Roles in this sector can be sectioned by two defining the environment and agriculture. Environment involves air quality, conservation, water quality, and much more. On the other hand, agriculture comprises of crops and livestock. Moreover, there are many job roles that relate to land and animals, such as animal care and land-based engineering. Essentially, the sector deals with the world’s natural resources, and ensuring we use them appropriately. It is reported that around 500,000 people work for the UK’s agriculture sector.
The most impact-full environmental companies in the UK in terms of graduate training schemes include: AB Agri, John Deere, JCB and Magnox. However, if you want to work for an agency or charity, it would be worth considering: Natural England, Environment Agency (EA), and Cefas – though there are many more worthy companies out there. The sector is also made up of not-for-profit companies in protecting the environment and improving animal welfare. These are groups such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and Friends of the Earth International (FoEI).
Points to Consider
- In this sector, you may be required to work outside throughout the year; meaning you can expect to get a bit cold and muddy in winter months!
- Jobs can be very hands on and occasionally physically-demanding.
- Salaries vary depending on qualifications held for the job role.
- Over half of agricultural workers are self-employed.
- You can also volunteer within this sector, with many volunteering opporutinites available at: The National Trust, Natural England, RSPCA, RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), TCV (The Conservation Volunteers), and many more.
Where should I study?
It is not always necessary to study at degree level to enter this sector. A-levels and BTECs may prove useful. Subjects such as biology, horticulture and environmental studies are among some of the most relevant to study for a career in environment and agriculture. It is also possible to get into this area of work through apprenticeships. For example, the Forestry Commission, Sainsbury’s and many National Parks offer apprenticeship schemes.
Other roles within the industry will require degrees. Having a degree in a relevant area of study will often provide you with a broader range of job choices. If you want to study an agriculture or environment related degree, consider the following universities:
- Loughborough University
- Exeter University
- University of Nottingham
- University of Leeds
- University of Durham
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