Landbased service engineers maintain, repair and test a wide range of equipment and machinery for the agricultural, horticultural, landscape and forestry industries. They work with large items such as tractors and harvesters, smaller items such as lawnmowers and chainsaws and equipment such as dairy machinery.
They can also be called landbased mechanics or agricultural technicians.
You could be:
using technical manuals and information to help identify problems
checking equipment to find out what's wrong with it
using computerised testing equipment
discussing the work needed with the owner or operator and deciding on the most efficient fix
repairing the fault, for example by welding or replacing parts, adjusting or cleaning components or making a new part
testing the item to make sure it is working properly
carrying out regular maintenance checks on machinery and equipment and attending emergency repair call-outs
keeping records of work on a database
specialising in a particular type of machinery, such as dairy equipment or farm vehicles.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting pay for an apprentice is often based around the National Minimum Wage. The apprentice rate, for those aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship, is £5.28 an hour (1 April 2023).
Salaries for newly qualified landbased mechanics in the UK usually range from around £15,000 to £25,000 a year. With experience this can rise to £40,000 a year, and sometimes more. You can earn extra through overtime and on call duties.
Landbased service engineers operate from a workshop, but spend much of their time outdoors.
You would have to work in all weathers and sometimes in dirty or hazardous conditions.
Working hours can vary. Certain times of year such as harvests can be busy, with early starts and evening and weekend work.
You may have to work on call on a rota basis.
You may have to travel to visit dealers, clients or different work sites.
You would have to wear overalls, and other protective items such as goggles and safety boots.
You may have to spend some nights away from home if you cover a large geographical area.
You could enter through a Modern Apprenticeship in Landbased Engineering at SCQF Level 5 or 6. Employers’ requirements vary, but you normally need 3-4 subjects at National 4 or 5 including English, Maths and a science or technological subject.
As an alternative, you could start by doing a full time National Certificate (NC) in Landbased Engineering. College requirements vary, but are usually around 2-4 subjects at National 4 or 5 including English, Maths and a science subject. Some colleges may also require practical experience.
Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) offer qualifications related to landbased engineering and technology.
You should be physically fit.
Certain colour vision conditions may affect entry to careers in this branch of engineering.
You may need a driving licence, possibly one including driving heavy vehicles on public roads.
Most landbased service engineers work for specialist machinery companies, large farms, sports organisations such as golf clubs or local authority parks departments. There are more opportunities in rural areas.
an understanding of strict health and safety rules
an interest in engineering and machinery
good practical skills
good problem solving skills
patience for investigating faults
a reasonable level of physical fitness.
You need to be able to:
find faults and make quick repairs
understand technical manuals and diagrams
use your initiative as you may have to work alone in remote areas
communicate clearly to discuss faults and repairs.
If you do a Modern Apprenticeship, a combination of on the job and off the job training would lead to SVQs in Landbased Engineering (Agriculture, Arboriculture/Forestry or Ground Care) at SCQF Levels 5 and 6.
On completion of your Apprenticeship you may be eligible to register with the Institution of Agricultural Engineers as a technician at the Intermediate level of the Landbased Technician Accreditation (LTA) scheme.
If you do a course at college first, you would then take a job with an employer and continue with further training to the required standard.
You need to keep up to date with changing technology.
Some mechanics specialise in working with a particular type of machinery.
With further experience and training you could work your way up to the Advanced and Master levels of the LTA scheme.
You could be promoted to be a supervisor or manager after suitable experience.