Agri Aware launches first ever equine modules forTransition Year students
• Irish equine industry contributes €1 billion euro annually to the Irish economy
• In 2013, attendance at Irish racecourses grew to 1.24million
Pictured at Punchestown racecourse at the launch of Agri Aware’s first ever equine modules for Transition Year students are (L-R) Ruby Walsh, David Leydon Irish Farmers Journal, Peter Steele Coolemore, Dr.Vanessa Woods Executive Director Agri Aware, Bernard Donohue Chairman Agri Aware and Barry Geraghty with Chris Francis Huntsman with the Kildare Foxhounds
Agri Aware, the Irish agri-food educational body, launched the first ever equine modules for Transition Year students at the Punchestown racing Festival last Friday, with top National Hunt Jockeys Barry Geraghty and Ruby Walsh.
Agri Aware is a charitable trust and an independent body, with a mission statement to ‘improve the image and understanding of farming and the agri-food industry among the general public’ of all ages, from towns, cities and the countryside. Agri Aware’s new Transition Year modules will be used as a key educational resource for Transition Year students across Ireland this coming September, to learn more about the equine and agri-food industries.
The Irish equine industry forms an integral component of the Irish agricultural sector, contributing €1 billion annually to the Irish economy and employing approximately 16,000 people.
Agri Aware’s equine modules will be the first in a series of agri-food educational modules to be delivered for Transition Year students across Ireland. This is a novel initiative and will be the first time that Transition Year students will have access to relevant educational material to develop their interest in the equine and agri-food world, whether they come from urban or rural areas.
The initiative is a collaboration between Agri Aware, the Irish Agricultural Science Teachers’ Association and the Irish Farmers Journal.
Chairman of Agri Aware, Bernard Donohue, said “the Irish equine industry plays a key role in the Irish economy. It transcends all ages and classes of Irish society, is recreational, revenue generating and enjoyed by many spectators and breeders, right the way through from the smallest sports horse breeder to the thoroughbred breeder, who may one day win a Classic. Agri Aware is delighted to be launching Transition Year modules for second level students today. I have no doubt that these modules will instil a knowledge and interest in students that will have long-term benefits, not only for the equine industry, but for the wider Irish economy. These second level students will be better equipped to enhance the world class reputation of the Irish equine industry”.
Executive Director of Agri Aware, Dr. Vanessa Woods, said “this is the first time that Agri Aware has worked in the equine area since its establishment in 1996 and I am hugely excited about our new venture. This is also the first time that Agri Aware has delivered modules for Transition Year students. As Agri Aware will play a pivotal role in shaping the new Agricultural Science syllabus for leaving certificate students, in conjunction with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), we will endeavour to ensure that equine is brought to the table as it should be included in the new revised syllabus. Agri Aware will work with its 70 patrons in delivering the Transition Year modules and the new syllabus, to ensure that our future industry leaders have a top class knowledge and understanding of these hugely important industries”.
Professor Paddy Wall, board member of Agri Aware and Chairman of Horse Sport Ireland, says “this is a brilliant idea as there is intense competition between a vast array of sporting and leisure activities for the attention of the youth”. “An investment in the youth is an investment in the future of the equine sector and they are the ammunition that will bring both the thoroughbred and sports horse industries to the next level. Encouraging an interest in horses will get them out in the fresh air and provide great fun and enjoyment and it’s something families can do together, either as spectators or participants. We have fantastic talented young people in Ireland and their positivity and enthusiasm will contribute to making Ireland truly the land of the horse and the go to place for all types of horses.”
Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), Brian Kavanagh said “This is a wonderful initiative which Horse Racing Ireland is happy to support. It complements our current educational programme which includes our ‘Go Racing’ Kids Club activity for primary schools, and our third-level colleges’ racing clubs, societies and student racedays promotions. This year we also have an intern placement programme in HRI and its racecourses at Leopardstown, Fairyhouse, Navan and Tipperary.”