Farm worker

Farm labourer

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Farm workers raise livestock and plant and harvest crops, using agricultural machinery.

Salary Range: £13,000 to £25,000

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You can get into this career through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
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You could take a course at an agricultural college to prepare for work in this industry. Courses include:

  • Level 1 Certificate in Practical Farm Animal Care Skills
  • Level 2 Extended Certificate in Agriculture
  • Level 3 Diploma in Agriculture

Courses combine theory and practical skills and include units on:

  • crop production
  • animal husbandry
  • operating farm machinery

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
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You can get into this job through an intermediate apprenticeship in agriculture.

You can also do a packhouse line leader advanced apprenticeship, if you’re working on a farming food production line, for example picking and packing fruit and vegetables to order.

Entry requirements

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

Direct application

You do not need any particular qualifications to apply directly to become a farm worker but it helps to have an interest in farming and working outdoors. Experience of working on a farm, for example from a weekend or holiday job, dairy work or crop picking would be useful.

More information

Career tips

It may help to have some basic skills in mechanics.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in farming and agriculture from Tasty Careers.

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Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to work on your own
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

  • have a good level of fitness

You may need a driving licence for some jobs.

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Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties will vary, depending on the time of year but may include:

  • feeding and looking after livestock
  • treating animals and crops to prevent disease
  • operating milking machinery on dairy farms
  • ploughing fields, sowing seeds and harvesting crops
  • operating and repairing farm machinery like tractors, ploughs and combine harvesters
  • maintaining farm buildings
  • trimming hedges, clearing drainage ditches and mending fences and walls

Working environment

You could work on a farm.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers, dusty and dirty.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

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With qualifications and experience, you could progress to supervisor or unit manager on a large farm. You may have to move between farms to gain experience and promotion.

You could also become an agricultural contractor, supplying services to several farms, servicing machinery or working in agricultural equipment and supplies.

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