Opportunities / options for school leavers

Poorbuthappy

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
Ok, so 2nd daughter wants to go farming, currently doing A levels but undecided if she wants to go ag college.
Going to organise some open day trips to ag colleges (any suggestions as to which to look at for livestock orientated courses?)

But what other options or opportunities are out there besides just looking for work locally?
Even if there was capacity for her to come home to work (which there isn't currently) I'd want her to get out into the big wide world for some experience first.

Are there organisations to go to if looking for opportunities to work abroad?
Even voluntary/ charity stuff that's ag based?
Scholarships or similar?

Just looking at options for her currently - still first year of A levels so there's time to consider it.
Not looking to push her in any particular direction, but give her some ideas to consider.

Thanks
 

scholland

Member
Location
ze3
Know of a couple of families who are putting their son through ag uni in nz.
Chance to travel and see lots of different things, I presume the course is good as well.
Wouldn't be for every family though.
I sure there are plenty places to get great experience in the uk as well. I did the sac course in ag but wouldn't recommend it from a education point of view. Might be better now though as its a few years ago!
 

CornishTone

Member
Location
Cornwall
Consider Harper. With their placement year there’s huge opportunities to get experience anywhere in the world.

There are organisations that run working holidays in Ag if she wanted to travel first. Agriventure is one such organisation.

And tell her don’t just go to NZ! Everyone goes to New Zealand! Try somewhere that’s totally different to UK climate and agricultural practices. Travel is an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and see something totally different and unexpected.
 

CornishTone

Member
Location
Cornwall
Perhaps consider Jackeroo/Jilleroo School in Australia?

She’d learn core livestock management skills and then get a job on a station for 12 months or so working in a livestock enterprise that she’d never experience back home.
 

Sid

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
South Molton
Get some work locally gain some life experience. Do a college course to gain a decent back ground on farming. Then travel.

Knowledge will gain her a better job and a more enjoyable trip when she does travel.
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
I’m guessing she has a bit of practical experience already. That’s a great foundation to get a decent job for a pre-college year somewhere, en route to doing a course that teaches the management/paperwork side of the job. I’ve always thought that most of the practical elements are best learnt in the real world, rather than the rigid practical tutorials that some of the county college lecturers give.

I did a HND Ag at Harper, admittedly a year or two ago now:whistle:, which meant a pre-college ‘practical’ year on farm (at home or elsewhere) and then a 3 yr course with the middle year being out in the industry/abroad. The practical bits that were taught were nothing but a joke tbh, to anyone that had any experience at all. The greatest value of the course IMO was making students think and explore opportunities, rather than just accepting what Dad had always done. The ability to look outside the box, to a degree at least, must surely be a valuable lesson for any future in Ag.

If I had my time again, and with the benefit of hindsight, I don’t think i’d Plan my education much differently. If I had, I probably wouldn’t be in farming today tbh, rightly or wrongly.:scratchhead:
 

Whitepeak

Member
Livestock Farmer
Given my chance again, I wouldn't have wasted my time going for a BSc. I should have done a Foundation Degree and disappeared somewhere else for 12 months.
For anyone going straight home to farm I agree a BSc is a bit pointless. But it does open up bigger opportunities, I worked in ruminant nutrition for 4yrs which I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t done a BSc.
 
It’s a funny thing. I haven’t got any ag qualifications at all. As said before the practical ag bit isn’t necessarily that hard it’s mostly just practice, observation and having good capable people around you.

The theory moves pretty fast now and to be fair you’d probably learn most of it by reading, listening and working for good forward thinking people.

I think it’s really the Buisness side of things which is hardest and would be a useful thing to be formally taught.
 

CornishTone

Member
Location
Cornwall
Get some work locally gain some life experience. Do a college course to gain a decent back ground on farming. Then travel.

Knowledge will gain her a better job and a more enjoyable trip when she does travel.
I would say independent travel and work is all about gaining life experience. It forces you to become resilient, independent and communicative without mummy and daddy just down the road to run back to.

Having traveled and worked before I started Uni, the ones who had been mollycoddled and never left the protective umbrella of the parentals were the ones who struggled to adjust to the freedom and responsibility of University the most. On the whole I would say the ones who had travelled and “got it out of their system” a bit, settled down quicker, got on with everyone better and had a more balanced attitude to work and play. That’s just my experience anyway.

As some have said, uni or college isn’t for everyone and these days it seems to be fashionable for the media and politicians to say that everyone should get a degree or similar which is, of course, a load of bs!

I would say however, the benefits of seeing the world and working in strange and unfamiliar environments, but within your chosen industry, are huge, should not be underestimated and should not to be passed up whilst the chance is there. Once you get settled into a life with an house, job and, dare I say it, kids it gets a lot harder to make that jump into the unknown. As I’ve said before, there’s a big old world out there to explore, get to it whilst you can!
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Consider Harper. With their placement year there’s huge opportunities to get experience anywhere in the world.

There are organisations that run working holidays in Ag if she wanted to travel first. Agriventure is one such organisation.

And tell her don’t just go to NZ! Everyone goes to New Zealand! Try somewhere that’s totally different to UK climate and agricultural practices. Travel is an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and see something totally different and unexpected.
NZ is too much like home IMO.
Not nearly enough contrast to properly see the wood for the trees, if I had another go at my earlier years I would have gone to South America and then Australia to learn a few new things... NZ is far too "safe" in terms of growth and lack of diversity that extremes bring... just my two cents worth, GB will never be economically similar to NZ, in reality.
 

CornishTone

Member
Location
Cornwall
NZ is too much like home IMO.
Not nearly enough contrast to properly see the wood for the trees, if I had another go at my earlier years I would have gone to South America and then Australia to learn a few new things... NZ is far too "safe" in terms of growth and lack of diversity that extremes bring... just my two cents worth, GB will never be economically similar to NZ, in reality.
Absolutely! There seems to be a lot going out to NZ for a gap year at the moment and their Facebook/Twitter/Instagram posts are all celebrating the fact that they can drive a tractor or a forager for 16 hours a day... as opposed to driving a tractor or forager for 16 hours a day in the UK! Meh...!

South America was also in the back of my mind whilst writing my previous post. Argentina would be pretty amazing if you’re into livestock, just don’t run round with the number plate FKLD82 or what ever Jeremy Clarkson did! :snigger:

I’d like to suggest certain African countries as well. I know there are volunteer programs around agriculture, but I appreciate it’s not necessarily the safest place to consider, so a bit of research would be very important. What an amazing opportunity to see agriculture in its most raw form though, through the eyes of mainly subsistence farmers!
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Absolutely! There seems to be a lot going out to NZ for a gap year at the moment and their Facebook/Twitter/Instagram posts are all celebrating the fact that they can drive a tractor or a forager for 16 hours a day... as opposed to driving a tractor or forager for 16 hours a day in the UK! Meh...!

South America was also in the back of my mind whilst writing my previous post. Argentina would be pretty amazing if you’re into livestock, just don’t run round with the number plate FKLD82 or what ever Jeremy Clarkson did! :snigger:

I’d like to suggest certain African countries as well. I know there are volunteer programs around agriculture, but I appreciate it’s not necessarily the safest place to consider, so a bit of research would be very important. What an amazing opportunity to see agriculture in its most raw form though, through the eyes of mainly subsistence farmers!
It also depends a lot on what type of experience you want on farms, as you alluded to it seems to be reasonably common to simply become a machine operator/milk harvester and miss out so much of what happens on a farm.

Even many farmers drop the ball due to being full-time machine operators instead of being the CEO so, what hope do their staff have of furthering themselves?

I personally feel the next generation would benefit more, going to somewhere 'primitive' - discarding all the commonly held knowledge about farming - these advanced countries will soon be looking for answers as to how to farm in a more sustainable fashion so why not get the jump on it now?

All this is commonplace on ranches around the globe, and they wouldn't know what a Claas Jaguar 940 is, let alone what you do with one..

That's how they make a living from farming!
 

Wolds Beef

Member
Nottingham Trent University has a good reputation in this neck of the woods! It produced the Student of the Year last year, beating harper and one or two other institutions in the process. There farm manager is also a very practical farmers son.
Once I had done with ag college I had a spell working for the NFU before coming back on farm, that taught me a lot about admin, how to meet and talk to people and generally get on.
WB
 

Boysground

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Wiltshire
I would suggest going to college/uni and getting a qualification it will open up more doors in the future. I now have 2 children at uni 1 doing agriculture and 1 not. I would advise looking at as many as is practical. They all offer good qualifications but for the student to get the most out of it they have to want to go there. Let your daughter decide which is for her.

As has already been said I would encourage 1 of the degrees with more business rather than straight agriculture.

Bg
 

Tim W

Member
Location
Wiltshire
I have no formal ag. education and am glad i didn't go to any of the colleges i have seen
@Poorbuthappy will have given a good practical and moral education no doubt (y) so the other 2 things to get sorted are ;
1) business sense & finance which can be gained at college and by experience
2) A bit of time working around the world is great to give an insight into how others live & work, it also teaches tolerance of other cultures which we seem to be lacking in society these days ----i did 14 years of this and would do it again but would aim for somewhere a bit different now , S. America, China, Ukraine ?

Oh to be young and doing it all again !
 

Poorbuthappy

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
Thanks for all the replies so far - we're taking the various viewpoints on board.

Personally, I was enrolled to do a degree at Seale Hayne but once I started working with my year's practical, there was no way I was going back studying.
I don't regret not going, though I do wish I'd spent some time working abroad (and not just tractor driving!)
But I worked for some good farmers in various guises and believe that gave me a good standing. Also worked closely with my vet in terms of trial work etc right from the start of keeping my own stock. Farming skipped a generation in my family so I didn't have any "coming home" option.

Daughter has always taken a keen interest at home and has reared her own calves, has a small free range laying flock, and now also has a couple of sows and 2 in calf heifers.
In her shoes I would probably want to stay home and develop my business and job around locally.
But I would like to encourage her to look further afield to gain wider experience for a bit in some way.
 

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