Is it essential you like being outdoors? Yes! But that doesn’t mean your options are limited to manual labour. Anna Baker Cresswell, founder of the charity High Ground, explains why the land based sector is a growth industry that’s ‘crying out for motivated, reliable people’ with your skills.
If you enjoy the idea of being outdoors but your ‘land knowledge’ is limited to scanty, school day History lessons on ancient farming practices, don’t despair. As Anna is keen to emphasise, this is the last thing employers in the sector are bothered by.
Anna says: “They’re not looking for knowledge specifically, rather your transferable military qualities – in particular, team work and communication. Motivation, problem solving and flexibility are also highly prized qualities.”
She adds: “Age is also not an issue. Employers understand that with age, comes experience.”
Anna set up the Rural Weeks programme at High Ground because she was keen to highlight to ex-military, the variety of work available in the sector and to help people decide which direction to go in.
The industry falls into four main categories:
- Outdoor education
Land management, environmental design, production and leisure, as well as animal care and conservation, all fall under these areas. Agricultural engineering is a relatively new offshoot in the sector. This involves precision agriculture use of UAVs/drones to look after crops better – it’s a growth area and many are keen to employ ex-military.
Anna says: “The industry is vast, but the programme really helps people explore the sector and find out where their niche may be and in particular, the area they’re passionate about. For example, we had one attendee who had no idea of the direction he wanted to go in. One speaker came in to talk about ‘game keeping’ and that was it, I could see the passion and excitement in his eyes.”
The programme also provides the opportunity to hear from those who are keen to share their experiences of the industry.
One aspect that often concerns people is how they’ll adjust to being self employed, as a lot of the industry relies on contractors. Little knowledge or understanding of paperwork and regulations can sometimes be another barrier to getting involved.
However, this is also an area where High Ground can provide guidance. Anna says: “We offer a high level of support, from advising on self employment issues to CV and interview help.” She adds: “It’s important to remember though that the focus in interviews is on what you have to offer as a person – people, rather than land, come first.”
Find out more about the Rural Weeks Programme here