Do you like working outdoors in the fresh air, or like the idea of working with animals? You might like working with engines or machinery, or help save the world from the impact of global warming! If this all seems wide ranging, then you will find that this career area stretches across many disciplines, abilities and areas of expertise, from science, forestry, to fishing or mechanics!
The landbased, aquaculture and environmental industry in Scotland has around 23,680 businesses and almost 150,000 employees.
What areas can I work in?
This career area is concerned with the natural world and appeals to those interested in animal care, the countryside, planting and landscaping, and the environment.
The jobs and courses for this area are in eight sectors: agriculture, aquaculture and fishing, arboriculture and horticulture, earth studies, environmental and rural resource management, environmental services, forestry and working with animals.
What kind of companies can I work for?
Possible employers include:
agricultural chemical manufacturing companies
livestock farms or fisheries
stables and riding schools
zoos and wildlife parks
What’s the job market like?
According to Lantra (the Sector Skills Council for food based and environmental businesses), advances in technology, such as automation to reduce human labour, means there is increasing demand for highly skilled staff in this industry. As well as essential skills and knowledge, for example, health and safety, literacy and numeracy, the most sought-after skills are:
ICT (such as robotics), and
leadership and management (successful planning, entrepreneurial skills, knowledge skills).
In many cases, job prospects can depend on where you live, or are prepared to live, as well as on the type of work you do and your qualifications.
Growing awareness of climate change and the need for sustainable development is also creating opportunities for younger entrants with transferable skills. Given that this industry’s workforce has an older age distribution, the sector estimates it will need up to 30,000 more people by 2020, as more workers retire.
Facts and figures
In 2015 there were 11,970 businesses in the agricultural livestock industry, accounting for around 50% of all businesses, making it the largest industry in the sector.
This sector is predominantly male at 69%, comparing to 52% across all sectors of the Scottish economy.
Scotland has a larger proportion of GVA in agriculture than in England and Wales.
Scottish salmon accounts for over one third of the value of Scottish food exports, and has an estimated value of £667 million at farm gate prices.
Around 20,704 people are employed in sports turf, horticulture and landscaping work (14% of the sector employment as a whole).
The forestry sector is still growing and contributed £115 million to the Scottish economy in 2015, an increase of 29% since 2008. It employs 25,000 people.
Aquaculture production accounts for at least £550 million of the Scottish economy turnover and generates around 4,160 jobs.
In 2015 the Scottish sea fishing industry saw an employment upturn, with the number of working fishermen rising to 4,823 – an increase of 1% since 2014.
Want to find out more?
Lantra is the Sector Skills Council for food based and environmental businesses. You can find more information about the sectors it covers and related careers and training pathways on the Lantra Careers website.
The economic contribution of forestry in Scotland – Forestry Commission Scotland (November 2015)