CAFRE – making plans for a return to campus

Cafre return TD Farm
UPDATE: Martin McKendry, CAFRE Director, meets Seamus McAlinney, Michelle McKenna and Julie McSwiggan at Enniskillen Campus for an update on the arrangements for students returning in September.

THE College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) is well advanced in its preparations to resume face-to-face delivery of its education and knowledge transfer programmes whilst complying with government advice.

Martin McKendry, CAFRE Dir-ector, met with CAFRE staff at Greenmount, Loughry and Enniskillen campuses to assess options and look at scenario planning.

PREPARATIONS: Martin McKendry, CAFRE Director meets Sean Harvey, George Moffett and Brian Simpson to discuss preparations for students returning to Greenmount Campus, Antrim in September.

He said: “At CAFRE we offer a range of further and higher education courses across our campuses. We have programmes in agriculture, food, horticulture and equine. At the college we are aware that the practical nature of our courses is highly valued, not only by our students but also by the agri-food industry, who provide careers for our graduates.

Like so many organisations, in the last few months we have had to use remote delivery and online technology to help our students complete their modules and gain the qualifications that they richly deserve.

“However we are now planning to start delivery of education programmes, in September, using a blended approach. This means that we are aiming to use face-to-face delivery for as much of parts of the programmes as possible, complemented with digital remote delivery as appropriate.

“We are closely monitoring government advice and looking at different scenarios that take into account how we can safely accommodate students on campus. In the next few weeks we will contact both new and returning students with details about registration, timetables, accommodation, facil-ities and safety measures. In the meantime, please be assured that our priority is the safety and well-being of staff, students, agri-food industry employees, their families and the wider community and this will be at the forefront of our planning process.”

CAFRE also delivers a range of knowledge transfer and innovation programmes to the agri-food sector. Since face-to-face delivery ceased in March 2020, CAFRE has maintained contact through alternative chan-nels.

Mr McKendry continued: “We are

pleased to have delivered a number of our programmes through tele-phone advice, technical articles, videos and webinars and we are developing plans to return to face-to-face delivery when it is safe to do so. CAFRE is looking at a number of ways that group training events and programmes of knowledge and technology transfer could re-commence when guidance on social distancing permits.”

The CAFRE Director also reminded students and the agri-food industry that lecturing and advisory staff are still available to provide support as required. He concluded by saying: “Our aim at CAFRE is to continue delivering high quality programmes of education and training and we are committed to doing this safely.

“Please keep in touch with the college through the updates that are provided regularly in the Press, on the website and through @discoverCAFRE on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”

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