Agriculture students from across Fermanagh and Tyrone can still work on their own farms but also avail of practical training skills on a part-time basis.

The City and Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Work-based Apprenticeship Agriculture places an emphasis on practical skills development, with students attending class one day per week, with the other four days spent on the farm.

For those aged between 16 and 24, this course can be completed through the Apprenticeship Framework.

The course entry requirements is that students must normally have obtained at least two GCSE Grade Cs or three Grade Ds, including English Language, Mathematics and ICT, and applicants must be working within the agriculture sector for at least 21 hours per week.

This particular course runs over two years, part-time.

Enniskillen Campus of CAFRE is one of the five centres across Northern Ireland (the others being Banbridge, Maghera, Markethill and Greenmount) offering this course.

The key success of the course is that farmers host visits of groups of students to help the students further their livestock husbandry skills.

Farmers from a wide catchment area repeatedly offer their farms as a training location for the students and their instructors. Last year, 11 different farmers acted as hosts.

Recently, our photographer, John McVitty, followed a group of students who spent an afternoon at Stephen Maguire's farm near Maguiresbridge.

Stephen is a Technology Demonstration Farmer with enterprises including calf rearing and beef finishing.

During their visit, the students got the chance to help with weighing the cattle, which enables Stephen to check on animal performance.

Gerard Nicholl, from CAFRE, who oversees the course, says they are indebted to the wide range of local farmers who repeatedly offer the next generation of farmers the opportunity to improve their skills in a practical way.

These farmers will have enterprises of dairying, beef and sheep and this diverse range of farm types provides unique training opportunities. Students will also get involved in fencing and soil sampling.

Once students have completed the Level 2 course, they can further develop skills by enrolling on a City and Guilds Level 3 Diploma.

For prospective students on this Level 2 Diploma course in agriculture, an open evening is being held at Enniskillen Campus on March 20 between 4-6pm.