Jacob Anthony: Mindset matters as much as exams

Are academic qualifications a vital necessity for anyone pursuing their dream career of farming?

August is exam results month for GCSE and A-Level pupils – a very anxious period, made even worse by the unknown burden that this year’s Covid-19 situation has created.

Many people will stress the importance of education in agriculture, which I completely agree with. There is always something new to learn. After all, we are constantly trying to evolve, improve and make sure our farms are as sustainable as possible.

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That said, though, I do no think academic qualifications are crucial to having a career in farming. There are many successful people across the country who have gone on to achieve great careers without going to college or university.

No matter how much of an academic education you have, there is no substitute for hard work.

If you have a good attitude and are willing to put the hours in, you can get on in this industry.

Yes, there are many training certificates that are critical to the industry from a safety point of view, but these can be obtained without having to invest in years of higher education.

From a personal point of view, I had some of my most enjoyable times while studying agriculture at Hartpury College. This was mainly down to the friends I made and the skills I learned.

Taking the decision to leave home for a couple of years really helped me develop personally and I’m glad I took this path, as it suited me.

In terms of education, though, it was not in the classroom I really learned about the important aspects of farming. This was on my middle-year placement, in a true hands-on, everyday working environment. Some things cannot be taught in a classroom.

There are other options for people who do not wish to go down the academic route or straight into a permanent working situation.

Travelling and working abroad on farms is often hugely educational. This allows you to “learn on the go”, which can be an attractive proposition for those people who do not enjoy the classroom environment, but want to experience life and meet new people.

No one should feel as if they have no options to start a career in farming. No one option is right or wrong; what is important is that you do what you think is right for yourself.

There are many different routes to lead you into a career in agriculture. With the right mindset, the sky is the limit.