Agricultural contractors provide specialised, seasonal or temporary services to farmers.
Salary Range: Variable
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could take a course at agricultural college, which may be useful when you start looking for work. Courses include:
- Level 2 Award in Agriculture Machine Maintenance
- Level 2 Certificate in Agriculture
You may need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
You could get into this job through an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in agriculture.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You could apply directly to become an agricultural contractor. Employers will usually expect you to have experience of working with farm machinery.
Agricultural contracting can be competitive, with lots of contractors applying for the same work. It will help you to get jobs and build your business if you have a specialism that no one else in the surrounding area offers.
Professional and industry bodies
You could join the National Association of Agricultural Contractors, which can help with industry training and professional development.
You’ll find more about working and training in agriculture from Tasty Careers and the National Land Based College.
Skills and knowledge
- ambition and a desire to succeed
- the ability to work well with others
- knowledge of food production methods
- the ability to use your initiative
- persistence and determination
- sensitivity and understanding
- maths knowledge
- knowledge of human resources and employment law
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- have a Certificate of Competence, if you carry out hazardous tasks using a chainsaw
Driving other vehicles like lorries, tractors, harvesters and fork lift trucks can also be part of your work. You can find out more about driving specialist vehicles from GOV.UK.
You may specialise in areas like:
- crop spraying and fertilising
- seed processing
- seed milling and mixing
- sheep shearing and dipping
- animal management including hoof trimming
You could also carry out general work like:
- dry stone walling
- drainage work
You could work on a farm.
Your working environment may be physically demanding, outdoors in all weathers and you’ll travel often.
With experience, you could move into teaching, training or consultancy.
You could also work for private companies or co-operatives that offer management services to farms.