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Helping you find a career in the Agriculture industry

If you've always wanted to work outdoors, the agricultural sector might appeal to you.

Those working in agriculture are responsible for the cultivation of plants and animals in order to provide food, medicine and other essentials. Working in this area could mean working on a farm, overseeing all operations during the production process whilst providing leadership and organisation, working within production or supply chain, and/or specialising in livestock, crops or horticulture.

The regulations in this industry are set by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to ensure safe, high-quality produce farmed in an environmentally sustainable manner.

For roles across the sector, it’s likely that you’ll be required to spend part of your time outdoors and part in an office environment. You might see opportunities for self-employment, too – around half of the industry works in this way.


Skills & interests required for a career in Agriculture
Because of the technical and practical nature of a lot of jobs in the industry, work experience and practical skills are valued highly – so you’ll want to undertake some work experience to give you the skills needed. Voluntary work is common, especially for those just starting out.

A solid understanding of animal welfare and how agriculture impacts the environment are also both essential for this sector.
- Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Communication
- Negotiation
- Teamwork
- Time Management
Graduate schemes & other typical career progression routes in Agriculture
There are a number of certified training courses for those that want to move into or progress in this sector. The Institute of Agricultural Management (IAgrM) can provide help and guidance in this area.

You can find graduate schemes at large companies, including the Environment Agency, JCB, British Sugar and the Forestry Commission, which will usually require an upper second-class (2:1) undergraduate degree and involve an application process with a few different stages.

It is also possible to take the academic route in agriculture or environment - continuing your studies to MSc or PhD level, which usually leads to teaching and research positions within the sector.
Tips for getting into the field
Across all industries, it’s worth knowing what employers will look for when you’re applying for roles.

Obviously, practical knowledge and a clear and defined logical approach are both essential for agricultural jobs.

There are also a large number of general, non-industry-related things that you can do to put yourself in a good position to start applying for jobs. These include:

  • Tailoring your CV for each specific role - making sure you focus on previous experience and relevant skills

  • Applying for work experience – for agriculture, it is normal to have obtained a fair amount of work experience before finding a position. It is practical experience that will make you stand out from the crowd. This experience is usually obtained with a sandwich course, holiday work, or a gap-year placement

  • Take on similar roles – for example on a farm, during holidays or whilst you apply for higher-level roles right after graduation

  • Get the practical skills – in this case, the relevant courses at a vocational college

  • Use your contacts – university professors, those you met on work experience, people you can approach through social media, family friends – they’re all potentially the stepping stone to your next role, and they might very well be happy to help you

How much can graduates earn in Agriculture?
Here are some average salaries for some jobs within the industry, according to Payscale:

Farm manager - £27,025
Farm worker - £18,246
Agronomist - £30,339
Compliance officer - £27,100
What qualifications do I need for a career in Agriculture?
In agriculture, there is a growing requirement for applicants to have a degree or professional qualification in a related subject – for example:

  • Agriculture

  • Farm business management

  • Crop management

  • Land management

  • Horticulture

  • Land management


For jobs that aren’t agriculture specific, for example in management, marketing, IT or sales, you can apply without a directly-related degree.

It might be helpful to look into specific postgraduate qualifications if you’re definitely sure that you want to move into a specific area.
Read more about the Agriculture industry
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