Agricultural Inspector

    If you are wondering how to become an agricultural inspector, below are tips and advice on training for and beginning careers in this area of agriculture, as well as job prospects in the UK.

    The Job Description
    Agricultural inspectors work for a variety of agencies, mostly public, and are responsible for maintaining standards and enforcing regulations in agriculture, particularly on farms.

    As a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector you would be concerned with occupational health and safety.

    Typical responsibilities:

    – check machinery, environment and buildings
    – investigate accidents and complaints
    – make sure regulations are being followed
    – write reports and recommendations.

    Person Specification
    The key personal attributes of agricultural inspectors include:

    – knowledge and experience of agriculture
    – good observational and problem solving skills
    – impartiality and consistency
    – up-to-date knowledge of current legislation and technology
    – sound judgement
    – good written and verbal communication skills
    – computer skills.

    How to become an agricultural inspector
    You would usually need at least A level or equivalent qualifications and at least two years’ relevant work experience. For some jobs you would need a degree or equivalent professional qualification. Check the websites of the organisations listed in Further Information for details.

    To work in a specialist inspectorate, you may need relevant industry qualifications. For example, for the Sea Fisheries Inspectorate a certificate in competency to act as an officer on a merchant ship or a mate of a fishing vessel or an equivalent naval qualification is useful.

    Training and Development
    You would usually have a two-year training period, the first year of which is probationary. You would receive practical on-the-job training and attend short in-house courses. You would develop your skills by at first accompanying and observing experienced inspectors, then carrying out supervised site visits.

    You may be able to work towards NVQ Level 4 in Occupational Health and Safety Practice or study for a postgraduate qualification in Occupational Health and Safety.

    As an inspector you would need to keep your knowledge of the technical and legal aspects of the job up to date, for example by attending short courses.

    The Pay (a rough guide)
    Trainee inspectors may earn around £16,000 a year
    Fully qualified inspectors may earn from around £18,000 to around £32,000 a year.

    Job Prospects
    Vacancies are advertised in the national press and on employers websites (see Further Information).

    Once you have several years’ experience you could progress to a senior position, or work as a consultant in occupational health, giving advice and lecturing. You could also move into public health or environmental or wildlife conservation.

    Useful resources:
    Health and Safety Executive
    Rose Court
    2 Southwark Bridge
    SE1 9HS
    Tel: 0845 345 0055

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