Dates for your Diary

This page helps to give you an idea of how the course will run.

The courses are divided into 2 sections:

  • October to March: Theory, Practicals and Visits followed by Exams around Easter
  • April  to June: Practical learning and gardening, projects (e.g. growing crops, writing up your report) and visits to farms and gardens.

The courses are flexible to fit in with your schedule – you don’t have to study every day!  You can complete gardening projects through the summer so that you can experience a full growing season – learn the theory through the winter, plant crops in the spring and then harvest in late summer.  We feel that this is very important to gain real experience of all stages of growing.  There are plenty of holidays too.

An important part of the courses is the practical element and also meeting other participants.  Below are dates when you can come to the college for practical days.  Please note you don’t have to come on all the days shown below – but you should aim to be available for some of them.  We realise that it can be hard to get time off work so most of the days are at the weekend in the hope that this will make it possible for you to attend. For those travelling a long way to Dromcollogher we recommend staying overnight in a local B&B. Full details of the schedules for the practical days will be available at the beginning of the course.

Year one students only need to come on the Saturday of the weekends shown for Practical Days. The Sunday will cover Year two course material. Here are the privisional dates for 2016-17 to give you an idea of when you’ll need to attend the college (2017-18 will have similar dates).

Welcome / Induction Day Saturday 8th October 2016, 11am to 4pm at the college.
Practical Days (Autumn) 5th and 6th November 2016
Practical Days (Winter) 4th and 5th February 2017
Exams 1st and 2nd April 2017
Practical Days (Spring) 29th and 30th April 2017
Practical Days (Summer) 8th and 9th July 2017
Optional Visits and Practicals Optional visits to farms and gardens (dates to be confirmed) throughout the course.

Holidays are as follows:

Mid-term break 24 Oct to 28 Oct 2016 1 week
Christmas 19 Dec 2016 to 6 Jan 2017 3 weeks
Mid-term break 13 Feb to 17 Feb 2017 1 week
Easter 10 April to 28 April 2017 3 weeks

During holiday weeks there will be no course material.  As distance learning is a flexible way to learn you can of course choose to study at times that suit you.  However, if you want to be assessed for certificates you will need to attend at the college for some of the practical days and exams as well as regularly accessing the distance learning website.


We’re delighted to announce that for 2016-17 the National Organic Training Skillnet are able to support applicants for the courses. Places are limited so sign up early to avoid disappointment!

Most applicants who are resident in Ireland will qualify for this funding – NOTS are able to pay 25% of your course fees so the prices are as follows:

  • Year 1 (4 modules) full price €800, Skillnet supported price: €600
  • Year 2 (5 modules) full price €800, Skillnet supported price: €600

The prices above are all inclusive and include all course material, weekend practical workshops at the college and exam entry fees.  We hope you agree that the courses represents excellent value for money for a full QQI course with 8 practical workshops at the college and visits to farms and gardens.

Other Grants

If you are registered unemployed and living in Ireland it is possible that your local Social Protection office may assist you with a TESG grant of €500 towards your fees.  We are not able to arrange this grants for you and it is up to you to contact your local office to see if they may be willing to pay for the course.  We are happy to offer help by talking to your Social Protection officer and supplying them with any details they may need.

If you’re not sure whether you can afford the courses or whether Social Protection may fund but are interested to sign up, then we encourage you to complete the online enrollment form and we’ll give you any help we can while you arrange payment or funding.