Careers Service Occupations

Agriculture

Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry and Fisheries

About

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. 

Careers advice

Professional bodies

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:

Agriculture

Farmers' Unions include the National Farmers' Union and National Farmers' Union of Scotland

Horticulture, forestry and fisheries

Sector skills and government departments

Making contacts

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.

Events

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and events give insight and opportunities to make contacts.

For events listings see Careers Service events and External Events.

Related sectors

You may also be interested in Environment or Veterinary and Animal Care.

Roles

The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.

Agriculture

Agricultural consultant

Animal nutritionist

Farm manager

Field trials officer

Land-based engineer

Plant breeder/geneticist

Soil scientist

Horticulture, forestry and fisheries 

Amenity horticulturist

Arboriculturist

Commercial horticulturist

Fish farm manager

Fisheries officer

Forest/woodland manager

Horticultural consultant

Gaining Experience

Relevant work experience in this sector is crucial in developing expertise and demonstrating your motivation and commitment.

Use background information and role profiles to research the work experience and entry requirements for the role you're interested in.

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.

Advertised opportunities

University resources

Go Volunteer offer a variety of volunteering projects to Newcastle University students.

Search under agriculture, animals and plants at Careers Service Vacancies Online. For additional sources of work experience, see Internships, placements & shadowing.

UK opportunities include:

Overseas opportunities include:

Speculative approach

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:

Agriculture

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.

Training

  • 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

Related sectors

You may also be interested in the gaining experience sections on Veterinary and Animal Care and Environment.

Finding Jobs

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.

Vacancy sites

Role profiles link to employers and vacancy sources for specific jobs.

Overseas

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):

Finding companies