Level 3

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These are a suite of level 3 qualifications which can be studied in a variety of combinations to allow flexibility and to help you to develop your practical and farm management skills.

The courses are at the same level, but the number of subjects studied can vary.

  • Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma: you complete 6 subjects to study over one year
  • Level 3 Diploma: This is a top-up of the Subsidiary diploma which allows you onto a second year place. You complete 12 subject areas to study 
  • Level 3 Extended Diploma: you complete all 18 subject areas to study over a 3 year period

Designed for people with some experience of the industry. The course covers many aspects of modern agriculture and allows you to develop your skills in a supportive and practical environment on the College’s large and varied estate that includes modern examples of extensive and intensive farming practices.

The second year is crucial as it gives you the opportunity to gain employment experience whilst developing and learning new skills. Many students choose to work abroad during this year in Australia and New Zealand or other countries where the College has employment links.

The final year develops your management skills as you take on a supervisory role for routines and learn about planning the business. Overall, the course equips you with the necessary skills for taking responsibility as your career develops.

Throughout the course, there is an opportunity to gain additional qualifications which are essential for work on modern arable and mixed farms. These include certificates in Rough Terrain Fork Lift Truck Use, PA1 & PA2 Sprayer Certificates and many more to add to your qualification base.

Qualifications Gained

  • BTEC National in Agriculture at the level studied (outlined above)
  • Plumpton College Certificate
  • Additional Work Related Qualifications
  • College award, Functional Skills or GCSEs in English and Maths
Entry Requirements:

Students will normally be at least 16 years old on entry and have at least one of the following:

  • Studied GCSE level qualifications (achieving 4 passes at 9-4 for the full diploma) including English and maths
  • A level 2 qualification
  • Appropriate interest and relevant experience

Mature applicants who do not possess any of the above qualifications will be considered individually.

Dates & Location:

September 2018


Up to 3 years, Full Time

3.5 days a week

UCAS Details:

Apply via UCAS Progress

While I was at Plumpton I soon found that I was particularly interested in dairy farming. In my middle year I had the chance to truly hone my skills as part of a farming business, which has certainly made me more employable.

Holly Morris

Student, Level 3 in Agriculture

Future Opportunities

Successful completion of this course may allow progression onto a foundation degree or degree programme such as those offered at Plumpton or into employment in the industry in any number of exciting roles including:

  • Assisting a herdsman on a dairy herd or Pig Unit 
  • Tractor driver or contractor operator 
  • Shepherd
  • Trainee Agronomist or Nutritionist
  • Assistant Farm Manager
  • Self Employed contractor
  • Shepherd
  • Tractor driver and machinery operator
  • Dairy herdsperson
  • Pig unit assistant manager
  • General farm worker
  • Progression to an HE course


Year 1

Indicative Programme Content (*compulsory units for some Diploma levels only)

During the first year of the programme the aim is to lay down the fundamental principles of agriculture. This will be delivered through practical skills development on the College farm as well as through taught practical and theory based sessions. As the year unfolds you will build confidence and competence in a range of agricultural skills, practices, activities, and duties. Modules include:

  • Plant science *
  • Soil science *
  • Sheep production
  • Livestock husbandry
  • Dairy production
  • Crop production
  • Pig production
  • Grassland management
  • Machinery operations
  • Estate skills

Year 2

The second year provides an opportunity for learners to practice these skills through an extended period of work experience. Many choose to do so in subject areas where they see themselves in the long term which allows learners to seek employment across the UK and further afield around the world. This not only provides a fantastic industry experience but also offers the opportunity to meet new people and experience a different way of life.

  • Industry experience *

Year 3

The final year allows learners to combine all elements of the previous two year's studies and start to develop the business and decision making skills required to operate and run modern farming enterprises. Overall the Level 3 agriculture programme provides a diverse range of opportunities and real employment openings in general modern agriculture.

Year 3 – has the opportunity to specialise in a livestock or crops based pathways

  • Investigative project *
  • Business management for the land based sector *
  • Manage agricultural environments
  • Livestock breeding & nutrition
  • Beef production
  • Workshop skills
  • Use agricultural spreaders and sprayers
  • Agricultural forage crop production
  • English & maths

Additional Qualifications

  • LANTRA Rough Terrain Forklift 
  • NPTC PA1
  • NPTC PA2

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