Many school leavers and current students dread the idea of working in monotonous office spaces or attending bank-breaking Universities. However, with the variety of apprenticeships on offer in the Agricultural, Environmental & Animal Care sector, working outdoors, with and around the land or with your favourite animals is now an incredibly accessible career pathway.
While it may seem like a sector so reliant on physical labour and unsocial and tiresome working hours, it’s also an incredibly rewarding and adaptable industry. With apprenticeship opportunities in the sector boasting a massive diversity of apprenticeship schemes, roles in the sector can cater for those who enjoy working either practically or with theory. With employers offering specialist opportunities to work and learn in roles such as an arborist, environmental conservationist, land-based engineer, game & wildlife manager, veterinary nurse, animal assistant and many more, apprenticeships in this sector can offer you the chance to have a rewarding impact on many levels; whether that means working hands-on or not.
Depending on the pathway you decide to take, the requirements, working hours and wage that you can expect will vary. For example, the National Trust - who employ in the agricultural and environmental sector - advertise weekly wages and require candidates to have a ‘good standard’ of English and Maths in return for five one-week training courses a year at the Pershore College of Horticulture. In contrast, other companies employing veterinary nurses and ecologists may offer a similar weekly wage, but will require candidates to have 5 GCSE grades between A-C (including English, Maths and Science).
Regardless of the pay, the experience and knowledge gained in this industry will be invaluable. Whether you’re assisting in theatre rooms as a veterinary nurse, tending crops as an agricultural apprentice or preserving landscapes as an ecologist, you’ll gain an insight which will have you pursuing a full-time career in no time. As well as this, with a large portion of opportunities in the agricultural and environmental sector being quite rural, an apprenticeship scheme in agricultural or environmental care may have you moving away from home, allowing you to explore the country and gain insight into workplaces that fuel and preserve our country’s sustainability.
Overall, most candidates should expect programmes to be designed for recent school leavers looking to break into Intermediate & Higher Level (2, 3 & 4) apprenticeship schemes, and should expect a full-time working role with an option to gain qualifications with an ‘earn-while-you-learn’ programme. With most programmes advertising 36-40 hours a week (including, in some cases, a day per week of training), you can be assured that you will gain a set of valuable skills and a specialist knowledge which will further your career in the industry.
Ultimately, regardless of your interest in outdoor practical work or more theoretical work, by bringing a determination and an organised set of skills to an apprenticeship in the Agricultural, Environmental & Animal Care sector you’ll open yourself up to plenty of opportunities in careers that you enjoy.
- By Max Lewis