Not only were all the 30 places at Enniskillen Agricultural College booked for the next two sessions but already 13 students had been advanced enrolled for 1972 and four for 1973, it was reported this week in 1970.
These details had been revealed by Mr R Houston, the college principal, when he addressed an awards ceremony which was held at the college.
In his address to the ceremony Mr Houston stressed the “increased awareness” by the farming community of the need for “some form of agricultural education” for young people entering the industry.
Mr Houston said: “Compared with this time last year many more applications for admission to this college have been received. Indeed I can tell you now that for our next session starting in September 1970, not only have we our full complement of 30 students advance enrolled but another 24 applicants will be called for interview to fill the places left vacant by people falling out.”
He continued: “Even more encouraging is the fact that for the session starting in 1971 our full complement has already been advanced enrolled. For that matter we already have 13 advanced enrolled for 1972 and four for 1972.
“I think that these figures auger well for the future not only for this college but all other agricultural colleges. I am convinced that whatever the future may have in store for agriculture in this country the industry will be in a better position to meet that future if those entering it are well educated and properly trained.”
“I am convinced that whatever the future may have in store for agriculture in this country the industry will be in a better position to meet that future if those entering it are well educated and properly trained.”Mr R Houston Principal of Enniskillen Agricultural College (1970)
Referring to the 28 students who had just completed their course, Mr Houston stressed that while he could not guarantee they would be successful farmers “from this day forth” that he could at least say that they had taken a step in the right direction.
He remarked: “By having a one year certificate course in agriculture they should be in a better position to face the future.”
In an appeal to parents for continued encouragement the principal said: “I know that almost all the parents of our students are present and while your encouragement and in some case your difficulties in running the farm while they were here must be acknowledged I would ask you to continue this encouragement by giving them a say in the running of the farm when they return home. While the majority are going back to farming right away some are anxious to continue their agricultural education by attending the Advanced Certificate Course at Greenmount and this will involve further encouragement by you the parents.”
Mr Houston continued: “One other very important highlight during the year was the approval of our course for the National Certificate in Agriculture. This means that the students this year had the opportunity of sitting for the NCA - an examination recognised throughout the British Isles.”
Mr Houston concluded: “I must not forget that other important group of people who each year play their part in our teaching programme - I refer to those who allowed us to bring the students to their farms and business premises.
“I consider this aspect of our work to be invaluable and I can assure those of you who helped in this way that your co-operation is very much appreciated and to you all I say thank you.”
By taking five of the major awards local student Albert Wilfred Foster of Kinglass, Macken, swept the boards in the main prize list.
As well as the Wilson Perpetual Challenge Cup for the top student (first overall) Albert also captured the Ulster Farmers’ Union prize for the best all-round practical student, the Hart prize for veterinary science, the Fermanagh grassland prize for the top student in grassland management and the first prize in animal husbandry which was presented by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Second prize for the runner-up (second overall) went to Ernest Richard Bell, Drumquilla, Newtownbutler, third prize overall went to William Robert Brush, Derrycreevy, Aughnacloy and fourth prize overall went jointly to Cyril Brown, Ashley House, Clay, Corbet, Co Down and Edwin George Kelso, Bunagh, Newtownstewart.