Cereals 2015: 6 tips for getting started in farming

Farming has many roles and opportunities – but how do you stand out from the crowd and get a foot in the door?

Three people who’ve made a success of different agricultural careers shared their tips at a seminar at the 2015 Cereals event. They were:

Richard Charles, product technical manager at Agco.

Richard did an agricultural apprenticeship before getting hands-on experience. He now manages technical teams in factories around the world, travelling to China, Finland and Brazil among other places.

Richard Self, project manager at Edge careers.

Richard did an apprenticeship before going on to college and becoming a business advisor. At Edge he works to match employers with young apprenticeships.

David Richardson, arable farmer, Farmers Weekly columnist and trustee of the Henry Plumb Foundation which provides mentors and cash for start up young farmers.

David started in farming as a child when he started rearing and selling his own pigs.

  1. Consider both vocational and academic routes:
  • Some routes may suit certain people but it may depend more on how you apply yourself – as long as you’re willing to take on information and learn, you will succeed.
  • Most jobs in farming will need a mix of academic and hands-on skills and experience.
  • Speed networking is a good way to find out more about different careers and meet employers
  • Remember that if you like something you will almost certainly be good at it – and the reverse
  1. Think about the variety of jobs available in the farming industry:
  • Skilled people are needed across all sectors and there is a shortage of people such as agricultural engineers.
  1. Look into worldwide options:
  • Think about studying a second language that could be useful abroad or in the UK. For example, a farm manager with a second language may be an asset to a business employing a large number of foreign workers.
  • Travelling for a substantial amount of time will show you can look after yourself, are confident and can take on new challenges.
  • If there are no jobs here, go abroad. Some places are crying out for well-educated young people who are willing to work hard to get a start. Then work your way up.
  1. Stand out from the crowd by showing what else you do:
  • What you do when not working is just as important to employers – so take on additional roles, activities and create opportunities for yourself that demonstrate your commitment, skills and enthusiasm.
  • This could be taking an active part and role in sports teams, clubs such as young farmers, parish councils and community projects. These can help show you can deal with budgets, decisions, people and project management.
  • Show you are passionate about farming and want to give something back to the industry. This could be signing up to be an ambassador for food and farming with Edge, helping at an Open Farm Sunday, or speaking in schools.
  1. Impress at interviews by being well prepared:
  • Put the effort in – people try to wing it far too much. Research the company, its products, competitors and think of questions to ask.
  • Show you want the job with enthusiasm.
  1. Think positive and keep moving forward in some way:
  • Sometimes to break through that brick wall you have to be prepared to move sideways or even take a step back before you can move forward.

For more news, photos, video and information at the Cereals event see our Cereals 2015 page

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