One of the well-known faces of agriculture in Fermanagh, Cormac McKervey, has graduated with a Master’s in Business for Agri-Food and Rural Enterprise.

Cormac, who is Head of Agriculture at Ulster Bank, first left Queen’s University Belfast in 1990, thinking: “That’s it – I’m done with education.”

However, he returned to learning, part-time at Loughry Campus for his Master’s.

Cormac remarked: “Learning from experience, from mistakes, from others and from in-job training, your development goes on. Learning makes us better able to cope with issues as they arise and opens opportunities.”

Some 30 years later, as he was helping his son with his A-Level Business studies, Cormac felt ready to embrace education again.

“My career has been spent in agriculture as a college lecturer, farm manager, farm adviser, and now, with Ulster Bank.

“I knew whatever course I would choose had to involve agriculture, and ideally agri-business. I did not have to look too far – the CAFRE/QUB Master’s in Business for Agri-Food and Rural Enterprise was ideal for me.

“The course can be completed full-time or part-time, so it did not impact on my work. It was broken down into manageable modules that could be completed within sensible timelines.

“The course is a three-year taught programme, which was important to me.

“After being out of the classroom for so long, I could not be left to get on with the modules myself – there would be too many distractions and missed deadlines if I was left on my own!

“It also was great, socially; I was able to mix and learn from classmates, some who were recent graduates, and others who have been working in the industry for years.

“The final year is spent compiling a research project, on a subject of your choice. I chose to research how Northern Ireland milk buyers and others in the supply chain could help dairy farmers transition to lower-carbon emissions.

“I enjoyed the project and the support given by my supervisor was invaluable,” added Cormac.