Gamekeeper

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Gamekeepers manage countryside areas used for shooting and fishing.

Salary Range: £14,000 to £20,000

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You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
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You could start by doing a college course like:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Countryside and Environment
  • Level 3 Diploma in Countryside Management

You can find colleges offering relevant courses through the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation Educational Trust.

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 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 could do an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in game and wildlife management.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
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You may be able to start as an assistant or underkeeper. With further training and experience you could work your way up to become a gamekeeper.

Volunteering and experience

You’ll find it useful to get experience of countryside work by volunteering on an estate or park.

You can contact organisations like The Conservation Volunteers, the National Trust and National Parks for information about work experience opportunities.

More information

Career tips

Employers value experience of working outdoors and knowledge of the countryside. Practical skills like carpentry would also be useful.

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can get more details about becoming a gamekeeper through the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation.

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Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • customer service skills
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to work on your own
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

  • have a full driving licence

You’ll need a firearms or shotgun certificate for some jobs.

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Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • planning and organising shoots and fishing parties
  • hiring and supervising staff like beaters, to flush out birds during shoots
  • keeping records of what’s shot or caught and arranging the sale of game
  • training and working with gun dogs breeding game birds for release 
  • protecting game from poachers and predators
  • repairing equipment, buildings and game pens and cleaning guns
  • clearing woodland and burning heather
  • working with the police to deal with crimes like badger digging and hare coursing

Working environment

You could work in a park, in woodland or in a workshop.

Your working environment may be physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

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With experience, you could progress to head keeper.

You could also become self-employed by renting the shooting rights to land, or working as a contractor.