Agriculture, animals, horticulture and the environment

Careers in agriculture, animals, horticulture and environment offer many opportunities where you can make a real and lasting difference for people, animals, wildlife and the planet.
Kieran Turnbull – Levels 2 and 3 Parks, Gardens and Green Space Apprenticeship, East Lothian Council

What’s an apprenticeship in agriculture, animals, horticulture and the environment?

The population is increasing and as a result, the number of animals is increasing too. With more people having pets at home and livestock farming expanding, there’s a need for skilled farming, animal care and environmental roles to be filled.

Many roles in this sector are based outside, so it’s perfect for those who love to be hands-on and active. It will suit you if you want to work in forestry, have a passion for animal welfare or you want to lead the way in conservation and environmental issues. You might even dream of running your own gardening business or being a zookeeper.

Kieran Turnbull – Levels 2 and 3 Parks, Gardens and Green Space Apprenticeship, East Lothian Council

“Manual labour has always been in my blood so a career in horticulture was always for me. The goal is to be a climber using a chainsaw! Only a select few progress to that level so it really is for the elite and you’ll know you’ve made it to the top when you get there.”

Caroline Noon – Apprenticeship Manager, National Trust

“We offer a range of apprenticeships that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with the National Trust. We’re diverse and inclusive, and we’re committed to attracting more young people into the trust. Apprenticeships give us the opportunity to create entry routes and clear career pathways for more people to have a rewarding career with us.”

Facts and stats

Average salary
The average salary for jobs across this sector is £25,2981.

There are currently around 150,000 UK agriculture businesses employing over half a million people2.

Volunteer and work experience opportunities are available in different settings from animal rescue centres to local councils and conservation projects.
Over 69% of the UK’s landmass is used for farming3.
Well known employers in the field include the National Trust, the Wildlife Trust, ZSL London Zoo and the Royal Horticultural Society.

Careers in this sector are varied and there is much scope to grow and develop in different directions if you’re not initially sure what your ultimate career goals are.

Who would suit an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are available at all levels in this diverse sector, whether you’re looking for an entry level opportunity or a degree apprenticeship. If you want an active job and love the environment, animals and the outdoors, this sector could be the perfect place for you to carve out a fulfilling and rewarding career.

Apprenticeships in this sector open up opportunities in a broad range of roles, from gardeners and horticultural specialists to livestock managers and agricultural advisers. Or if you’re interested in animals and conversation, you could come become a veterinary nurse, conservation consultation, zookeeper or an environmental health practitioner.

Many farms and vets’ surgeries as well as local councils and other large organisations offer apprenticeships in this sector. Some of the larger names you may recognise are Vets4Pets, ZSL London Zoo, the Environment Agency, the Wildlife Trust, the Royal Horticultural Society and the National Trust.

Jade Allen – Level 3 Water Environment Apprenticeship, National Trust

“Don’t be shy about showing an employer how passionate you are and why you want to be in a role that contributes to the environment. This is a sector where everyone genuinely cares about the work they’re doing so you’ll shine if you can show them that you care as much as them.”

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  • Your role contributes to and has a positive impact on the environment.
  • You’re likely to be working with passionate people with similar beliefs to your own.
  • There’s plenty of scope to move around and try different roles in different areas.
  • You’ll probably be on your feet for most of the day.
  • You’ll need to work outside whatever the weather, rain or shine.
  • You may need to work evenings or weekends in some roles.

Why choose an apprenticeship?

There is an urgent need for more workers and professionals in agriculture, animals, horticulture and environment and apprentices are perfectly placed to fill the skills gap in this constantly expanding sector. It also allows apprentices to contribute to the world by caring for animals and/or the environment.

We all have the same beliefs and are in the industry for the same reasons. That creates a lovely working environment.

Jade Allen, Apprentice at National Trust

Many of the roles in this industry have a practical element and as an apprentice you’ll gain valuable experience working alongside your mentor or supervisor whilst you complete your studies. This real-life experience will not only compliment your studies but will help you grow in confidence.

Along with the coaching and support received from your employer during your apprenticeship this will ensure you have everything you need to develop your career in the direction most suited to your skills.

Apprenticeships give us the opportunity to reach out and connect with more people.

Caroline Noon, Employer at National Trust

Industry top tips

Watch our top tips on how to get into agriculture, animals, horticulture and the environment.

How do you start an apprenticeship?