Crop Technician (Market Garden)

Level 3 Apprenticeship

As a Crop Technician, you will be responsible for optimising crop/plant yields through establishment, management, harvest and post-harvest operations while maintaining and improving the surrounding environment. You will also need to keep up with technological advances and innovations. Being a Crop Technician requires self-motivation and the ability to work independently and as a team player to complete tasks safely and efficiently.

What apprentices will learn

  • Prepare seed bed/growing medium for maximum growth potential
  • Carry out relevant establishment of crops for efficient growth
  • Maintaining and operating machinery
  • Preparing growing mediums for maximum yield
  • Controlling pests, weeds, and diseases
  • Principles of plant growth and development and plant health
  • Environmental issues/legislation, codes of practice
  • Carry out plant nutrient application e.g composted farm yard manure
  • Irrigation tasks to aid growth of crop 
  • Harvesting techniques
  • Harvesting operations including assessment of timing and quality
  • Relationship between environmental conditions, plant protection methods and crop growth
  • Keeping accurate records
  • Health, safety and security
  • Input costs, costs of production, margins and impact on business profitability
  • Marketing to customers

Delivery Model

Monthly block of four days (Monday - Thursday) of practical training at Plumpton College during Autumn. Winter and Spring with workplace observations and online theory workshops during the Summer months.

Qualifications Gained

  • Apprenticeship Certificate (Crop Technician Level 3: Soil-based system)
  • Level 3 Emergency First Aid 
  • Level 2 Award in Safe Use of Pesticides (PA1)
  • PA2 (Boom Sprayer) OR PA6 (Hand Held Applicators)
  • Level 2 in Maths and English (if applicable)

Course details

Dates & Location

Next cohort enrolment in August/September 2023 with commencement of in college delivery from September 2023



Typically 22 months (some apprentices could complete sooner depending on their previous experience and qualifications, their perfomance during the apprenticeship and the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge in the workplace) practical period with 3-month End Point Assessment window.


Costs will be dependent on several factors such as age of apprentice and size of employer. Please contact our Business Services team on 01273 892127 for more information.

Entry Requirements

Employer/Workplace Requirement

  • Market garden of minimum 5 acres / 2 hectares 
  • Minimum machinery requirement: small-powered machines, tractor-powered machinery
  • Garden does not have to be organically certified

Candidate Requirement

There are no previous qualifications required to start this apprenticeship, but apprentices must have the attitude and ability to develop the required skills and knowledge during the apprenticeship. Additionally, if unable to provide the necessary evidence an apprentice will be required to complete Functional Skills in maths and English to level 2 standard (equivalent to GCSE grade 4/c) prior to completing their apprenticeship. 

  • Pre enrolment maths and English assessment
  • Pre enrolment job role suitability assessment

To enrol on an apprenticeship programme, you need to be employed with a contract of employment for a minimum duration of the length of the apprenticeship.  If you have an employer lined up or are already employed, please contact our Business Team on 01273 892127 or

If you are an employer and would like to recruit or enrol an existing employee onto an apprenticeship please contact our Business Services team on  01273 892127 or via email.


  • Apprentices will have practical workshops at Plumpton College, with access to the college's commercial farm consisting of 2000 acres in the most beautiful setting of the South Downs.
  • Teaching staff are passionate about sustainable and local food systems and have been growing vegetables organically and biodynamically for 20 years. With the Apprenticeship Programme Manager previouslythe farm director and garden manager at Old Plawhatch farm in Sussex. 
  • Apprentices receive discounts on accredited qualifications offered by LandPro Training

Future Opportunities

Future Opportunities

  • Employment/ self-employed - a grower in a fruit and vegetable growing enterprise
  • Farm or Garden Manager
  • Academic degree: Horticulture Management or similar


Organic Crop Production modules
  • Health and safety
  • Record keeping
  • Maintain and operate machinery
  • Crop establishment and management
  • Harvesting operations
  • Storage
  • Communication
  • Finance: cost of production, margins and profitability
  • Soil and plant science
  • Soil cultivation
  • Personal and professional development

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