Make a living off the land—or help protect it

If the idea of working a 9 to 5 office job fills you with dread, then a career in agriculture, environmental and animal care could put you at the forefront of supplying the country with food, producing crops, and enriching the rural and urban environment.

Careers in this sector can be broken down into land management and production, animal health and welfare, and environmental industries. It’s not just about muddy wellies, unsocial working hours and manual labour, either. 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.

There is a wide variety of jobs in the sector, and while many of them are practical, requiring physical effort and work outdoors, there are also opportunities for people to work as skilled technicians, managers and other specialist roles.

Roles include general farm workers, gardeners, fencing contractors, tree surgeons and gamekeepers. There are also creative occupations available, such as floristry, as well as caring jobs that include working for animal welfare charities, as a veterinary nurse, an aquarist or an animal trainer. In addition, there are more technical roles on offer and many management opportunities.

At a time when environmental work is rapidly increasing in importance, you could take a look at an ecologist apprenticeship, which is a highly scientific and technical role looking at the relationships between plants, animals, people and their environment.

So whether your interest is in outdoor practical work or more theoretical work, you’ll open yourself up to plenty of opportunities and career progression. And if you’ve always wanted to be your own boss, then this could be a good place to start.

The Apprenticeship Guide sector head

Abattoir worker

Manage animals before and during the slaughtering process  From receiving animals in the strictly controlled handling (lairage) facility and through the slaughter process, an abattoir worker needs to be empathetic

Agriculture professional adviser

Provide technical advice to farmers and growers In this role, you’ll be responsible for providing accurate research-informed advice to farmers and growers, working with a range of industry experts including

Animal care and welfare assistant

Look after the routine day-to-day care of domestic and/or wild animals Animal care and welfare assistants look after the routine day-to-day husbandry and care of domestic and/or wild animals under

Animal trainer

Plan, manage, deliver and review the training of animals An animal trainer uses positive, reward-based training methods and practices. This includes training the animal to undertake specific tasks, or more

Arborist

Plant, cut down and maintain trees The arboricultural industry manages trees for their benefits and values in diverse urban and rural locations, from city parks and urban woodlands, to country

Countryside worker

Carry out specific environmental and conservation tasks Countryside workers are the custodians of our rural outdoor scenery, so you will help to conserve the environment that makes the English countryside

Crop technician

Optimise crop/plant yields and maintain and improve the surrounding environment As a crop technician, you’ll be responsible for optimising crop or plant yields through establishment, management, harvest and post-harvest operations,

Ecologist

Carry out significant field-based investigations and interpret data generated by fieldwork Ecology covers all of the relationships between plants, animals, people, and their environment, and the balances between these relationships.

Environmental health practitioner

Enable people to live and work in safe, healthy environment As an environmental health practitioner, most likely for a local authority, you’ll work in a range of settings, from residential

Environmental practitioner

Provide a high level of professional environmental expertise Once confined to conservation, waste management and pollution prevention, the environmental practitioner role has become more mainstream, entering into many areas of