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Sustainable Farming Academy

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Tirlan Graduates of Diploma in Environment, Sustainability and Climate

Adult Continuing Education (ACE) at UCC has established an exciting new partnership with Tirlán and Baileys Irish Cream who are collaborating to support farm families’ positive environmental action with the launch of Ireland’s first Sustainable Farming Academy. Through this academy, ACE at UCC will deliver the existing Diploma in Environment, Sustainability and Climate to 20 participants on an annual basis.

About the Diploma

The Diploma in Environment, Sustainability and Climate comprises 60 credits and is a part-time level 7 award on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications. Full details on the programme and individual modules can be viewed on the programme webpage here: Students whom successfully complete the Diploma will graduate with a National Framework for Qualifications (NFQ) Level 7 Diploma.

The ACE at UCC programme team has undertaken an RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) process to ensure that your existing knowledge and experience is recognised and valued. As a result of this exercise, Tirlán Co-op members that participate in the Diploma have been granted exemptions from three modules amounting to 30 credits in total or 50% of the entire programme.

Modules to be completed to achieve the Diploma and fulfil the requirements of the remaining 30 credits are: AD1084 Introduction to Earth Science, AD1085 Perspectives on Climate Change and Sustainable Development and AD2033 Practical Environmental Management. These are completed over one academic year from September to August, commencing September 2024.

Information sessions will be held in May with Course Co-ordinator Belinda Gascoigne. Dates and links for these online sessions will be available shortly. 

What assignments are required to be completed? 

There are no formal examinations, all work is continuously assessed through a combination of essays, journal reviews, case studies, oral presentation, poster presentation, field reports and practicals. 

These three modules will be delivered on a part-time basis over one academic year (September to August), commencing in September 2024. 

Course Delivery 

Delivery: Lectures will be delivered on a part-time basis predominantly online. Typically, lectures will be delivered on a weekly/biweekly basis and will include some in-class sessions on UCC’s campus and at least one farm visit. Timetabling of lectures is done monthly around the students farming commitments.

ACE at UCC staff have extensive experience in supporting adult learners in the online learning environment. Dedicated supports and training will be provided to introduce students to the key IT platforms used including Microsoft Teams and Canvas.  

Who is eligible to take part in this Diploma? 

Applications for this fully funded Diploma can be made by Tirlán Co-op members. Other costs such as travel to and from lectures are not reimbursable. Candidates must be at least 21 years of age by 1 January of the year of application.

Application process 

Applicants will initially complete an expression of interest form along with a personal statement by 5pm on 28 June 2024. Maximum student intake each year is 20 students. In the event that the course is oversubscribed, places will be awarded on the basis of applicants’ personal statement which will be scored by the programme team.

Successful applicants will be notified by 31 July 2024 and they will then transfer directly onto the UCC programme application system.

Should you have any queries, please contact Programme Co-Ordinator Belinda Gascoigne at

Guidelines for Personal Statement 

The personal statement should comprise a minimum of 500 words and maximum of 800 words. Applicants should endeavour to address the following questions in their personal statement: 

  • Why do you want to undertake this Diploma?
  • Give examples of where you already use sustainable practices on your farm (e.g. nutrient management plans and grassland, energy and water management)
  • How will participating in this course benefit you and your family farm?
  • What achievement are you most proud of to date?
  • Is there anything that concerns you about undertaking this programme?
  • Please outline the level of commitment you can feasibly dedicate to this programme should you be awarded a place.

Should you have any queries, please contact Programme Coordinator Belinda Gascoigne at



Adult Continuing Education

Aosoideachas Leanúnach

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