Mating season is upon us (we’re talking lambs here) which means farms are busier than ever – and they’re recruiting. In fact, it’s not only farmhands that are needed come spring. Recruiters are also on the look out for gardeners, landscapers and general green-finger types.
This line of work is for people who prefer the sun on their backs and some dirt under their fingernails to shooting the shit around the office water cooler. Although we’re not saying that shit is entirely out of the picture. It’s just from now on you’ll be calling it manure. We spoke to recruiters from Anders Plus, which specialises in finding gardeners and landscapers, and 4xtrahands, which works with farmers, to find out what jobs are out there and what you need to do to get hired.
This is one of the only jobs where the line, ‘I’m up to my neck in shit’ is literally possible – though we hope for your sake it never comes to that. Shit aside, we recommend you get on board with the many farmhand jobs that become available in the spring. From tractor driving, to dairy assistants to maintenance men, these jobs will have you using your hands in the great outdoors. Tasks include things like feeding and mucking out animals, using milking machines, and looking after agricultural buildings and land.
Qualifications and experience: Most of this is physical labour so you need to be fit, but other than that it’s mainly a learn-on-the-job kind of gig.
Pay and hours: Most farmhands live on site because hours can be early (5am to pick up fresh eggs, that kind of thing). Don’t expect to make much more than minimum wage. However, with room and board included for week- or month-long stints, you can save a tonne. See 4xtrahands.com for listings.
Gardeners and landscapers:
Hedge trimming and garden upkeep in everything from backyards to stately manors becomes big business in the spring.
Andersplus.com advertises general tasks such as lawn maintenance and turfing. In London, work for private garden owners can be found through gumtree.com or by asking in local newsagents.Englishcountrygardeners.com offer roles in public gardens for more experienced workers.
Sarah Ronan, a consultant for Anders Plus, added that there are also lots of landscaping jobs around. She explained: “Maintenance gardeners are always in demand but the current upturn in the industry means that people are building again. This is great news for anyone with hard landscaping experience.”
Qualifications and experience: Aussie White Cards are not accepted here but they are easily translated in to CSCS cards, which will help with getting work in public grounds. Private gardening requires some knowledge and experience. A horticulture degree is needed for landscaping roles.
Pay and hours: Full-time gardeners can make from £15-20,000 a year. Private gardeners charge from £12 an hour to £20 depending on experience, and you can obviously take as much or as little work as you want.
A great way to enjoy the great outdoors in London is to get involved with city farms, community gardens or horticulture centres. Places such as Mudchute and Hackney City Farm are generally volunteer run, but if you have any special experience with farming, you may be able to earn some cash by helping out with the animals or crops. If you ask around your area you may also be able to find some paid work in community gardens – this can range from general maintenance to growing organic vegetables which are delivered to restaurants in the city. It’s also a great way to meet like-minded greensters.
Working in a garden centre or tending to greenhouses in places such as Kew Gardens is a good option if you have some knowledge of plants. Farmgarden.org.uk promote community managed green spaces and they have some great job listings. Gardenorganic.org.uk has a database of organic gardens in London which you can contact about jobs.
Qualifications and experience: Again, it’s all about experience and enthusiasm here rather than formal qualifications. For paid farm jobs, however, you will need to have worked with animals before.
Pay and hours: We’re talking around minimum wage here, so £7-10 an hour, but these are filler jobs rather than full-time options, which make them great for fitting into summer plans.
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