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This apprenticeship standard is in development and is not yet ready to use

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An apprenticeship standard is only available for delivery when both the standard and assessment plan is approved and a funding band (core government contribution) has been assigned to the standard.

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Agriculture/Horticulture Professional Adviser

Details of standard

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in Agriculture and Horticulture. The broad purpose of the occupation is to consult with and provide technical advice to farmers and growers to help them support their crop husbandry, based on latest scientific thinking, environmental requirements and in line with legislation and policy. In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with internal colleagues, farmers and growers and a range of industry experts (including scientists, independent experts, research organisations and other advisers). A large proportion of the working day is spent on grower premises i.e. farms, nurseries, estates, glasshouses, of varying sizes and often outside in all weathers. An employee in this occupation will be responsible for providing accurate research-informed advice. Advisers are accountable and expected to use their own initiative, working alone and with high levels of autonomy. Advisers could be expected to support a large group of growers and farmers (circa 40-100). In larger organisations an Adviser would typically report to Senior Management. Advisers may carry responsibilities for leadership and/or mentoring of new or developing members of staff. In some instances, Advisers would also carry the responsibility for resources such as their direct team personnel (which may encompass budget management) and activities for supporting staff such as: sharing knowledge and good practice, peer observations of grower and farmer crops and specialised precision farming developments.

Typical job titles include:

Agronomist, Nutritionist, Consultant, Crop Consultant, Environmental Specialist

Entry requirements

What are the typical entry requirements for becoming a Professional Advisor? These are quite variable as there are many routes - for example:-

  • the most frequent entry level route is for students who have completed an agriculture related further education course (HNC, HND or BSc) and would then pursue their professional qualifications on route to becoming a proficient and experienced Professional Advisor. This type of candidate (usually in their 20’s) may have greater levels of academic ability but may have less hands-on/practical experience as that part of their skill-set is still developing. A key part of the Professional Advisor apprenticeship is to ensure their "practitioner" skills have been developed and refined and so they are confident and capable of providing agronomic advice across a broad range of crops.
  • less common but regularly occurring is to employ someone with a wide range of arable/farming experience (possibly gained as a Farm Manager/Assistant Farm Manager or Farm Foreman) and who has successfully taken education up to A-level/BTEC, who would be able to handle the next steps of professional qualifications that this role requires (i.e. the appropriate BASIS qualification), although they might not always have completed any further education at college or university level.
  • an exceptional candidate who demonstrates great aptitude for the role yet does not have higher level education (but does possess English and Maths skills up to GCSE level) – an example would be an experienced Sprayer Operator who knows a great deal about the application and use of crop protection products, their effects and the consequences of use and wanted to change their career to take advantage of this knowledge and experience.
  • having completed a form of higher education in a near-related area e.g. Geography or a Science but had pursued (usually under their own initiative) supportive qualifications and extensive vocational experience to fill the gaps in their skills, knowledge and experience (e.g. Foundation BASIS). They would then present as a very strong candidate who would be able to handle the challenge of completing all aspects of becoming a Professional Advisor.


Core Occupation duties

Duty

Criteria for measuring performance

KSBs

Duty 1 Provide scientific and evidence based agronomic, environmental, legislative and crop husbandry advice to farmers, growers, distributors or other relevant stakeholders

Adhere to legislation and policy including, amongst others, health & safety and environmental protection
Operate and maintain professional relationships
Carry out appropriate risk analysis
Provide clear, objective and specific advice on actions required
Provide advice in a timely manner relevant to cropping calendar
Maintain accurate records of advice given to each farmer and grower

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 B10 B11

Duty 2 Maintain and develop relationships with farmers, growers and external bodies and all those involved with carrying out the agreed actions which arise from the advisory decisions that have been made

Through providing objective and specific advice
Through open, clear and professional communication and support
Through planned and regular contact and being available to respond to grower needs
By dealing with problems in an timely and effective manner
Aim to minimize issues or complaints by providing accurate and timely advice

K7 K8 K9 K10

S1 S6 S7 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16 S30

B1 B2 B3 B8 B9 B12 B13

Duty 3 Assess grower cropping challenges and provide tailored advice (which could encompass crop husbandry decisions, farm business management, adherence to crop production protocols, acquisition of new equipment or changes to cropping patterns)

By gathering information about a situation through questioning and active listening
By utilizing appropriate analysis techniques to devise potential options to resolve the problem
By analyzing any risk associated with the advice given
Through discussion with the grower to agree the most suitable/acceptable solution(s)
By using up to date information and techniques to provide the best outcome
By taking full ownership and responsibility of the problem which is in their professional remit to handle

K1 K2 K3 K9 K10

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S16 S22 S30

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B8

Duty 4 Utilize appropriate Management Information Systems (MIS) to handle, record, manipulate and interrogate data to the benefit of the farmer/grower and the service provider (many of which will be specific to the sector e.g. Gatekeeper or MuddyBoots)

By maintaining and updating the system(s) to ensure accurate data is stored
By interrogating the information to guide effective decision making
By sharing best practice approach(es) with the information/knowledge recorded
By identifying and sharing discrepancies/errors to improve data/knowledge quality
By establishing data-sharing between adviser and farmer/grower to create a detailed picture of inputs, costs and outputs - showing how effective the advisory decisions have been and where they can be improved in the future

K11 K23

S7 S12 S19 S20

B1 B3 B4

Duty 5 Deliver effective and high standards of Customer Care (to farmers, growers and colleagues)

By identifying farmer and grower needs and expectations
By establishing suitable solutions to resolve farmer and grower concerns
By responding in a timely manner to all communications
By conducting all of their activities in a service-centric fashion
By recognizing areas for development and improvement against farmer and grower expectations
By gaining feedback from farmers, growers and colleagues in both formal and informal ways (e.g. anecdotal or by survey)
By working with colleagues to assist them in delivering high standards of service and quality which should exceed farmer and grower expectations

K9 K12 K13 K14

S1 S7 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16 S21 S22

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B7 B9 B14

Duty 6 Conduct, manage and maintain effective communications with farmers, growers and colleagues using a range of systems and techniques

By planning and preparing communications so they are as effective as possible
By selecting the appropriate medium though which to communicate (e.g. face-2-face, phone or e-mail etc)
By checking understanding of message communicated (questioning/precis/feedback)
By responding in a timely, prioritised and appropriate fashion to all communications received
Through utilization of emotional intelligence (empathy/self-management/relationship management)
By ensuring actions are carried out without need for repetition or readjustment (because the initial communication was ineffective)

K15 K19

S1 S13 S23 S24 S25

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B7 B8 B9 B10 B11

Duty 7 Manage and plan workload and logistics (both for themselves and, where appropriate, for team members and those they may be mentoring or coaching)

By planning in short, medium and long-term time frames (Daily/Monthly/Annually)
By aligning activities alongside expected outcomes
By ensuring tasks are carried out to achieve consistently high standards and meet personal goals
By ensuring time is utilized in the most productive, efficient and effective manner
By implementation of the most appropriate time-management tools and techniques
By providing time and opportunity for mentoring and coaching activities alongside principle tasks

K16 K17 K21

S14 S26 S27 S28 S29

B3 B7 B9

Duty 8 Maintain and enhance their continuous professional development and knowledge (which will also ensure compliance with the necessary standards and assurances within the Agricultural, Horticultural, Amenity and Food Production sector)

By being up to date with latest policy information and technical knowledge
By adhering to a plan of development based on skills and knowledge analysis/gap identification
By taking advantage of training opportunities (which may be provided by 3rd party trainers or from experienced colleagues)
By actively seeking new information
By maintaining an open mind to both learning and knowledge assimilation
By understanding their preferred learning styles and adapting their information gathering techniques accordingly
By utilising mentoring and coaching (for themselves and for/with other colleagues)

K18 K19 K20 K21

S11 S13 S14 S17 S18 S20 S22 S26 S27 S28

B1 B2 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 B10 B11 B13

Duty 9 Demonstrate the business culture, values and standards of the business in which they are employed within the Agriculture sector (which may be farmer, manufacturer, distributor, services provider or adviser)

By believing in and respecting the values and culture of the business
Through leading by example which shows how the core values and standards are demonstrated
By recognizing the need to operate to the standards the business expects
By sharing with the others the values and standards so they are owned by all colleagues
By meeting business standards in terms of quality, accuracy and delivery expectations

K18 K22

S1 S2 S5 S11 S25

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 B10 B11 B12 B13

Duty 10 Develop new relationships with farmers, growers or other key businesses which will result in a wider area of influence, advice and support (N.B. All advisers will experience changes in the group of farmers and growers they support - with retirements or movement in ownership of land - and so must ensure they are adaptable and work with a collection of farmers and growers that will experience change over time. They must be aware of all grower enterprises in the area they work in and build new relationships when existing relationships come to an end.)

Understand the uniqueness and importance of grower-relationships and their longevity within the sphere of agriculture
Identify, quantify, record and prioritize all opportunities in the appropriate business sector (which could be farmer, grower, distributor, manufacturer or other adviser) and create a time-bound framework to make contact with them
Establish a plan with a time-frame for building effective relationships with each grower which is specific, tailored and evolving
Implement the plan and act on the knowledge gained to progress the relationship to the place where the grower(s) use your advisory service as their primary source of knowledge, advice and support

K8 K15 K23 K24 K25

S1 S9 S11 S12 S13 S16 S24 S30

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 B10 B11

Option Duties

Agronomy and Precision Farming Adviser duties

Duty

KSBs

Duty 11 The primary aim of an Agronomy & Precision Farming Adviser is to help farmers and growers achieve their target yields and produce quality crops, manage/limit their input costs and support a wide-ranging holistic approach which helps them improve crop production within their wider farming business. The provision of agronomic advice – gleaned from a very wide range of sources and then interpreted and applied to each growers specific farm and crop situation – is a primary skill which requires training and the transfer of knowledge from experienced colleagues. A Professional Adviser must fully focus all of their energies into technical advisory work and build lasting relationships with farmers and growers."" Duty 11 - Provide advice on all aspects of crop husbandry across a wide range of crops (which may include niche or specialist crops) and utilize precision farming tools and techniques where possible with the client if they have equipment enabled to do so.

K26 K28 K29 K30 K31 K32 K33 K34 K35 K37 K39

S5 S17 S19 S20 S24 S29 S30 S31 S32 S34 S36

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 B10 B11 B14 B15 B16

Nutrition & Fertiliser Adviser duties

Duty

KSBs

Duty 12 The primary aim of a Nutrition & Fertilizer Adviser is to help farmers and growers achieve their target yields and produce quality crops, manage/limit their nutrition input costs and support a wide-ranging holistic approach which helps them improve crop production within their wider farming business. The provision of agronomic nutrition advice – gleaned from a very wide range of sources and then interpreted and applied to each growers specific farm and crop situation – is a primary skill which requires training and the transfer of knowledge from experienced colleagues. A Professional Adviser must fully focus all of their energies into technical advisory work and build lasting relationships with farmers and growers."" Duty 12 - Provide fertilizer and nutrition advice across a wide range of crops (which may include niche or specialist crops) and utilize precision farming tools and application techniques where possible with the client if they have equipment enabled to do so.

K27 K28 K29 K30 K31 K32 K33 K34 K36 K38 K40

S5 S17 S19 S20 S24 S29 S30 S31 S33 S35

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 B10 B11 B14 B15 B16


KSBs

Knowledge

K1: Crop husbandry and management of controllable variables and awareness of non-controllable variables (e.g. climate, season and weather) Back to Duty

K2: Current and future research and development related to crop husbandry Back to Duty

K3: Health & Safety and risk analysis, product purpose, label interpretation and application approach Back to Duty

K4: How to minimise the impact of farming operations on water quality & wildlife, protect against soil erosion and understand the necessity to protect field margin habitat for biodiversity in line with policy and legislation from relevant Government departments Back to Duty

K5: Legislation regarding storage and transport of crop protection materials, containers and their disposal in line with policy and legislation from relevant Government departments Back to Duty

K6: The potential impact of changes in political stance (national and international) Back to Duty

K7: How to network and interact with all relevant professional bodies Back to Duty

K8: The current national economic and environmental climate and local area and community influences and demands Back to Duty

K9: Customer & stakeholder needs & expectations and the potential risks associated with the provision of advice Back to Duty

K10: Scope and frequency of advice appropriate to the relationship and role Back to Duty

K11: Internal systems that hold information and data, data filtering processes and GDPR regulations on the storage and use of information Back to Duty

K12: Internal and external customer service standards & complaint management procedures which ensures continued customer engagement Back to Duty

K13: Interpersonal techniques for effective interactions and positive outcomes Back to Duty

K14: Current organisational strategy in relation to customer service, customer loyalty and the legal rights of customers making purchases Back to Duty

K15: Range of communication media (verbal, non-verbal, written, digital) and appropriate interpersonal skills needed for each which meet farmer/grower/colleague preferences or expectations Back to Duty

K16: Outcomes of planning in short, medium- and long-term cycles (strategy) and what is required to implement them (tactics) Back to Duty

K17: The range of organisation, prioritisation, planning and time management techniques available to ensure personal efficiency, including impact of own time management and organisation on others Back to Duty

K18: Own development plan and alignment with company training policy and the changing standards/policy that may occur within the sector Back to Duty

K19: Skills required to be an effective adviser and enhancing own learning style and communication preferences Back to Duty

K20: Mentoring and/or coaching that is available from within the organisation and engaging with all opportunities for personal development Back to Duty

K21: Coaching and mentoring approaches and models to use with others Back to Duty

K22: Business culture, values & standards and the example to be set, their impact on the business and the need to operate to those values Back to Duty

K23: Scope of the potential customer base, the systems available which hold information & data and filtering data according to need Back to Duty

K24: Networking opportunities and the range of influencing factors on customer decision making Back to Duty

K25: Product offer and its measurement against competing products Back to Duty

K26: Chemical and non-chemical intervention methods and application approaches as described in BASIS-FSTS syllabus Back to Duty

K27: Macro and Micro nutritional crop requirements and application approaches as described in BASIS-FACTS syllabus Back to Duty

K28: Farming specific legislation and regulation (e.g. pesticides, product withdrawals, protection zones) and other associated legislation and regulation (e.g. drinking water directive) Back to Duty

K29: Commercial business management requirements for running a typical farming enterprise aligned to Farmer/Grower yield potential and expectations across a range of situations Back to Duty

K30: Precision farming methods, equipment and software tools, their advantages, limitations and suitability for farmer/grower needs Back to Duty

K31: Experimental approaches to evaluate new products, varieties and techniques which may be suitable to local Farmers/Growers Back to Duty

K32: Risk assessment(s) and required action(s) to correct both existing and potential problems or threats Back to Duty

K33: Product manufacture, availability and stock according to seasonal requirements Back to Duty

K34: How to manage personal workload pressures (high:low) associated with a seasonally influenced role Back to Duty

K35: Research & Discovery processes for new active ingredients plus industry stewardship schemes to preserve their efficacy & longevity Back to Duty

K36: Formulation and manufacturing processes of Macro-nutrient fertilisers and Micro-nutrient products/foliar treatments Back to Duty

K37: Weed, insect & disease life cycles of the major pests that threaten UK agricultural or horticultural crops and their management/treatment to minimise yield loss or crop quality reduction Back to Duty

K38: Chemical & physical properties of soil (e.g. pH, cationic exchange, sand/silt/clay fraction) and their impact on nutrient availability to crops Back to Duty

K39: Pesticide resistance mechanisms that arise in weeds, insects & diseases and the techniques/alternative treatments which can be introduced to overcome or alleviate their impact when they occur Back to Duty

K40: Nutrient deficiency symptoms exhibited by crops and their methods of correction using appropriate Macro and/or Micro nutrient treatment Back to Duty

Skills

S1: Demonstrate clear communication skills with the ability to convey complex information objectively in both verbal and written forms Back to Duty

S2: Utilise up to date information and evidence to challenge views based on outdated or biased rationale Back to Duty

S3: Undertake critical analysis incorporating environmental knowledge with agronomic data to support decision making which creates solutions that meet farmer/customer needs Back to Duty

S4: Calculate any associated cost implications of husbandry advice Back to Duty

S5: Interpret and advise on implications of policy, legislation and best practice Back to Duty

S6: Carry out appropriate risk analysis and provide necessary reports Back to Duty

S7: Maintain accurate and up to date records setting out information relating to customer contact, advice & recommendations and store records in a manner that complies with GDPR principles Back to Duty

S8: Produce reports in a comprehensible format and timely manner Back to Duty

S9: Facilitate (and chair if necessary) meetings to deliver the required outcomes and decisions, adopting the best choice of media for the content being shared with the participants Back to Duty

S10: Comply with Health & Safety regulations and follow farmer/customer protocols and conduct own activities in a manner that protects self, others and the environment from potential harm Back to Duty

S11: Recognise their own working style and the preferred working style/approach of the farmer/customer, adapting own approach to match their needs with the requirements of the activity involved Back to Duty

S12: Build internal and external relationships that are durable, ethically sound, trust-based and where information & advice is shared in a professional and appropriate manner Back to Duty

S13: Build a network of grower contacts and industry stakeholders to gather information and knowledge to enhance own professional development Back to Duty

S14: Utilise time management techniques to organise self, others and activities to maximise personal efficiency and enhance timely delivery of services to the farmer/customer Back to Duty

S15: Evaluate changes to legislation and policy, calculating risks and impacts for Farmers/Growers including logistical & financial implications Back to Duty

S16: Be solutions-focused by recognising the expectations of Farmers/Growers and their key decision-makers and aspire to exceed expectations when opportunities arise Back to Duty

S17: Create and maintain a CPD plan to support learning and development both for themselves (and colleagues for whom they may be managing) Back to Duty

S18: Share good practice/best practice in a way that empowers colleagues and Farmers/Growers to succeed Back to Duty

S19: Analyse, record and present information to produce customer advisory recommendations or to provide customer analysis and business insight Back to Duty

S20: Use data (from own notes/records, Precision Farming sources or 3rd party sources) to analyse and solve farmer/grower problems Back to Duty

S21: Implement and comply with complaints procedures and protocols as stipulated by the business or the farmer/grower Back to Duty

S22: Employ active listening, questioning, summarising and influencing techniques to ensure relevant information and views are understood in order to determine an optimal solution for the farmer/grower Back to Duty

S23: Deal effectively with client, customers and colleagues at every level of the organisation as required by the role Back to Duty

S24: Engage and network proactively with farmer/grower decision-makers and colleagues, including senior management as required, to deliver business outcomes in appropriate time-frames Back to Duty

S25: Conduct effective communication using the best match of style and medium (face-to-face, phone, email, report) when seeking to meet the farmer/grower needs Back to Duty

S26: Align activities against expected outcomes after objectively assessing own capability Back to Duty

S27: Effectively coach and/or mentor others in their personal development and use of effective methods Back to Duty

S28: Review own progress against targets and re-prioritise when required, to ensure service delivery is on target and own short- and long-term goals are being achieved Back to Duty

S29: Effectively manage demands/pressures that could distract from the priorities of the business, the customer or the individuals own personal health & well being Back to Duty

S30: Use a balanced and objective approach with Farmers/Growers when providing advice and through negotiations, by understanding their needs and the value they assign to agronomy and nutrition services, support and advice Back to Duty

S31: Assess fields and crops in a programmed approach, complying with all necessary legislation and crop protocols to provide accurate input recommendations to the Farmer/Grower in a timely and precise manner Back to Duty

S32: Apply an Integrated Pest Management/Integrated Farm Management approach when determining how best to control the weeds, insects and diseases which occur on a Farmer/Growers crops or land Back to Duty

S33: Conduct in-field assessments of soil structure, composition & condition, and collect representative soil sample(s) for laboratory analysis (e.g. nutrient status, organic matter level, presence of contaminant) Back to Duty

S34: Assess the application of a Farmer/Growers crop protection treatment(s) through a hydraulic sprayer to confirm even & accurate application and provide subsequent calibration support/nozzle choice advice to the sprayer operator as may be required Back to Duty

S35: Assess the application of a Farmer/Growers crop nutrition treatment(s) through a granular spreader to confirm even & accurate application and provide subsequent calibration support to the operator as may be required Back to Duty

S36: Engage with the sprayer operator of each Farmer/Grower client (as part of NPTC’s operator training requirement to earn CPD points) and share the rationale about the recommendations & inputs made which the sprayer operator subsequently applied to the crops Back to Duty

Behaviors

B1: Maintain a professional approach to all business dealings and sets an example Back to Duty

B2: Understand the principles, culture and values of associated businesses/organisations - as well as their own - and adjust personal behaviours in line with them Back to Duty

B3: Have considered and understand the impact of the decisions made and factored these in to their own approach Back to Duty

B4: Take an evaluative stance, seeking out a range of relevant information to inform decisions and formulate recommendations Back to Duty

B5: Take responsibility for self and actions, understand own levels of authority and recognise when appropriate to escalate or seek support and assistance Back to Duty

B6: Are open to new developments, research and breakthroughs and are proactive in seeking out information Back to Duty

B7: Endeavour to always share good practice amongst colleagues Back to Duty

B8: Utilise wider knowledge from within the organisation and from outside sources to enhance business relationships Back to Duty

B9: Self-reflect, analyse successes and evaluate areas for improvement and take corrective action where appropriate Back to Duty

B10: Embrace diversity and always demonstrate a fair and ethical approach Back to Duty

B11: Seek feedback as part of continuous personal development and the desire to improve outcomes for customers and are prepared to flex approaches when appropriate Back to Duty

B12: Understand the role of both internal and external relationships, recognise boundaries and follow protocol in order to maintain strong, trusted relationships Back to Duty

B13: Demonstrate punctuality, reliability, trustworthiness and personal responsibility Back to Duty

B14: Personally commit to and take ownership of problems in order to resolve customer issues, bringing satisfaction to the customer and the organisation Back to Duty

B15: Are conscientious and continually seek to deliver on commitments made, managing any expectations of others where service/delivery is in question Back to Duty

B16: Demonstrate objectivity in the provision of advice, input and support to ensure they always deliver a benefit to the farmer/grower/client Back to Duty


Qualifications

English & Maths

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.


Additional details

Occupational Level:

6

Duration (months):

30

Review

This standard will be reviewed after three years.

Status: In development
Proposal approved Standard approved Assessment plan approved
Level: 6
Degree: TBC
Reference: ST0761
Version: 1
Date updated: 28/06/2019
Route: Agriculture, environmental and animal care
Typical duration: 30 months
Options: Agronomy and Precision Farming Adviser, Nutrition & Fertiliser Adviser
Trailblazer contact(s): paul.hobson@hlhltd.co.uk
Employers involved in creating the standard: Hutchinsons, Yara feritlisers, Frontier Agriculture Ltd, Farmacy plc, Wynnstay Group Plc, Corteva, Sygenta (crop protection uk), Cobrey Farms, Velcourt Farming Ltd

Version log

Version Date updated Change Previous version
1 28/06/2019 Standard first published

Not available