£13,000 Starter - £25,000 Experienced
46 to 48 variable (evenings / weekends / bank holidays flexibly)
Where to start
You can get into this career through:
a college course
You could take a course at an agricultural college to prepare for work in this industry. Courses include a Level 1 Certificate in Practical Farm and Animal Care Skills, a Level 2 Extended Certificate in Agriculture or a Level 3 Diploma in Agriculture. Courses combine theory and practical skills and include units on:
operating farm machinery
You'll usually need 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or the equivalent, for a Level 1 course. For a Level 2 course you'll need 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or the equivalent. And for a Level 3 course you may need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C).
The following Apprenticeships may be relevant depending on your area of interest in farming: a Level 2 Stockperson, a Level 2 Poultry worker, a Level 3 Poultry technician or a Level 3 Packhouse line leader. These Apprenticeships usually take 12-18 months complete.
You'll usually need some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for a Level 2 (intermediate) apprenticeship. For a Level 3 (advanced) apprenticeship, you'll need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths.
You do not need any particular qualifications to apply directly to become a farm worker but it helps to have an interest in farming and working outdoors. Experience of working on a farm, for example from a weekend or holiday job, dairy work or crop picking would be useful. It may help to have some basic skills in mechanics.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- the ability to work well with others
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- physical skills like strength, balance and coordination
- the ability to work on your own
- the ability to work well with your hands
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be flexible and open to change
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and Requirements
You'll need to have a good level of fitness. You may need a driving licence for some jobs.
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties will vary, depending on the time of year or the farm's main produce. You could:
- feed and look after livestock
- treat animals and crops to prevent disease
- operate milking machinery on dairy farms
- plough fields, sow seeds and harvest crops
- operate and repair farm machinery like tractors, ploughs and combine harvesters
- maintain farm buildings
trim hedges, clear drainage ditches and mend fences and walls
You could work on a farm.
Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers, dusty and dirty.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
With qualifications and experience, you could progress to supervisor or unit manager on a large farm. You may have to move between farms to gain experience and promotion.
You could also become an agricultural contractor, supplying services to several farms, servicing machinery or working in agricultural equipment and supplies.