It is a case of sister act today as Clare and Ann-Marie Rowland both graduate from the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise.
From Camlough, Co Armagh, the sisters are taking part in today’s graduation celebrations at Greenmount.
Clare has achieved a distinction in the Foundation Degree in Rural and Countryside Management having already gained a National Diploma in Horticulture in 2010 while Ann-Marie graduates with a Level 2 Diploma in Floristry.
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Ann-Marie has secured a full-time position with Woodland Flowers in Newry where she did her work placement while Clare is continuing her studies in England.
The sisters loved their time at Greenmount.
“It has given us the knowledge and skills which will be invaluable to our future careers. We would recommend a course in CAFRE to anyone,” said Ann-Marie.
Today Greenmount will see students graduating for the first time from two new programmes — Level 2 Diploma in Agriculture and Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture.
Also celebrating is Michael Slaney who achieved 18 distinctions in his National Diploma in Agriculture, as well as the Hall Cup for work experience.
In the last year Greenmount delivered education programmes to 960 students.
Ian Titterington, deputy director of CAFRE, said: “Last year 89% of students enrolled on courses in agriculture, horticulture and related subjects completed their course and 94% of these students achieved their target qualification. Our success rate is very much higher than the 74% average success rate reported by land-based colleges in Great Britain.
“While some students are returning home to farm, many are seeking employment. We are all fortunate that the agri-food industry is weathering the economic downturn relatively successfully and that overall business turnover has increased over the last three years. This has helped employment opportunities.
“Again this year CAFRE has an excellent record for employment and course progression, 93% of Greenmount students were in employment or in further education within six months of completing their course.”