Karen Wasden

If you are organised, good at problem solving and great with people, the role of field officer working for a Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs could be for you.

It’s a varied position, working with young farmers to help them run happy clubs, stay safe and work out any problems.

Farmers Weekly asked farm administrator Karen Wasden to explain what the job is like. 

See also: More handy careers advice for the agriculture sector

Name: Karen Wasden

Job title: Field worker

Company: Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs

Age: Old enough to have two grown-up daughters

Sum up your job: Providing help and guidance to YFC members, advisers and club leaders

What does this involve day to day? Training up new club officers to help them cope with the tasks they have to undertake, such as running a committee meeting.

Completing DBS (the government’s Disclosure and Barring Service) forms to make sure young people are kept safe and generally troubleshooting. If a club or member is having a problem, I’m the person they can turn to.

What do you enjoy the most? The variety. You never know what each day will bring. It depends who phones up. No two days are the same.

What’s the downside? I’m always on call. I once had a phone call at 1am when a chairman rang up to say that after a night in the pub, all his officers had resigned – no secretary, no treasurer, nobody left.

In a county the size of Yorkshire the other downside can be the travelling. It can be more than a three- hour round trip in the car to visit a single club. There are many nights I’m not back home before midnight.

What percentage of your job is office based? About 20%, mostly completing paperwork such as the DBS checks and planning officer training.

What essential skills and qualifications are needed? A good listener and communicator, but approachability is probably the most important one. Knowledge of how YFC works is also important.

What experience did you have before you started? I had been a member of Catterick YFC in North Yorkshire since I was 10 and never really left. Both my parents had also been in involved in Young Farmers.

What advice would you give to someone wanting a similar role?

  • Don’t expect 9am-5pm Monday to Friday work
  • If you’re not comfortable being an agony aunt/uncle, forget it
  • Be friendly, stay for a drink and a chat, but don’t blur the lines. Remember, you are the responsible adult
  • Prepare to be shocked. If you have a prudish personality, this isn’t the job for you

Give us an idea of your salary or earnings

I’m self-employed, so I have to be disciplined in writing down all the hours I work. I earn more in the busy months like September and October when clubs are appointing their new officers – I can be out training three or four nights a week.

Then in the months like December and January it can be very quiet and I earn less. The fact I’m paid mileage makes a big difference.

I don’t think you would be able to afford to do a job like this if you weren’t getting your fuel paid. Also, being a YFC field worker is one of those jobs that nobody would do for the money; you have to love it.