Selecting projects and activities for an Agriculture, Environment and Animal Care industry placement

This skill area will have 2 T Levels: Animal Care and Management; and Agriculture, Land Management and Production.

Within these students can pursue specialisms in:

  • Agricultural engineering operative or technician
  • Agricultural operative or technician
  • Arboriculture and forestry operative
  • Conservation and countryside worker
  • Game and pest control technician
  • Landscaper horticulture operative or technician
  • Production horticulture operative or technician
  • Animal care and welfare assistant
  • Equine groom or farrier

Agriculture, environment and animal care represent a diverse industry with a wide range of technical skill sets.

Examples of placements could include:

  • assisting with day to day animal care
  • nursing sick animals in a veterinary setting
  • supporting landscape professionals in designing, planning and managing spaces
  • assisting with the maintenance and repair of equipment

Identifying placement projects

Look for projects and activities for placement students that:

  • line up with your future skills needs in terms of working practices and technology
  • will attract and challenge high-calibre students who are aiming for a career in the industry
  • will demand specific technical skills from students
  • provide opportunities for students to make a meaningful contribution to live projects, while recognising that they are likely to be new to the world of work and so need to be involved in lower risk or non-critical systems and processes
  • allow learning and contribution without being an added burden for their supervisors, or
    slowing down overall projects or business processes

Below we’ve described example scenarios of projects and activities that could be suitable for placement students. We encourage you to think about placement opportunities that can offer relevant experience to students and can add value to your organisation.

You can use the Planning the content of an industry placement article to structure industry placement projects and activities to provide meaningful experience for the student and to deliver tangible benefits for your organisation.

Industry placement example scenarios


Equine grooming

Students worked one day a week throughout their course at a riding stable yard to support the Head Groomer with all grooming requirements year-round.

Overtime the industry placement students developed the skills and knowledge to work confidently and independently with horses.

Projects and activities:

  • Maintain equine accommodation
  • Preparation and distribution of feed and water
  • Clean, brush and clip horses’ coats
  • Select and prepare tack for specific disciplines
  • Administer basic first aid for cuts and scrapes
  • Warm up or cool down a horse for its rider
  • Assist with preparations for transporting horses
  • Develop a horse’s performance through ridden and non ridden activities

Dairy farm assistant

The student attended for a block of time during the second year of their course to coincide with the calving season of the farm.

The student gained valuable skills and experience whilst caring for cows that supply milk and assisting with the harvesting of their milk.

Projects and activities:

  • Feed cows, administer medication and clean waste
  • Under supervision, operate milking equipment to milk cows
  • Clean and maintain farming and milking equipment
  • Check for and report on changes in the cows’ condition

Packhouse line leader assistant

A packhouse that cleans, sorts and packages vegetables for a number of supermarkets, offered industry placements to support line leaders meet production targets during their busy season.

The students started just before the season to learn about health and safety, hygiene, the machinery used in the building, quality standards and production schedules. Once the season started, they supported the line leaders to coordinate production and resources, carry out machine maintenance and supervise packing of products.

Projects and activities:

  • Manage accurate records within the packhouse environment
  • Coordinate products and resources to meet customer demand, considering food safety and quality requirements
  • Supervise the identification, selection and preparation of fresh products for sale/dispatch
  • Under supervision, operate food processing/packing machinery and equipment safely and efficiently
  • Perform routine equipment checks and maintenance

Assistant zookeeper

A zoo park that struggled to recruit keepers, offered industry placements to a group of students.

The students came in 2 days a week to support park staff. They engaged with customers, observed and worked with a wide range of animals, maintained the cleanliness of the enclosures, helped plan animal feeding and keepers as needed.

Projects and activities:

  • Prepare and maintain all areas of the park
  • Prepare animal care records, equipment and resources
  • Plan and review animal nutrition, prepare food and feed animals
  • Assist the park’s veterinary team with medical treatments, and support with maintaining animal care records
  • Prepare, use, maintain, store and dispose equipment, and materials appropriately

Waterway assistant operative

Working on an improvement project, the students contributed to the improvement of a waterway network for local communities and visitors to enjoy.

Students attended on a block placement model to coincide with project timescales. The students experienced the entire project lifecycle and gained a very practical understanding of team based project work in a waterways setting.

Projects and activities:

  • Collect debris and report pollution and fly-tipping incidents
  • With supervision, monitor water levels and assist with controlling them using sluice mechanisms and weirs
  • Support with the use of dredgers to remove silt and load onto hoppers for removal
  • Repair and maintain equipment such as locks, bollards and hooks
  • Report problems with local wildlife, such as injured swans

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