Agriculture (Wales)

Framework status: Current (latest) issue

Framework details

Framework ID: FR02701
Issue number: 5
Issued: 14 February 2014

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Agriculture (Wales)
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Issued by

Contact name: Julie Murphy
Telephone number: 02476 419703
Please download the framework for email contact information.


Defining Apprenticeships

An Apprenticeship is a job with an accompanying skills development programme under an Apprenticeship Agreement designed by employers in the sector. It allows the apprentice to gain technical knowledge and real practical experience, along with essential skills, required for their immediate job and future career. These are acquired through a mix of learning in the workplace, formal off the job training and the opportunity to practice and embed new skills in a real work context. This broader mix differentiates the Apprenticeship experience from training delivered to meet narrowly focused job needs.

All apprentices commencing their Apprenticeship must have an Apprenticeship Agreement between the employer and the apprentice. This can be used to reinforce the understanding of the requirements of the Apprenticeship.

On completion of the Apprenticeship the apprentice must be able to undertake the full range of duties, in the range of circumstances appropriate to the job, confidently and competently to the standard set by the industry.

The Agriculture Industry

Agriculture includes the production of primary food and managing the land for environmental and sustainable development. The Agriculture sector can be divided into a number of sub-sectors or industries:

  • Agricultural crops, which involves arable production including grains, seeds, sugar and potatoes. Some businesses have diversified into bio-fuels, trees and short term coppice
  • Agricultural livestock, which involves the production of beef, sheep, pigs, poultry, dairy and other non mainstream livestock
  • Agricultural contracting which involves services provided to farmers such as crop spraying, grain drying, foot trimming, sheep shearing and animal and plant breeding and research
  • Production Horticulture which involves the growing of fruit and vegetables. However many employers see production horticulture as separate from agriculture and therefore this part of the industry is included in the Horticulture Apprenticeship.

The main production enterprise of a farm will vary according to geographical location, which is often determined by the soil type, climate and market, all of which are important factors in animal and plant production. There have been many significant changes in recent years with new technology, farming methods and legislation resulting in changes to practices and the skills required to meet future challenges.

The Agriculture and Production Horticulture industries produced a Skills Strategy to promote the professional, highly technical and innovative nature of the sector, which requires those working in it to update and increase their skill levels to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.  This work has moved on since the Agriculture apprenticeship was developed and is now the Agri Tech and Skills Strategy led by AHDB which builds on the Agri Skills Forum and aims to provide a common vision and pathway which many existing skills initiatives can rally behind. The focus of the strategy is workforce development and retention.

Micro-businesses dominate the environment and land-based sector with 97% of Agricultural businesses in the sector employing fewer than ten members of staff (Lantra's UK Landbased and Environment Sector - Labour Market and Skills Summary update 2013). Agriculture is the most significant industry for the environment and land-based sector in Wales representing 70% of the businesses and 60% of employment.  Many Agricultural businesses employ casual and seasonal workers to help throughout busy periods increasing the employment levels within the industry. In particular migrant workers make up a significant part of the workforce and with the numbers likely to decrease the industry will need to look to recruit more school leavers.

Despite the previous Agriculture Apprenticeship framework being successful, nearly half of the Agricultural industry has qualifications at Level 2 or below,  although they are usually very skilled. Employers also report a skills gap when recruiting, particularly in technical, literacy, numeracy, business and leadership and management skills.

Agriculture in Wales has an ageing workforce with 30% of people aged 50 or over with the key decision maker generally around the age of 55 and only 12% of workers within the 16-24 age bracket. Therefore, because of the nature of Agricultural businesses, work-based learning through Apprenticeships is a good way for those entering and progressing in the sector to learn the necessary skills and knowledge.

The Agriculture industry is facing key challenges to make sure staff have the right skills and develop them to fulfil career ambitions, contributing to increased productivity and business profitability.  The Agricultural industry values the Foundation Apprenticeship as an entry route into the sector and in Wales have developed the Higher Apprenticeship to provide progression and career opportunities for those working in the sector.  This will help address the need to increase the number of qualified people working in the sector at Level 4 and below by 2020. 

The framework will also contribute to meeting the wider skills priorities in Wales by:

  • Providing flexible access to a high quality (Level 2, 3 and 4) skills programme for Agriculture
  • Incorporating skills to improve the levels of general literacy and numeracy in Wales
  • Using technical and competence qualifications, valued by employers, to help their businesses grow
  • Developing apprentices’ employability skills, making them more attractive to all employers whatever career they choose
  • Providing a career pathway into jobs and training at foundation through to higher levels, to provide the skills that the economy needs to grow. 

The Foundation Apprenticeship, Apprenticeship and Higher Apprenticeship reflect the job roles within the industries and allows apprentices to take units in crop production, livestock production, mixed farming or poultry production depending on the type of farm they are working on. The types of jobs available include:

  • Foundation Apprenticeship: General Farm Worker (Livestock, Crop or Mixed Farm), Tractor Driver, Stock person, Pig Technician and Hatchery Staff
  • Apprenticeship:  Livestock Technician, Shepherd, Hatchery Supervisor/Charge-hand
  • Higher Apprenticeship: Unit Manager and Assistant Farm Manager

Further information on the Agriculture industry can be found at:

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Agriculture (Wales)
(PDF document 3.76 MB)