Rural Weeks

HighGround has pioneered Rural Weeks as the place to start your Life Beyond the Military – Outdoors.

Five fully residential days at an agricultural college, currently Bicton College in Devon and currently being rolled out to Landex colleges in other regions of the UK.

How to work out what you want to do

We aim to introduce you to the following areas of the land-based sector:

Land Management

This covers all aspects of work on the land from management and administrative roles to practical, ‘hands-on’ activities which may use trades and skills you already have.

  • Farming
  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Countryside and Environment
  • Arboriculture
  • Forestry and Forest Schools
  • Horticulture
  • Heritage Railway
  • Game Keeping and River Management
  • Smallholdings

‘Farming as an outdoor, practical, small-scale business relies on versatile, resourceful and skilled staff, albeit often without formal qualifications, who can solve problems and manage responsibility. One of the main concerns voiced by farm employers is that they have found it difficult to recruit such staff in recent years.’ DeFra Farm Business Survey, May 2013

Did you know there are approximately 300,00 active farms in the UK generating roughly £8 billion into the UK economy. An average farm size is 57 Ha (1 hectare = 10000 square metres) and the UK’s average age for farmers is 58. They are looking for people like you who’s military training and services involve being able to solve problems and manage responsibility, regardless of the rank you held.

Environmental (outdoor) Design, Production and Leisure
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This covers careers available in areas where there is an end product or a service to people and where there are opportunities for practical work or skilled craftsmanship. Many of the roles will offer opportunities for direct contact with customers and the general public.

  • Floristry
  • Horticulture
  • Landscape Design
  • Leisure Pursuits – eg: canoeing, mountaineering
  • Viticulture/Cider making
  • Green Space Management
  • Sports Turf Management
  • Aquaculture

Animal Care
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This covers the care of all types of animal, their welfare and in many cases training.

  • Equine – The Horse industry
  • Animal conservation
  • Farriery
  • Veterinary activities
  • Domestic and Companion Animals
  • Zoos and Wild Life Parks

What happens during a Rural Week?

College staff and outside presenters will introduce you to their area of expertise with information about what careers in each sector are best suited to ex-military people and the training and qualifications needed.

Monday to Thursday is a combination of classroom-based presentations and practical visits to dairy farms, smallholdings, farm shops, golf courses, RSPB rangers and much more, where subject matter experts freely share their contacts, experience and advice. They have no agenda other than to help you. Friday focusses on self-employment and reviewing the week so that you can make a plan for how to move forwards.

We also invite ex-military people who are now working in the land-based sector to come and talk to us in the evenings and share their experiences of transition and their contacts. It’s not what you know, but who!

Click here to see a typical Rural Weeks timetable

What happens after Rural Week?

Our Careers Manager will follow up to agree a plan to help you move towards land-based employment or self-employment. This could be:

  • HighGround arranging a work placement for you
  • Advising about specific courses and how to access funding for them
  • Putting you in touch with a partner organisation if the Rural Week has identified another issue which may be preventing you from getting nearer to employment, such as housing

Can’t make it to a Rural Week?

If you’re interested in learning about the Land-based sector but cannot make it to one of our Rural Weeks, take a look at our Career Guides to find out about the many opportunities that the Land-based sector holds for ex-military personnel and Reservists.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, or need further information please contact or call Anna on 07951 495 272.


To read the latest, and previous Rural Weeks Reports, click here

“HighGround regards the concept Rural Weeks as intellectual property of the charity and will take any steps available to it to enforce its rights in such property if any other person or organisation seeks to copy it or to benefit from the goodwill associated with it.”