• Background South West

  • career-training

    Sector Overview

    Agriculture & Animal Care

    • Over 25% of the workforce in this industry is over 55

    • There are over 1.2 million employees in the agricultural sector

    • Farm workers are expected to work around 39 hours a week, but farm owners have to care for their land all the time!

    • Vets earn around £35,000 on average a year

    • Chickens are the animal most slaughtered for food worldwide!

    This is a sector that is desperate for young new starters. If you are seeking a land-based career then working in agriculture or animal care is ideal. The industry is very popular for those want to be self employed. Generally you will be working outdoors on a farm, or at least you will be visiting rural areas fairly often. If you want to work on or own a farm then you can expect long hours, early mornings and to get your hands dirty, but the work is very rewarding.

    Animal care can range from breeding horses to being a vet! It’s obviously a necessity that you care for and bond with animals to work in this area.

    If you are looking for a more qualified land-based career then you could work as an agricultural engineer, looking after farming machinery and equipment or as an agricultural inspector, making sure farms around the country conform to health and safety regulations and standards.


    Agriculture & Animal Care

    Horticulture & Landscaping

    Ever wondered what it is that makes our country that little bit more beautiful? From the city centre parks people stroll in to the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales, this sector is all about making the areas we visit look good. You might be arranging flowers in a local community or maintaining our national parks; either way you’ll be getting plenty of satisfaction from people taking in your work. Your starting salary will be around £15,000, but could be more depending on what it is you’re working on.

    Farm Worker

    It’s not just big beards and wellies (although you should probably get a pair for this; you might end up losing your trainers pretty quickly). Farming is hard work, but the rewards that come out of it, in terms of money and pride, are well known. You could be looking after animals such as sheep, cows and pigs, or working with high-tech machinery cultivating and harvesting crops. You can expect to earn around £7,200 if you are aged 16 or over, while those who are 19 and over will expect to bring in around £10,000, rising to around £15,000 with experience.


    Rangers are responsible for keeping our national parks clean and tidy, while also making sure that the wildlife and plants are also kept healthy and safe. This is definitely a career for those who want to work outdoors but also for those who are avid about the environment and working with animals. Salaries start out at around £18,000, but Senior Rangers can earn in excess of £30,000.

    Veterinary Nursing

    Animals get sick just like people do (and unlike people, they can’t drive themselves to the doctors; their feet can’t reach the pedals for one thing) and require treatment, checkups and if necessary, surgery. Veterinary nurses assist vets in treating domestic animals, such as dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, parrots and horses. You’ll learn all about the different types of animal’s anatomies, as well as the kinds of treatments each animal needs in each situation. Don’t be afraid to get your hands a bit messy in this industry! Your starting salary will be around £14,000, but Senior Veterinary Nurses earn around £25,000.

    Land Based Engineering

    As you can imagine, farm working involves a heck of a lot of complex machinery, such as threshers, harvesters, processors, tractors and many others. Land based engineers are responsible for building and maintaining these machines, so an eye for mechanics and systems will be handy here. Starting salaries in this sector are quite high and usually between £20,000 and £26,000.


    Agriculture & Animal Care


    If you are aged 16 and over you could enter an Apprenticeship, which would teach you the skills you need while you work and earn a salary. You’ll spend half your time in the classroom and half out on the job. Listed below are the apprenticeship frameworks for this sector, which when completed will give you a Level 2 qualification in the form of a BTEC, Diploma or NVQ:
    Game and Wildlife Management • Animal Care • Horticulture • Environmental Conservation • Land Based Engineering

    Advanced Apprenticeships

    These are the equivalent to A-Levels and can usually be joined after completing the associated Intermediate Apprenticeship. They are ideal for people who want a practical role as they learn while gaining valuable employment experience. People with Advanced Apprenticeships tend to progress up the ladder a lot quicker than those without, as the skills they learn are more suited to management and supervisory roles. Here are some of the Apprenticeship Frameworks for this sector and all of these will result in a Level 3 qualification such as a BTEC, a Diploma or an NVQ.
    Animal Care • Environmental Conservation • Game and Wildlife Management • Land Based Engineering • Veterinary Nursing


    A-Levels are the most popular gateway into university and are sought after by employers. They are also useful for getting into more senior roles such as management and team leading. The following A-Levels will help you get into this sector:
    Biology • Chemistry • Maths • English • Geography • Geology

    Foundation Degrees

    A Foundation Degree combines university lifestyle with practical, hands on work. It’s sort of like a cross between an Apprenticeship and an Honours Degree. They are often used as a gateway qualification to a full time Degree as they count towards the first two years of an Honours Degree. They usually take two years to complete and you’ll be both in the work place and on the university campus. There are a wide range of Foundation Degrees available for this sector, such as Farm Management and Wildlife Conservation.

    Vocational Qualifications

    These can be undertaken instead of doing A-Levels and can be done at Level 2 and 3. They, like Apprenticeships, can result in a BTEC, NVQ or Diploma and are handy for getting into more specific job roles in this sector.

    More Info

    Agriculture & Animal Care

    Case Study

    Agriculture & Animal Care

    New Rural Innovation Centre

    A record number of applicants have been accepted into UK higher education, states a report released today by UCAS.

    The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) is no exception and has seen applications increase year-on-year. Since 2008, the total number of students enrolled at the RAU has increased by a staggering 49%.

    The university, which was established in 1845 and received full university status earlier this year, remains a popular choice amongst students, especially those wanting to study degrees in agriculture, food, business, equine, land management and real estate.

    Most of the RAU’s three-year undergraduate degree courses enable students to undertake a work placement, allowing them to gain valuable experience and contacts alongside their studies. Students graduating from the University are equipped with the skills needed in today’s employment market.

    ‘Applications across all courses have been increasing year after year for some time now at the Royal Agricultural University, which is very pleasing, and gives us confidence that our degrees are attractive and relevant,’ commented Vice Principal, Professor Paul Davies. ‘Our high graduate employability record also helps, of course!’

    On average over the last five years, 94% of RAU graduates have found employment or further study within six months of graduation.

    The University campus, named the safest in the South West, and the 5th safest in the UK, has seen considerable investment recently, with a new £1.2million Rural Innovation Centre on the university’s Harnhill Farm.