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Job Photographs

  • A man, wearing red overalls and blue latex gloves, is repairing a large engine.  He is inside a workshop.

    Repairing an engine.

  • Three tractors stand in a courtyard.  One is blue, one is red and the other is yellow.  There is a large warehouse behind the tractors.

    Agricultural/garden service engineers work with a range of machinery.

  • A man, wearing red overalls and blue latex gloves, is repairing a large engine.  He is in a workshop.

    Checking oil levels.

  • A man, wearing red overalls, is standing in a workshop.  He is speaking on a telephone and looking at a sheet of paper.

    Discussing requirements with a customer.

  • A man, wearing red overalls and blue latex gloves, is using a blow torch.  There are sparks coming out of the torch.  He is wearing protective goggles over his eyes and covers over his ears.  He is in a workshop.

    Modifying a part for a piece of machinery.

  • A man, wearing red overalls, is standing at a long table.  He is using a laptop computer.

    Logging on to the computer system to prepare an estimate for a customer.

  • A man, wearing red overalls, is using a laptop computer to test the engine of a tractor.  He is outside in a courtyard.

    Using computer equipment to test the power output of a tractor.

  • A man, wearing red overalls and blue latex gloves, is standing next to a tractor, in a courtyard.  He is reading a technical manual.

    Referring to a technical manual.

Agricultural/Garden Service Engineer

Introduction

Agricultural/garden service engineers repair and service a variety of machinery and equipment used in agriculture, gardens, forestry and horticulture.

Also known as

  • Farm Machinery Mechanic
  • Garden Machinery Mechanic
  • Mechanic, Agricultural/Garden
  • Land Based Service Engineer

Video: - Richard: Agricultural/Garden Service Engineer

Work Activities

Agricultural/garden service engineers maintain and repair a wide variety of agricultural, garden, forestry and horticultural machinery. They also work on groundcare equipment (eg, golf course mowers).

They also work on machinery that is used to cut crops, bale hay, plant seeds and plough fields. In horticulture, they work on mowers, chainsaws and cultivation machinery.

Agricultural/garden service engineers use their technical knowledge to diagnose and repair faults. For example, they would take an engine apart, replace broken or worn parts, and put it back together again. They need to do this quickly, so machines are not out of action for too long.

Their repairs also involve using skilled techniques such as welding.

When agricultural/garden service engineers maintain machinery, they make sure that everything is working properly. They replace old parts, and check or change the oil and brake fluid. They follow manufacturers' recommended procedures.

They may also prepare estimates for their customers. When stocks of spare parts run low, they order new parts by filling in an order form. They may send this off via the internet or use a parts-ordering computer system. Computers are also increasingly used to keep records and to test machinery.

Agricultural/garden service engineers work indoors in workshops, sometimes in dirty and oily conditions, and outdoors in the field. When working outdoors, conditions can be cold, wet, messy and smelly.

Agricultural/garden service engineers may need to wear protective clothing for certain jobs, in order to work safely. They may also need to drive tractors and other vehicles.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

As an agricultural/garden service engineer, you need:

  • Good practical skills.
  • A high level of interest in technical subjects.
  • To be physically fit to cope with bending, lifting and stretching.
  • Nimble fingers to handle small parts and tools.
  • To be logical and patient in tracing faults.
  • Good organisational skills to prioritise your workload.
  • Some understanding of computers and technology.
  • Good communication skills, as you might need to explain faults and repairs clearly to people who have a non-technical background.

A driving licence may be required for this job.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

Agricultural/garden services engineers earn in the range of £21,500 - £25,000, rising to £29,500 - £35,000, with experience. Senior positions can earn up to £40,000.

Hours of work

Agricultural/garden service engineers work a basic 39-hour week, which may include irregular hours, early starts, late finishes, weekend work and call-out at short notice, especially in the busy summer harvesting season.

What's happening in this work area?

Demand for agricultural service engineers is linked to the seasonal activity of the agricultural sector as a whole. This seasonal requirement, which includes working long unsociable hours during harvest time, has resulted in a shortage of skilled staff. Employment prospects, as a result, are good, as the sector needs to attract young people and career changers.

Future skills needsThe following skills shortages have been identified:

  • Business and management.
  • Technical.
  • Literacy and numeracy.
  • Communication.
  • Customer service.

Where could I work?

Employers include agricultural/garden machinery contractors, machinery manufacturers and retail dealers. Some larger farms and horticultural units employ their own service engineers.

Opportunities for agricultural/garden service engineers occur with employers in towns, cities and rural areas throughout the UK.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, trade industry publications, at Jobcentre Plus and on the Universal Jobmatch website.

Vacancies can also be found through specialist engineering recruitment agencies, internet job boards and the websites of professional engineering bodies.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

An Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship will help you to get into this job.

Or, you could go to a further education college to study a relevant Edexcel (BTEC) or City & Guilds qualification, before looking for employment.

Training

Employers may give trainee agricultural/garden service engineers day- or block-release to complete a relevant college course.

You may be able to work towards a relevant work-based qualification, such as Land-based Service Engineering at levels 2 and 3.

Progression

Agricultural/garden service engineers can progress to specialist posts or to team leader/supervisor positions after further training and experience.

Qualifications

To get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C or above, possibly including English and Maths.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

A farming, horticultural or mechanical engineering background, or similar, is an advantage when applying for agricultural/horticultural college courses.

Courses

Most colleges will consider applications from older candidates who don't have the usual entry requirements. You should check the admissions policy of individual colleges.

Statistics

  • 2% of people in occupations such as agricultural/garden service engineer work part-time.
  • 16% have flexible hours.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

British Agricultural and Garden Machinery Association (BAGMA)

Address: Middleton House, 2 Main Road, Middleton Cheney, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX17 2TN

Tel: 01295 713344

Email: info@bagma.com

Website: www.bagma.com

Lantra

Skills for land-based and environmental industries

Address: Lantra House, Stoneleigh Park, Coventry, Warwickshire CV8 2LG

Tel: 02476 696996

Email: reception@lantra.co.uk

Website: www.lantra.co.uk

City & Guilds Land Based Services

Address: Building 500, Abbey Park, Stareton, Warwickshire CV8 2LY

Tel: 02476 857300

Email: information@cityandguilds.com

Website: www.nptc.org.uk

Semta

Skills for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies

Address: 14 Upton Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JT

Tel: 0845 6439001

Email: customerservices@semta.org.uk

Website: www.semta.org.uk

The Engineer

Engineering technology news

Email: customerservices@theengineer.co.uk

Website: www.theengineer.co.uk

Tomorrow's Engineers

Publisher: EngineeringUK and Royal Academy of Engineering

Email: contactus@tomorrowsengineers.org.uk

Website: www.tomorrowsengineers.org.uk

Farmers Weekly Interactive

Publisher: Reed Business Information Ltd

Email: fwiinfo@rbi.co.uk

Website: www.fwi.co.uk

GreenJobs

Email: info@greenjobs.co.uk

Website: www.greenjobs.co.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

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