There are many opportunities for you to get your foot in the door to start your agriculture or horticulture career. Whether you choose to do an apprenticeship, degree apprenticeship, study at university or you’d like work experience there are lots of exciting opportunities available. What’s for certain is there are lots of different routes for agriculture and horticulture, so it is important that you understand the difference between the two:
- Horticulture is all about plant cultivation whereas agriculture includes plants and animals.
- Horticulture includes all kinds of plants, but agriculture focusses on crops for human consumption
- Horticulture is on much smaller, enclosed plots while agriculture is done on a large scale.
- Horticulture focuses on cultivating, marketing, improving, and technology of plants whereas agriculture is about cultivating plants and raising animals for food and other human necessities.
- In more simple terms, agriculture is farming whereas horticulture is gardening.
An apprenticeship in agriculture could involve you working in many different things, from farming and working with livestock to tending crops, land management or driving large machinery. There really is something for everyone, if this doesn’t sound like you and you’d rather work in management or as a skilled technician, you can do that! The hours can be long, and there may be lots of manual work, but the industry is very rewarding.
If you choose to do a horticulture apprenticeship, you could end up nurturing large-scale projects in big businesses or you could put your flourishing talents to use on domestic projects. As an apprentice, you could be cultivating plants, landscaping, grounds keeping, floristry, and more. This is a rich industry with plenty of room to grow.
How do I start my career in agriculture and horticulture?
To start a career in agriculture and horticulture, the main thing that most employers will be looking for will be a passion for the industry and some knowledge about the area you’d like to study in. Whether you love flowers and know every species, or you have a real passion for lambing, become the expert!
Go to local events and speak to farmers, horticulturists and agriculturists and find out from them what you can do. Creating these meaningful relationships could be what gets you your first job in the agriculture and horticulture world!
What options can I take for a career in agriculture and horticulture?
To start your career in agriculture and horticulture, you could choose to do an apprenticeship. As an agriculture or horticulture apprentice, you’ll spend 20% of your week working towards a qualification and the remaining time of the week working full time with an employer, all while being paid! An apprenticeship is a great idea for this industry because you’ll learn all of the ins and outs of operations and get valuable work experience. Setting you up for a great career!
Currently, apprenticeships are only available at intermediate and advanced level, but degree apprenticeships are in the pipeline. These are some examples of apprenticeships you can do in agriculture and horticulture:
- Level 2 – Arborist
- Level 2 – Forest Operative
- Level 2 – Land-based service engineer
- Level 2 – Horticulture and Landscape Operative
- Level 2 – Sports turf operative
- Level 2 – Stockperson (beef, pigs, sheep, dairy)
- Level 3 - Advanced Golf Greenkeeper
- Level 3 – Crop Technician
- Level 3 – Landscape/horticulture supervisor
You may choose to go to university to start your career in agriculture and horticulture. Your degree could lead you onto great things! You’ll be learning the theoretical knowledge behind all things in the industry and have the opportunity to choose your topics to specialise in certain areas. When you get a full time ole, you’ll then be able to apply this knowledge to your job!
It’s advisable to look for a degree that contains a year in industry in order to get some great work experience and make connections to start your career. Here are some examples of agriculture and horticulture degrees you could do:
- Agricultural Business Management BSc (Hons)
- Agricultural Economics BSc (Hons)
- Agriculture BSc (Hons)
- Agriculture Science (Global Agriculture and Food Security) BSc (Hons)
- Environmental Management with Agriculture BSc (Hons)
- Farm Business Management BSc (Hons)
- Forestry BSc (Hons)
- Horticulture Science and Management BSc (Hons)
- Horticulture (Plant Science) BSc (Hons)
- Horticulture – Commercial BSc (Hons)
- Horticulture BSc (Hons)
- International Agriculture BSc (Hons)
If you’ve already got your degree and you want to start your career in agriculture and horticulture, you can look at graduate opportunities. This will mean that an employer will put you on a training programme to further develop your skills while you work full time! This will give you the opportunity to apply your knowledge while learning from skilled professionals.
You can go straight into getting a job in agriculture and horticulture. We would recommend you get work experience in this industry and make connections. You could set up a professional business twitter or LinkedIn (they’re both free) to get started. This is the best way to get your first-time role!