period on the harvest with CWDC harvesting in New Mexico, America. I loved it and would go back some day if I can, it was some experience and I made great friends.
Since leaving college I have taken over the family business Ward & Ward Haulage and Contracting we have a 10 tipper trucks on the road along with loading shovels and track machines. I do the maintenance on all these machines. We hope to get into more quarry type work in the future.
Niall McCourty, Belivor, Co. Meath
I completed the Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (Agricultural Mechanisation). This course gave me a great base in agricultural machinery and fabrication. I was always interested in driving machinery but when I started welding and workshop skills I realised that this part of engineering was just as interesting.
I learned something new every day, there was a great variety in the skills, practicals and theory. The electrics and electronics that I learned in Salesian Agricultural College have proven very useful to my job.
For my project I fully reconditioned a New Holland 8360 engine. The project is done after Christmas which gives us a chance to put into practice the skills and knowledge we learned earlier.
I carried out my work experience with Field Brothers in Minnesota America. I hadn’t much travel done before this and so was a bit apprehensive, however the college helped to organise the placement and it couldn’t have gone better. I made great contacts, great experiences and got to operate massive modern machinery.
I am now working with ECI JCB in Dublin as an apprentice plant fitter and will soon be qualified. My Level 6 Advanced Certificate in (Agricultural Mechanisation) was a huge help in both me getting the job and also adjusting to my new role.
Cathal Fenlon, Wexford
I decided to do the Higher Certificate in Engineering in Agricultural Mechanisation (Level 6) course as I had a keen interest in Agriculture and most importantly Machinery. There was a good balance between practical instruction and the theory side of the course. I gained a great base to start my career at Salesian Agricultural College Pallaskenry and gained confidence in operating and maintaining farm machinery.
For my project I fabricated a bearing press this gave me the opportunity to put both theory and practical learning into use. I had to produce drawings for the project using Autocad and I also got to help out with a wide variety of other projects.
I also felt that practical learning period was very beneficial as I done my placement with Templetouhy Fam Machinery in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford. I gained a lot experience in servicing and repairing John Deere tractors and combines.
After completing this course I got the opportunity to undertake an apprenticeship with Templetouhy Farm Machinery Enniscorthy.
I would highly recommend this course as the work placement gave me an insight into what it was like to work in a garage and I learned that this was the career I wanted to pursue.