Around 1.3 million people are employed in 230,000 land-based and environmental businesses across the UK.
Niche consumer markets, environmental change and new regulations. Changes in the land-based and environmental sector mean more opportunities for graduates.
Lantra predicts the sector will need 345,000 graduates, or postgraduates, by 2020.
- Prospects – environment and agriculture
- National Careers Service – animal, plant and land-related job profiles
- DeLacy Executive – graduate careers advice from Agri-Business recruitment specialists
- grow – horticulture careers information and news
- Institute of Fisheries Management – their careers officer can offer advice about this sector
- Agsites – websites related to agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and the outdoor world
These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates.
They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them on LinkedIn, or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.
The main professional associations for this sector include:
- Country Land and Business Association
- Innovation for Agriculture – consortium of 15 English agricultural societies
- Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
- British Institute of Agricultural Consultants (BIAC) – directory of consultants, news, events and links
- British Society of Plant Breeders
Horticulture, forestry and fisheries
- Chartered Institute of Horticulture
- Royal Horticultural Society – includes information on training courses, bursaries and voluntary internships
- Institute of Chartered Foresters
- Institute of Fisheries Management
- Arboricultural Association – education, training and careers information
Sector skills and government departments
- LANTRA – the sector skills council for the environmental and land-based sector
- DEFRA – includes a guide to agricultural workers’ rights
- Forestry Commission – includes list of colleges and universities offering courses in forestry
- Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (CEFAS)
- FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department – part of the United Nations agency for food and agriculture
Making contacts is useful for success in this sector. Gaining insight and arranging work experience comes through networking and speculative applications. You could start with:
- Graduate Connections – working graduates happy to give you advice
- social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter – useful for contacts, employers and finding opportunities
- connecting with our alumni on LinkedIn. Find out what they did after graduation and how they got there, and contact them for advice and inspiration.
Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and events give insight and opportunities to make contacts.
The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.
Field trials officer
Horticulture, forestry and fisheries
Fish farm manager
Relevant work experience in this sector is crucial in developing expertise and demonstrating your motivation and commitment.
Many students gain experience in this sector through volunteering.
Not all opportunities are advertised. You may need to contact organisations for work experience using a speculative approach.
Go Volunteer offer a variety of volunteering projects to Newcastle University students.
UK opportunities include:
- Natural England – includes potential dissertation projects
- National Parks – volunteering opportunities
- National Trust – voluntary opportunities
- Wildlife Trusts – voluntary opportunities and links to local trusts
- Woodland Trust – volunteering opportunities
- Royal Horticultural Society – voluntary internships
- Kew Royal Botanical Gardens – work experience
- RFS Future Foresters Studentships
Overseas opportunities include:
- International Exchange Program UK
- Projects Abroad
- British & Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) – list of those offering volunteering opportunities
Speculative applications are when you contact employers not in response to an advertised vacancy.
They can be a useful way to approach employers who don’t offer formal internship schemes.
They can also help find opportunities in a specialised field or specific location.
How to find companies
You can find companies to approach for work experience by:
- searching for local companies who may offer work experience in the North East Graduate Directory
- researching employers via company profiles, business directories and databases
- using social media to find and connect with employers, particularly through LinkedIn
- professional bodies list member directories of accredited organisations. You can find links to these directories under finding jobs.
Gaining hands-on experience with animals or crops on a farm is essential for agricultural roles. Many students use family connections to gain this experience. Those without existing connections could start making contacts through:
Projects and competitions
The Student Initiative Fund offers grants of up to £500 to help students deliver innovative, extra-curricular projects. Projects must have a community, social or cultural benefit. Speak to the Careers Service for more details.
See Awards & Competitions for additional opportunities to develop skills.
- LANTRA – sector skills council listing training and qualifications
- Kew – horticulture, plant science and conservation training
- The NAFC Marine Centre – for the fisheries sector, based in Shetland
Competition is strong, especially for entry-level positions. Use the following resources to find advertised vacancies and also research employers for speculative applications.
Careers Service: Vacancies Online display graduate vacancies in the North East, UK and overseas. Log in to sign up for personalised email alerts.
Specialist recruitment agencies
De Lacy is a consultancy agency for the agriculture, horticulture, countryside and primary food business sectors.
Horticruitment UK is a jobs agency offering worldwide and UK horticultural jobs.
- Countryside jobs – vacancies in countryside, conservation and environment
- Earthworks-Jobs – includes jobs in agriculture, forestry, plant science and related subjects
- Farmers Weekly – search for agricultural jobs by employer type, category and region
- Horticulture Jobs
- Royal Forestry Society of England: job vacancies
- Forestry Commission – employment opportunities
- British Trout Association
- Institute of Fisheries Management
- Natural Environment Research Council – opportunities for fisheries research scientists
- Environment Agency
- Agricultural Development and Advisory Service (ADAS)
- Cambridge University Botanic Garden – horticultural trainee scheme
Role profiles link to employers and vacancy sources for specific jobs.
Careersabroad offers opportunities in sustainable development, biological and zoological research, conservation etc.
Environmental Information Service provides an alphabetical list of environmental organisations. You can download lists of agricultural, horticultural and animal welfare organisations by area (PDFs):
- British Society of Plant Breeders – includes a list of member organisations
- Country Land and Business Association – includes a business directory useful for speculative applications
- British Institute of Agricultural Consultants – includes a member directory (requires free registration)
- National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) – includes a directory of agricultural contractors
- Soil scientist employers (Prospects)
- IAgrE: Jobs
- The British Agricultural & Garden Machinery Association (BAGMA) – UK farm and ground care machinery dealers
- Arboricultural Association – offers a list of consultants and contractors