CAREERS BLOG – careers in food, farming & environment sectors

Janice Simpson, Senior Careers Adviser, writes…

I recently attended a careers event designed to raise awareness of career opportunities in food, farming and environment and it was incredibly useful, so I thought I’d share some of the key themes with you.

You may think that opportunities for graduates in agriculture and horticulture are limited, but think again. There is a real emphasis on the importance of applying scientific knowledge and technology to plant, crop and feed production and in animal management and welfare.  This is evidenced in everything from the computers that run agricultural machinery to the genetics research that is driving advances in plant technology and animal breeding. For information about some of the research that’s going on, and career possibilities, take a look at these websites:

Food production, marketing and retail were other areas highlighted. This is a massive industry which has opportunities for graduates in business and management roles with food suppliers (including farmers’ co-operatives, regional producers such as Cranswicks and Dovecote Park and global organisations such as Arla Foods). Larger organisations, such as Arla and the major supermarkets, all offer graduate recruitment programmes.

Another less well known employment area is land and rural estate management and rural and agricultural property valuation services. For graduates who want a career that involves getting out and about in the countryside and working with farmers and property owners this could be an area to investigate. Useful websites include:

As you might imagine, sustainability and environmental issues feature prominently in this sector. There are a broad range of career pathways with a variety of organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Examples include regulatory, advisory and policy work, conservation, forestry and renewable energies. There are some useful links for further information below:

Forestry:

Other organisations:

Renewable energy careers:

So how do you get into these careers?  Well, entry requirements vary from role to role, but you’re likely to need some relevant work experience and in some cases you will need to undertake further study, for example to develop your scientific/research skills and knowledge or to gain a relevant professional/vocational qualification. If you need to obtain additional qualifications, check for accredited courses (where appropriate) and don’t just look at traditional universities, but check out agricultural colleges, such as Harper Adams and the Royal Agricultural College for specialist Masters programmes.

In addition to the resources above you might find the following information sheets useful, available at www.york.ac.uk/careers/infosheets:

  • Considering…the Environment sector?
  • Work experience in the Environment sector

So, if you’re interested in the great outdoors, check out these resources for a career with a difference.

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