Agricultural machinery operator, combine harvester driver, crop sprayer
Tractor drivers operate farm machinery used to plough fields, plant seeds, and spray and harvest crops.
Salary range: £16,000 to £30,000
How to become a tractor driver
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could do a Level 2 Award in Tractor Driving and Related Occupations course at an agricultural college.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
You can complete an intermediate apprenticeship in agriculture.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
There are no set entry requirements if you want to apply directly but experience in farming or dairying could be useful. A knowledge of basic mechanics might also be helpful.
- you’ll need a Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) card to operate some machinery
You can find out more about working in farming from Tasty Careers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of food production methods
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- analytical thinking skills
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- the ability to work on your own
- physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
- discussing work schedules with the farm manager
- carrying out equipment and machinery checks
- inputting instructions into the cab’s control panels
- ploughing fields and sowing seeds
- spraying crops with fertilisers and pesticides
- harvesting vegetable, cereal and non-food crops
- using baling machines to bind crops and hay ready for storage
- maintaining hedges and roadside verges with tractor cutting attachments
- carrying out basic maintenance and repairs
You could work on a farm.
Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers, cramped, noisy, physically demanding and dusty.
You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.
Career path and progression
You can take further training to operate a wider range of machinery, which will increase your job prospects.
With experience, you could become an agricultural contractor, machinery engineer or farm manager.
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