Agricultural & Horticultural

Agricultural and horticultural careers are about more than just farming, and given that almost 70% of the UK’s land area is devoted to the industry, you don’t have to look too far beneath the surface to see the huge number of opportunities and variety of roles school leavers could pursue within it.

Agriculture is the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products. Horticulture is specifically the science or practice of growing plants – fruits, vegetables and flowers.

On the agricultural side of the industry, jobs include things like agricultural consultant, farm manager, fish farm manager, rural practice surveyor, and even scientific roles such as plant breeder/geneticist and soil scientist.

On the horticultural side of the industry, people can find jobs in gardens, as growers, retail jobs (in garden centres and nurseries, for example), horticultural mechanic jobs, horticultural engineer jobs, working with seeds, crops and flowers.

Amenity horticulture includes: landscaping, which covers the planning, creation and maintenance of designed landscapes, both urban and rural; sports turf, golf courses, parks and planning of domestic gardens; Production horticulture deals with the large-scale production of plants for food and ornamental purposes. This includes fruit, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, plants, flowers and trees for sale.

Agriculture apprenticeships

As an agriculture apprentice, the nature of your work will depend on your employer. Most farm businesses are small, so you’ll find yourself playing an important role in a variety of tasks and developing plenty of useful skills like: preparing and cultivating sites for planting crops; operating a tractor with attachments; harvesting and storing crops; maintaining equipment and machines.

If your employer deals with livestock, you might also learn how to look after large numbers of livestock, load and unload animals for transport, and maintain the health and welfare of animals.

There are three types of agriculture apprenticeships. School leavers could do Intermediate Apprenticeships, in roles like:

  • Farm worker
  • Tractor driver
  • Stock person
  • Pig technician
  • Hatchery

Advanced Apprenticeships, in roles like:

  • Section head - pigs, dairy or beef
  • Agriculture machinery operator
  • Assistant farm manager
  • Livestock technician
  • Hatchery supervisor/charge hand (poultry)
  • Shepherd

Higher Apprenticeships, in roles like:

  • Unit manager
  • Farm manager
  • Assistant farm manager


Horticulture apprenticeships

There are two types of horticulture apprenticeships.

School leavers could do Intermediate Apprenticeships, in roles like:

  • Gardener
  • Landscaper
  • Nursery worker
  • Fruit and vegetable production worker
  • Machinery operator
  • Greenkeeper
  • Groundsperson

Advanced Apprenticeships, in roles like:

  • Deputy head greenkeeper
  • Horticultural technician
  • Deputy head groundsman
  • Garden designer
  • Senior gardener
  • Gardener (historic and botanic)
  • Parks officer

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