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Agricultural Engineer Profile

Agricultural Engineer Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as an Agricultural Engineer. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as an Agricultural Engineer
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Agricultural Engineer Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

This website features a volume of Job vacancies advertised on behalf of a number of different employers and specialist recruiters that post vacancies on a regular basis so you can start your search for work right here:-

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Working Duties Expected

Land based engineers apply their knowledge of science and technology to engineering problems in:

• food production (agriculture, horticulture and food processing);
• amenity horticulture;
• forestry;
• the environment and related fields.

Over the past half-century, mechanisation and automation have revolutionised food production, making it more efficient and cost-effective. Engineers have played a vital part in this process, designing and developing increasingly efficient vehicles, machinery and buildings for the agricultural, horticultural and related industries.

Once known as agricultural engineers, they now apply their skills to a very wide range of land-based activities. Hence the all-embracing term 'land-based engineer' is now preferred as a more appropriate job description.

What does the role encounter?

A land based engineers work may include:

• designing, testing and developing agricultural, construction and other off-road vehicles, such as tractors, harvesters, loaders, dump trucks and off-road recreational vehicles;
• designing, testing and developing equipment such as ploughs, cultivators and sprayers, and specialist equipment;
• planning and supervising the construction of farm buildings and associated structures, such as grain silos, greenhouses and controlled environments for livestock;
• advising on soil conservation measures;
• planning, supervising and managing the building of irrigation and drainage systems;
• carrying out environmental impact assessments (a process of predicting and evaluating the effects of an action – such as building a motorway - on the environment);
• preparing and presenting reports;
• conducting research;
• teaching and lecturing in further and higher education;
• sales and marketing;
• providing technical support to dealers and customers;
• offering consultancy services;
• providing emergency aid – helping to restore electricity and water supplies, and reconstruct buildings, in the aftermath of wars or natural disasters.

What level of salary and benefits are there?

These figures are purely for guidance only. Salaries may vary for the area the job is situated in, age, experience along with a host of other factors:

• Typical starting salaries for graduate entrants: £18,000 to £24,000. Salaries for Higher National Diplomates are similar.
• Salaries at age 40 can vary considerably. For the engineering profession as a whole, the Engineering Council UK (ECUK) 2002 Survey of Registered Engineers gives the average salary of Chartered Engineers as £51,960 and Incorporated Engineers as £35,922. No specific figures are collected for land-based engineers, but anecdotal evidence suggests that salaries in this sector tend to be lower than for the engineering profession as a whole.
• Overseas work attracts additional allowances.

What type of hours will I have to work?

Hours are generally normal office hours, although it may be necessary to work extra hours in order to complete specific projects. Land-based engineers usually work from an office base, but many jobs involve some field work. Design engineers, for instance, would produce designs in an office, but might carry out some test and development work outdoors.

What type of skills will I need?

You will need to have some or all of the following type of skills to carry out this job:

• problem-solving ability;
• ingenuity, to invent new designs or solutions;
• awareness and understanding of the needs of those who use the equipment – particularly farmers and horticulturalists;
• a flexible approach, with the ability to work unsupervised and to adapt to a variety of different work situations;
• ability to analyse data;
• good spoken, written communications and IT skills;

Some large manufacturers offer industrial placements, sponsorships and bursaries. All courses in land-based engineering at Harper Adams University College include a year of paid practical work experience. Such experience is a valuable background for employment.

What type of training will I receive?

All graduates and Diplomates go through a period of initial professional development, in employment, to develop the competence they need to perform the roles and duties of a professional engineer. They then demonstrate their competence and commitment at a professional review, before they can use the title Chartered or Incorporated Engineer. The larger employers may offer structured training schemes, allowing graduates to gain experience in different departments within the company. This will normally form part of the accredited training towards Chartered Engineer (CEng) status. For graduates working for smaller organisations, the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) supervises a scheme enabling graduates to gain CEng status. Similar patterns of training are available for those aiming at Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status.

Career Progression:

In the first five to ten years of their careers, land-based engineers working for large manufacturing companies are likely to reach a level at which they are responsible for managing specific projects or departments. They may specialise in design, or testing and development, or move into broader commercial areas such as sales or marketing. Progress may not be entirely straightforward. It is quite common for engineers to stay in their first jobs for a relatively short period of time, and then to spend a more significant period of time in their second jobs. This could be because once people have gained experience and contacts, they are more aware of all the opportunities available, and more certain of the type of role that would suit them on a long-term basis.

With smaller employers, opportunities for progression are likely to be limited, and progress will almost certainly mean moving to another company.

What Sort Of Industries Have A Requirement For This Type Of Job?

Manufacturing companies producing equipment for the land-based industries vary in size, from large international corporations to small, specialist manufacturers (of which there are only a few). The large employers include JCB, John Deere, Case New Holland, Agco, Caterpillar, Claas and McCormick. Some of these companies produce equipment for both the agricultural and construction industries – the skills required are similar. Much of their production work is now carried out overseas, but companies still employ UK-based engineers to carry out design, test and development work. A few smaller businesses, spread around the UK, manufacture specialist equipment, although again an increasing amount of this type of work is being carried out overseas.

Dealerships, selling and servicing agricultural and horticultural machinery, are the big growth areas within the land-based engineering industry. In terms of employment, most opportunities are at craft or technician level, although dealerships do employ a limited number of engineering graduates and Diplomates at managerial level.

A few universities (and university colleges) in the UK teach and/or carry out research in agricultural engineering. There are also opportunities in overseas universities.

About 40 colleges of further education in the UK teach technician and craft level courses in agricultural and horticultural engineering. Qualified and experienced engineers are needed as teachers and lecturers; they may be able to spend a period of time teaching, and then return to a commercial company.

Are Their Related Types Of Jobs?

Yes. This list is not exhaustive but here are some similar and associated types of role:

1. Agricultural consultant/adviser
2. Agriculture research scientist
3. Automotive engineer
4. Industrial/product designer
5. Manufacturing engineer
6. Water engineer.

What trade magazines or publications are available for this industry?

All of the following magazines and journals can be purchased from any good bookstore:

Farmers Weekly.
Professional Engineering.

Where can I find further information?

Further information can be found by visiting any of the following bodies and organisations the addresses and their respective websites are:

Agricultural Development and Advisory Service (ADAS) - ADAS Wolverhampton HQ, Woodthorne, Wergs Road, Wolverhampton WV6 8TQ - Tel: 01902 754190

Engineering Council UK (ECUK) - 10 Maltravers St, London WC2R 3ER
Tel: 020 7240 7891 -

Harper Adams University College - The Admissions Officer, Edgmond Nr. Newport, Shropshire TF10 8NB - Tel: 44(0) 1952 815000 -

Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) - West End Rd, Silsoe, Bedford MK45 4DU - Tel: 01525 861 096 -

Oxfam - 274 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 7DZ - Tel: 01865 311 311 -

RedR – Engineers for Disaster Relief - London office, 1 Great George Street, London SW1P 3AA - Tel: 020 7233 3116 -

Save The Children - 1 St John's Lane, London EC1M 4AR - Tel: 020 70126400

Society for the Environment (SocEnv) - Suite 1, 38 Ebury Street, London SW1W 0LU -

Other Useful Agricultural Engineer Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Agricultural Engineer job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Agricultural Engineer Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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