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Education and Training

Qualification attainment is generally low in the environmental and land-based sector, but it is a highly skilled workforce. Across the UK, 15% of the sector workforce has no qualification, compared with 8% for all sectors.

The agricultural sector has a low level of qualifications required on entry into jobs, but that it takes longer for someone to learn to do the job well. This suggests that in the sector, skills are acquired in large on-the- job. A significant number of occupations in the agricultural and land-based sector require 2 or more years learning.

54% of all jobs in the agricultural sector do not require any qualifications to enter, compared with 29% across all occupations. For land-based occupations, 46% of jobs do not require qualifications.

There is evidence to suggest that there is a lack of people with Level 3 qualifications. In contrast, there appears to be more people working in the sector qualified to Level 1and Level 2, plus less people with Level 4 qualifications when compared with those across all UK sectors.

Source: Skill Assessment for the Environmental and Land-based sector UK 2009, Skills at Work 1986-2006 and Sector Qualifications Strategy 2007

More details of on entry and progression routes for each industry are available in Environmental and land-based industries.



Within the sector there is a high amount of practical and technical training undertaken, which is part of the non-accredited provision. This training is highly valued within the sector and provides Continuing Professional Development and up-skilling opportunities for the workforce.

The sector has a wide range of qualifications across all levels. Information on the qualifications indentified in the sector is available on the Lantra website.

Some industries in the sector require employees to undertake specific qualifications or training if they are to work within the industry or if they are to carry out specific tasks, including veterinary nurses, farriers and fencers.

There are also a number of learning programmes and frameworks available to the sector, including:

  • 15 Apprenticeships in England and Wales
  • 10 Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland.
  • Modern Skills Diploma in Wales
  • 6 Level 2 Training for Success Apprenticeship programmes and five Level 3 Apprenticeship programmes in Northern Ireland

Apprenticeships are specifically aimed at developing the skills, knowledge and career objectives of people entering the sector. In 2006/07, there were nearly 3,400 apprenticeship certificates awarded.

Source: Sector Qualifications Strategy 2007

Training initiatives

Fresh Start is an all industry-led initiative to encourage and support new entrants into farming, including those involved in family succession, and to help established farmers think about how they can develop their business in the future in the light of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform. More information is on the Defra website.

Mentoring helps both established farmers who are considering their options and young farmers and new entrants. It gives them the chance to talk to business people who have faced similar problems to those they will experience on restructuring their business or starting up. Mentors can offer invaluable guidance and support and can act as role models. Fresh Start and the academies aim to develop a network of mentors in England who will be able to offer valuable experience and assistance to those developing new farming businesses.

The matching service aims to match new entrants with farmers who want to retire or who want to diversify into something new, providing new employment or business opportunities for new entrants.

Source: Lantra AACS LMI report 2010

Further and higher education

There are a number of Higher Education Institutes delivering higher level qualifications and training for the environmental and land-based sector, a significant proportion of which provide both Further Education and Higher Education.

In 2005/06, there were nearly 4,000 registrations to sector related qualifications at Higher Education Institutions.

Source: Sector Qualifications Strategy 2007