When we eat we hardly think about how the food was grown or cultivated. Maybe you have a green thumb with a passion for growing or you just want to make healthier foods exist. Keep reading to navigate your way into the agricultural industry in the UK.
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Jump to:Further Education Higher Education
What do I need?
Agriculture is a wide field with jobs ranging from farm workers to agricultural engineers. Every job is unique but each requires the basic knowledge of how things grow or what make plants and/or animals thrive.
Depending on the job you choose in the Agricultural sector you can pursue short courses or full degrees in subjects like Agricultural Science or Aquaculture and Fishery. Researching online and watching videos on YouTube are a good starting point. We will detail how you can do this below.
How to Stand Out?
Start your own farm or garden at home or volunteer in your local community farms depending on where you live. Internships are also a viable option. Read more about that here.
Jump to:A-Levels BTEC Diploma and City & Guilds Access to Higher Education
Further Education is considered Level 3 education in the UK (England, Northern Ireland and Wales). The most common further education route is A-Levels but it’s not the only option. There are coursework based courses like BTEC. To pursue a Bachelors degree (Level 4) you must complete this level of education first.
Tip: If you have no secondary school qualifications, Level 2 qualifications in Land-based Activities, Technical Certificate in Agriculture, Technical Certificate in Land-based Engineering etc can be taken.
A-Levels are exam based courses taken post secondary education. Usually people take from 3 A-Level subjects as most university courses require at least 3. For Agriculture related degree courses, most universities would require an A-Level in a science subject.
The other A-Level subjects you choose can be varied. However when choosing, you should assess your main interest and sectors you want to work in. This is mainly so you enjoy what you are studying and you are establishing a solid knowledge base. Nonetheless, it would be useful to take up additional A-Levels in Business or Geography.
While A-Levels are a ticket to a university degree, it does not certify employment in managerial jobs within the Agricultural sector. Do note that A-Levels are not practical which means if you do not intend on pursuing further study, you should be building experience in your field while studying. Choosing a degree can depend on your desired area of expertise. If you are unsure of your specialisation, we suggest doing a broad Agriculture degree.
What qualifications do I need? A-level courses will usually require at least 5 IGCSEs (A*-C)/CSECs (Grades 1-3) . Mathematics and English Language passes are mandatory to possess. Qualifications like CSEC/IGCSE Science, Biology or Chemistry may be required. It is best to check the specific requirements of the university or college you intend to go to as the entry requirements may differ.
To find A-Level courses search online or Contact us for help.
BTEC Diploma and City & Guilds
The process of obtaining these qualifications are more practical in comparison to the more theory based academic A-Level. You are assessed solely with coursework.
These qualifications are available at different levels from Levels 1-3. At Level 3, the diploma can be equivalent to up to three (3) A-Levels. BTECs can be taken alongside other qualifications (such as an A-Level) and can permit entry to university.
For Agriculture, universities typically are interested in students whom have a knowledge of science. Therefore a BTEC in Agriculture, Science, Biomedical Science, Applied Science etc are viable options.
What qualifications do I need? It depends on the BTEC diploma you’re pursuing. Level 3 BTEC diplomas will usually require at least 5 IGCSEs (A*-C)/CSECs (Grades 1-3). Mathematics and English Language passes are mandatory to possess as well. It is best to check the specific requirements of the university you intend to go to as the entry requirements may differ.
To find BTEC or City & Guilds courses search online or Contact Us for assistance.
But what if I’m over 18 and I have no Level 3 qualifications? We got you below.
Access to Higher Education
Access to Higher Education aka Access to HE, is tailored for students aged 19+ who intend to apply for an undergraduate course. These courses take one year, performing as a fast track to higher education.
Universities will typically be looking for students with a science based background. Access to Higher Education courses in Science, Life Sciences, etc. are among good options for subjects related to Agriculture.
What qualifications do I need? Access to HE diplomas will usually require at least 5 IGCSEs (A*-C)/CSECs (Grades 1-3). Mathematics and English Language passes are customarily mandatory to possess as well. It is best to check the specific requirements of the school you intend to go to as the entry requirements may differ.
To find Access to Higher Education courses search online or Contact Us for assistance.
Jump to:Foundation Degrees Undergraduate Degrees Postgraduate Degrees
Foundation Degrees & Foundation Years
Foundation courses can be taken if your results/tariff points accumulated in a Level 3 qualification were not high enough to allow entry to a standard three-year Bachelors course.
The two foundation options are:
- Foundation Degree – a standalone qualification (1-2 years) equivalent to one or two years of a Bachelors degree.
- Foundation Year – this is the first year of a four year degree consisting of = 1 foundation year + 3 years of a standard Bachelors degree. At the end of the four-year course you will receive the same qualification as a three-year Bachelors degree student.
For example, Aberystwyth University offers FdSc. Agriculture for two years with an opportunity to progress to the Bachelors course based on good academic performance. Their BSc. Agriculture degree sans the foundation year, requires at least 92 tariff points (Grades CCC at A-Level) while the foundation degree requires at least 72 tariff points.
To find Foundation courses, enter your area of study and search Foundation degrees here. In the filters select Foundation to only view Foundation courses.
All applications to undergraduate courses are done via UCAS. Undergraduate courses can come in the form of foundation degrees, HND or Bachelors level.
If you are unsure which sector of Agriculture you would like to get into, you may benefit from doing a standard Agriculture degree. For more varied choice, Combined/Joint Honours courses or courses with a varied mix of subjects may be better suited to you.
Examples include: BSc Agriculture with Animal Science, BSc Agricultural Science (Global Agriculture and Food Security), HND International Agriculture, BSc Agriculture with Crop Management, BSc Bioveterinary Science, BSc Agri-Food Marketing with Business, Integrated Agricultural Business Management, BSc Aquaculture and Fishery Management etc.
How do I choose which degree?
With the copious choices given, it may make it difficult to decipher which is best for you.
To start narrowing it down, we suggest you first look at the entry requirements to the course and assess your existing or prospective exam/coursework results.
Next, have a look at the modules done by the university and assess if those are relevant to your career if you’ve already chosen. Also view the teaching quality at the university.
Tip: Some university courses offer an integrated placement year where you get the option to work in your industry (most times paid, depending on the job you secure). This provides you with at least one year of experience in your field prior to graduation.
To view all higher education options and courses, enter your area of study and search courses here.
What qualifications do I need? It varies per university but largely universities require at least 90 tariff points. Grades in A-Level tend to be at least CCC-BBC for Agricultural courses. BTEC diploma grades required tend to be at least MMM. Check the entry requirements per course on UCAS. Some courses have foundation entry options which allows you to gain the qualification and continue the course with lower entry requirements.
If you already have an undergraduate degree and would like to make a career swap, or you would like to further your studies we’ve got options for you.
To progress in your career specialisation is key and a good method of doing this is through postgraduate study. Agriculture is also offered at Postgraduate level so that can be your avenue to specialisation.
If you have never done an Agriculture related degree, volunteering or any means to generate experience while pursuing the postgraduate qualification would be key.
Similar to applying for an undergraduate degree, click here to view options and courses, enter your area of study and search courses. Filter options to Postgraduate. (Some postgraduate courses may not be listed on UCAS so do independent searches online).
Possible technical routes into Agricultural sector jobs can be found as a farmer or as an independent business person selling crops and livestock like crabs and fish.
Familiarise yourself with local farmers, types of agriculture and what your area of interest is. Building relationships with professionals in the industry can build your network and knowledge base.
The following are technical developments to better improve your chances within a career.
On an apprenticeship, you’re employed to do a real job while studying for a formal qualification, usually for one day a week either at a college or training centre. By the end of your apprenticeship, you’ll hopefully have gained the skills and knowledge needed to either succeed in your chosen career or progress onto the next apprenticeship level. – Prospects
For City and Guilds Land Based Services Apprenticeships click here.
To find an Agricultural apprenticeship through Gov.uk in the UK click here.
The Clinical Exploration Program (TCI CEP) can be a great avenue for you to get experience within the Agriculture industry. The program takes place right in the TCI.
TCI CEP provide you with the opportunity to shadow professionals in their work environment and they place you in rotation sites relevant to your interests. Some of their rotation sites relevant to Agriculture include:
- TCI Government Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services
- Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs
We encourage you to seek internships or volunteering work with local farms/farmers such as Courtney Missick (Kew, North Caicos). Be sure to contact the Department of Agriculture to get involved with the Kew Agricultural Station and other services/facilities. Local fishermen/fisher-women may be open to having you tag along to learn the fishing industry. From the information provided, you can start right here in your region and at home.
Do not decline opportunities due to lack of pay when you are a novice. Eventually you may become a paid worker. Additionaly, remember you are building a network which is invaluable and you will gain a head start due to learning on the job.
Currently at university pursuing Agriculture related studies? Volunteer with your lecturers to assist with their research to gain ongoing experience.
Independent Research and Home-Based Farming
Start your own garden or farm if possible to learn the basics or develop your knowledge. This could be a crab farm, vegetable farm, bee farm etc.
YouTube is your best friend. There are many videos available teaching you how to grow various crops or even how to fish. Find your niche and the information will be easier to research.
Unsure about what Agriculture is, read our explanatory post here.