Young Academic Career Profile: Land Based Engineer

Young Academic offers students across the United Kingdom a fully comprehensive service – with careers being one of our main focuses. We will be running a series of Career Profiles – the first of which is on Land Based Engineering. Check the profile out below and keep your eyes peeled for some of Young Academic’s recommended employers and training opportunities.

Engineers in the land-based sector design and develop new equipment and technology in industries such as agriculture and horticulture.

Engineers in this sector may choose to specialise in areas such as:

  • manufacturing – designing and developing new products, such as tractors, combine harvesters, ploughs and sprayers, as well as forestry, horticultural, groundcare and amenity equipment
  • field engineering – developing new equipment to deal with problems relating to soil erosion, irrigation and drainage, and to protect and manage crops
  • service engineering – training operators and installing and maintaining machinery
  • environmental control – designing electronic systems to control the conditions inside buildings that are used to house livestock or to store crops
  • the environment – working on land reclamation and the creation of habitats.

Salaries may range from £18,000 to £60,000 a year, or more.

Engineers in this sector usually work a standard full-time week, although this can vary depending on seasonal demands, deadlines and whether or not they are on call. The working environment can vary between working indoors and outdoors on field work, visiting farms and other facilities.

Working with agricultural, forestry and horticultural equipment can be hazardous and engineers may need to wear protective clothing, high-visibility vests and hard hats.

It may be necessary to spend some time working away from home.

Land-based engineers need:

  • good practical and IT skills
  • to be creative and inventive
  • to have good problem-solving skills
  • the ability to record and analyse data
  • an understanding of customer care
  • an understanding of health and safety legislation
  • an interest in agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

There are approximately 3,350 businesses in the industry within the UK. Land-based engineering is a growing sector consisting of large and medium-sized manufacturing, sales and service companies and smaller specialist firms, as well as consultancies. There is a national shortage of people with engineering skills at all levels, so job opportunities are good.

It is possible to enter land-based engineering by studying for a degree in agricultural engineering or a related subject. Apprenticeships are also available, and some of the larger manufacturers provide their own specialist apprentice training.

It may be advantageous to achieve the Diploma in environmental and land-based studies prior to entering further training, study or an Apprenticeship.

Land-based engineers complete a period of initial professional development when they start work. Large employers may offer structured training schemes, allowing entrants to gain experience in different departments. Through the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE), professional land-based engineers with the required experience and qualifications can register with the Engineering Council UK at one of three levels:

  • Engineering Technician
  • Incorporated Engineer
  • Chartered Engineer.

There are generally good promotion prospects within large multinational companies and smaller specialist firms, where experienced engineers may move into management. It is possible to become self-employed and work on a consultancy basis

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