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Agricultural/Horticultural Technician Profile

Agricultural/Horticultural Technician Profile


Introduction

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/Horticultural Technician. This page details the following Information:-

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


Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Agricultural or horticultural technicians work in land-based service engineering which includes forestry. They repair and maintain a wide range of machinery and equipment used in the industry. This may include:

• agricultural machinery such as tractors, harvesters, sprayers, cultivators and ploughs
• livestock handling and control equipment, milking and feeding systems
• professional groundcare machinery such as compact tractors and ride-on mowers
• domestic groundcare machinery such as lawnmowers and hedge trimmers.

Technicians working with agricultural machinery work on farms. Professional groundcare technicians work on golf courses, sports surfaces or parks, while those working with domestic groundcare machinery work for distributors or machinery hire companies. They use a range of equipment, tools and information from technical manuals to aid their work. If a fault is found they carry out repairs by welding or replacing parts, adjusting or cleaning components, or making a new part if necessary.

Working hours are normally 37.5 per week, but these are often exceeded. Hours vary to suit requirements and certain times of the year, such as harvest, may be busy.

An agricultural/horticultural technician should:

• have exceptional mechanical skills and the ability to work quickly
• be able to keep up with changing technology
• be able to work alone without direct supervision and make decisions
• be prepared to spend time away from home for short or long periods
• be interested in agriculture and machinery.

Technicians are employed throughout the UK; there are more opportunities in rural areas than in towns and cities. Career prospects are strong as interest in horticulture and gardening is growing, and the sector is becoming more mechanised. New entrants may undertake training with an employer leading to NVQs/SVQs in Land-Based Service Engineering and gain membership of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE). School leavers may be able to train through Apprenticeships. Most agricultural colleges also offer higher level qualifications at BTEC HNC/HND level.

Many agricultural/horticultural technician jobs are open to mature applicants, especially if they already have experience of vehicle maintenance work.

What does the role encounter?

Agricultural or horticultural technicians work in land-based service engineering which includes forestry. They repair and maintain a wide range of machinery and equipment used in the industry. This may be:

• Agricultural machinery such as tractors, harvesters, sprayers, cultivators, planters and fertiliser spreaders.
• Livestock handling and control equipment, milking systems, mobile handlers and feeding systems.
• Professional groundcare machinery such as compact tractors, rotary tillers, cultivators, grass collectors and ride-on mowers.
• Domestic groundcare machinery such as lawnmowers, chainsaws and hedge trimmers.

Technicians working on agricultural machinery and livestock handling equipment usually work on large and medium-sized farms. Professional groundcare technicians may work on golf courses, sports surfaces or municipal gardens and parks. Those working with domestic groundcare machinery work for distributors, machinery hire companies or local supply and repair centres. They use a range of equipment and tools, information from technical manuals and knowledge gained from experience to do the work required. They may be engaged on a regular maintenance schedule, repairing or replacing items which are broken or faulty. If a fault is found, they carry out the repair by welding or replacing parts, adjusting or cleaning components, or making a new part if necessary. They then test the item to ensure it is functioning correctly.

What type of hours will I have to work?

Normal working hours are 37.5 per week, but additional work is often required. Technicians working in the farming industry will work longer hours during the summer, when farmers normally work through the daylight hours. Hours often vary to suit requirements, and certain times of the year, such as harvest, may be busy with early starts, evening and weekend work. Many farms have well-equipped workshops but it may be necessary to work outside. Those working in professional groundcare will also work throughout the year, but domestic groundcare technicians will usually work in other areas during the winter months.

Some travelling is usually required in farm industry work. Working with heavy machinery involves standing, bending and lifting. All technicians wear protective overalls, sometimes supplied by machinery manufacturers. Many also wear safety boots, and in some cases, protective glasses.

What level of salary and benefits are there?

These figures are only a guide.

• A starting salary as an apprentice may be around £10,000 a year.
• An experienced technician is expected to earn around £25,000.
• Specialist technicians and those who are self-employed may earn up to £35,000.

What type of skills will I need?

You will need to have the following skills:

• have exceptional mechanical skills
• be able to learn and apply technical knowledge, and keep up-to-date with changing technology
• have good health and be physically fit
• have good colour vision
• have an accurate and methodical approach to problems
• have patience and perseverance when locating faults
• be able to work quickly
• be able to work alone without direct supervision and make decisions
• be able to follow strict safety procedures
• have a driving licence that can include heavy vehicles on public roads
• be prepared to spend time away from home for short or long periods.

What type of training will I receive?

Apprenticeship training usually combines working with a machinery dealer or technician with college attendance, to study for NVQs/SVQs Levels 1 to 3. Training covers most aspects of farm machinery or horticultural machinery, depending on which option is taken. Trainees also use computers and have the opportunity to take specialist qualifications including tractor driving, forklift truck operation, and abrasive wheel certification.

Are there similar types of job or related industries?

Yes this list is not exhaustive but see the following categories:

Botanist
Motor Vehicle Mechanic/Technician
Tyre/Exhaust Fitter
Vehicle Breakdown Engineer
Welder

Where can I find further information?

Many new entrants undertake training with a relevant employer leading to NVQs/SVQs in Land-Based Service Engineering. School leavers may train through Apprenticeships. Entry requirements vary but most employers expect four GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3) including maths and science or technology subject, an appropriate Intermediate GNVQ/GSVQ Level 2, or the equivalent.

Apprenticeships which may be available in England are Young Apprenticeships, Pre-Apprenticeships, Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships. To find out which one is most appropriate log onto www.apprenticeships.org.uk or contact the local Connexions Partnership.

Apprenticeships may be different, depending on where people live. In Scotland they are Skillseekers - contact Careers Scotland www.careers-scotland.org.uk for further information; in Wales, Foundation and Modern Apprenticeships - contact Careers Wales www.careerswales.com; and in Northern Ireland, Modern Apprenticeships - contact COIU: www.delni.gov.uk.

Some colleges offer full-time courses leading towards City & Guilds Service Engineering (Agricultural Machinery) 4023 and Service Engineering (Garden Machinery) 4033. In Scotland, entrants work towards similar SVQ Levels 2 and 3.

Other Useful Agricultural/Horticultural Technician Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Agricultural/Horticultural Technician 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/Horticultural Technician 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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