Aleen Cust Library at Mountbellew Agricultural College, Co. Galway Opens

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The Aleen Cust Library at Mountbellew Agricultural College, Co. Galway opened today.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD who attended the opening at Mountbellew, a campus of Atlantic Technological University, Galway,  said:

“I am pleased to be here at Mountbellew Agricultural College for the opening of the Aleen Cust Library.

“People like Aleen Cust made a real difference and I think it’s fitting we are paying tribute to her today with the opening of this library. She was an inspiration for a generation and defied all the odds by pursuing the career she had chosen.

“As Minister for Further and Higher Education I want to make sure that you don’t have to defy the odds to pursue the career you want and that there are no barriers towards any educational pathways.

“People like Aleen Cust were inspirational and with her memory in mind I am committed to offering training options within the agricultural sector and provide programmes that will help create the next generation of farmers, veterinarians and horticulturists.”

Up until recently there were only two apprenticeship programmes under the family Agriculture and Horticulture open for registrations: Arboriculture & Sportsturf Management. On 7th August 2023, Minister Harris announced the launch of 3 additional apprenticeships in the Agriculture and Horticulture sector – Farm Manager, Farm Technician, and Horticulture. These brought the total number of apprenticeships available in the sector to five.

Minister Harris said:

“Expanding the number of apprenticeship programmes is key to developing careers in agriculture. I am delighted there has already been a good uptake from farming employers in this area to date and I intend to do more to drive the number of available apprenticeships while also making sure that apprenticeships in general are perceived as being attractive pathways for our young people.

“I was delighted to see that the first female arboriculture apprentice registered in July this year and I want to encourage anyone with an interest in these areas, male or female to look at the opportunities available for training and upskilling available in agriculture and horticulture. I also want to remind everyone about the gender based bursary that is available to employers.”

The gender based bursary is in addition to the government supports that apprenticeship employers receive through the craft training allowance and the employer grant. So if you are an employer in this area, you could receive an additional €2,666 if you take on a female apprentice.

Mountbellew Agriculture College Principal Edna Curley said:

“We are delighted to welcome Minister Harris here today, he has always been a great supporter of further and higher education. With the opening of our new library, we look forward to keeping the Aleen Cust story alive for current and future learners.”

These agricultural and horticultural apprenticeships provide a real and substantive career pathway for school leavers, those already working in the sector and looking to upskill, or those changing careers.

Who Was Aleen Cust? – Ireland’s Trailblazing First Female Vet

Atlantic Technological University provides postgraduate programmes and MBA degrees for those looking to further their education.

Pursuing a postgraduate opportunity in Atlantic Technological University will enable you to deepen your knowledge and develop your skills, compliment your undergraduate degree or enhance career direction. All ATU taught programmes have an applied focus and are directed at the needs of the employment market in Ireland and beyond. Research programmes are also available with ATU having particular research strengths in the areas of marine and freshwater science, biomedical engineering, and energy for the built environment.

Visit to find Atlantic Technological University postgraduate courses listed and make an enquiry directly to the college.

Atlantic Technological University Campuses

  • ATU Galway City, Dublin Road
  • ATU Galway City, Wellpark Road
  • ATU Mayo
  • ATU Connemara
  • ATU Mountbellew 



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