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Skilled Careers In Agriculture

Careers in Agriculture

You don’t need to have grown up on a farm to work in agriculture and careers in agriculture aren’t all mud and wellies.

Did you know that modern agricultural techniques make use of cutting edge technology and it’s estimated that 60 per cent of agricultural careers are based on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects?

We start with the ‘A’s and take a look at a few agricultural careers and what they involve.


At a glance: An arborist maintains trees and shrubs by trimming, pruning and shaping them. They are trained to use specialist equipment as well as climbing and rigging techniques.

Arborists make sure that trees and shrubs don’t become overgrown and interfere with roads, power lines and pavements as this could be dangerous to the public. They work in both urban and rural areas.

Arborists can also offer information and advice on appropriate tree and scrub types during planning and carry out surveys and inspections.

Arborists can be self-employed, work for local authorities or for private companies. The work is physically demanding and involves working at a height.

A Level 2 Apprenticeship in Arboriculture was introduced in 2015 and the starting salary for an arborist, arborist craftsperson or technician is around £15,000.


At a glance: Agronomists advise farmers on crop management, covering everything from pre-planting to harvesting, examining crop fields during the growing season to make sure that crops are healthy and helping farmers maximise their yield.

During the spring and autumn, agronomists work a lot in the field, assessing crops during the growing stages. They will advise on weed control treatments and how to keep crops free from disease. In the winter months agronomists spend more time in the office, focusing on nutrient management and planning spring work.

Agronomy is a highly skilled job, combining scientific knowledge with an understanding of regulations, which requires a relevant qualification such as a BSc Degree in Agriculture. Before this, there are a range of vocational agricultural qualifications available in colleges, starting a level one.

The average starting salary for an agronomist is between £20,000 and £26,500.

Agricultural engineer

At a glance: Agricultural engineers design, make, maintain and repair agricultural, horticultural and forestry machinery and equipment. They can also supervise irrigation and drainage projects and use GPS, weather data and computer modelling to advise on land use.

Work as an agricultural engineer is skilled, varied and challenging, not just involving the design and build of new equipment and machinery but also involving problem solving for issues such as the impact of new machinery on the land.

For a career as an agricultural engineer you would need to study for a higher national diploma, foundation degree or bachelor’s degree in a subject such as agricultural engineering, environmental engineering, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering.

To get your career going, there is a Level 2 Land based Service Engineer apprenticeship option, which includes a Level 2 Diploma in Land based Service Engineering.

Animal feed nutritionist

At a glance: An animal feed nutritionist is a scientist who provides advice for farmers on what to feed their animals in order to keep them healthy. They assess the nutritional value of animal feed and design specific diets for animals.

If you love science and you also love animals, then a career as an animal feed nutritionist might be right up your street.

Work as an animal feed nutritionist can be on a freelance or consultancy basis and you can spend a lot of time working on your own, although you would often support agricultural consultants in their work. Farm visits and travel between locations are part of the job, so driving is a skill that you would need.

Work as an animal nutritionist will require a degree in a subject such as animal science with animal nutrition. You can find out which degree courses are accredited by the Association for Nutrition on their website.

You can keep to date with all things related to agriculture on social media. Try searching #clubhectare, #agricahtuk and #teamdairy to find people to follow.


About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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