HORTICULTURE students can now, for the first time, study for an honours degree in Northern Ireland.
The degree, which is the highest level of horticulture qualification available in the Province, will be delivered at CAFRE’s Greenmount campus and is validated by Ulster University (UU).
Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots said: “Horticulture offers very rewarding and varied careers that impact so much of our modern world, so I am delighted that for the first time we can offer this course to students who are interested in developing a career in this growing profession.
“This long-awaited development presents an exciting opportunity for all those interested in management and senior technical level careers in the Northern Ireland horticulture industry.
“Degree level education is especially relevant today considering the growing importance and complexity of environmental issues and the need for increased productivity, resilience and supply chain connectivity in the agri-food industry,” Mr Poots added.
Up until now the highest level of horticulture qualification available in the Province has been the Foundation Degree. From September 2021, students who have completed the Foundation Degree at CAFRE will be able to progress through bridging studies to a one-year full-time course to then achieve an Honours Degree in Horticulture. The programme will also be available part-time over two years.
CAFRE Director Martin McKendry said: “The opportunity for students to progress to an Honours Degree programme is timely for the Northern Ireland horticulture industry as it is facing an exciting time ahead. The opportunity to grow more locally is being recognised within Government policy and we are pleased to play our role in encouraging and supporting the horticultural sector.”
Professor Carol Curran, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences at Ulster University, also welcomed the launch of the new degree programme, which will complement CAFRE’s existing portfolio of Foundation and Honours degrees, all validated by Ulster University.
She said: “The CAFRE/Ulster University Strategic Partnership, which started back in the early 1990s, continues to grow from strength to strength. This new BSc (Hons) in Horticulture follows the recent BSc (Hons) in Sustainable Agriculture, the first Bachelor’s degree in agriculture offered by CAFRE in 108 years, and validated by the university. We are pleased to play our part together, to educate the leaders of tomorrow across the agriculture, horticulture, food and equine disciplines so that the region might respond successfully and sustainably, to sectoral growth.”
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